Pepe jettisons Leagas initiative

Pepe Jeans is dropping the controversial 10m “suicide” themed drive, created for it by Leagas Delaney, and has even considered axing the agency altogether.

Pepe Jeans admits holding secret talks with agencies but says Leagas Delaney, which won the pan-European brief last year (MW September 23), will stay on the account.

Pepe marketing director Mark Blenkinsop met a handful of agencies last month which, sources say, included Cowan Kemsley Taylor. Blenkinsop told agencies that Pepe had misgivings about Leagas Delaney’s campaign which uses suicide and angst-ridden teenagers as a central theme, suggesting it was not on the right track.

Agencies were told to submit alternative creative work and told that if work was approved, they had a good chance of taking the account. Sources say Pepe’s product creative director, Rob Dunk, and the chief executive of Pepe Europe, Fred Gehring, were involved in the review.

Blenkinsop admits that talks took place but says: “There was no harm intended to Leagas Delaney. Their work is excellent.” He adds: “I have to perform certain tasks. I had to look at what else was potentially round the corner. It is a very stressful business, there is a lot of money riding on the results.” He says agencies were not guaranteed that the account would move but were just asked “to try to apply some new thinking”.

The Leagas Delaney campaign, which was acclaimed by creatives from other agencies, broke in April and ran in the cinema and style press.

Leagas Delaney was not available for comment.

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