Vera Bradley names Mono agency of record

Handbag maker Vera Bradley has named Minneapolis-based Mono as its agency of record, The Drum has learned.

MDC Partners’ Mono will be tasked with leading the brand through a creative and strategic shift, with new work set to launch in spring of this year.

The Indiana-based company, whose once-popular cotton-quilted handbags have lost their luster amongst consumers in recent years, is trying to reignite excitement around the brand with newer offerings including leather and microfiber bags.

The company brought in $126.7m in revenue last quarter, up 1.2 per cent from a year earlier. Comparable-store sales, or locations that have been open for more than one year, declined 2 per cent – a “meaningful improvement in the trend from prior quarters,” Vera Bradley’s CEO Robert Wallstrom said in the company’s third quarter earnings statement.

Michael Hart, founder and managing creative director at Mono, told The Drum that the agency will help Vera Bradley “stand for something bigger than a pattern and fashion,” adding that he thinks there is an opportunity for the brand to further connect with consumers.

“If you look at their history, they were early innovators in creating luggage that really didn’t exist. We want to bring some of that back,” he said.

Theresa Palermo, chief marketing officer of Vera Bradley, told The Drum that the brand ultimately chose Mono as agency of record because of its "innovation, ability to create a singular idea and team dynamics." She said Vera Bradley interviewed several talented teams and Mono's appointment followed a competitive review.

"The brand is well known but has become nostalgic. We needed to reboot and reengage consumers to bring relevancy back. Also, we have innovated within all our product categories but, consumers still only think of us as cotton quilted," she said. "We are working hard to reengage consumers and relaunch our brand, and with the partnership of Mono, we have an exciting fall ahead of us."

Palermo joined Vera Bradley as chief marketing officer in June of last year, replacing Angel Ilagan. Previously, she served as vice president of global marketing and public relations at Fossil.

Vera Bradley spent $4.5m on ad spend in 2014 and $8.7m between January and September of 2015, according to Kantar Media, whose figures do not take into account social, mobile, online video or paid search spending.

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