Fruit of the Loom has chosen GSD&M as its media and creative agency of record. The selection follows a competitive pitch that began in April and led by Pile and Company.
“During our review process, we saw many great agencies, but GSD&M stood apart with a strong strategic and creative vision that we felt was best suited for our iconic brand,” Bryse Yonts, director, brand communications for Fruit of the Loom said. “We are excited to partner with GSD&M in the next chapter of our brand.” GSD&M will also be responsible for strategy and social work. The agency will be focused on continuing to increase brand awareness across Fruit of the Loom’s varied categories.
“Their business has been growing in the sports and the women’s area,” Duff Stewart, CEO of GSD&M said. “They want to continue to push that and diversify both their audience and bring the age down. Fruit of the Loom is a brand that many of us grew up with and people tend to step away from the brand, but then come back to the brand a little bit later. Part of our job is to have a continuous life-cycle relationship with the consumer in terms of building their brand.”
GSD&M is often most closely associated with Southwest Airlines, due to its nearly 40-year relationship with the carrier, but it has steadily been picking up significant accounts. In May the agency picked up creative AOR duties for Tyson label chicken under the Tyson Foods umbrella, with its first campaign released in August. In February GSD&M was reunited with Avocados From Mexico as its agency-ofrecord after a three-year absence and it scored Capital One’s business in early 2020 without a competitive review.
Southwest has “been a calling card,” said Stewart, but “we’ve always had a diverse roster of some very big name brands—Dodge, Hilton, U.S. Air Force, Goodyear, Universal Resorts, across categories. We’ve been guilty of being heads down on the work and perhaps not talking about ourselves as much.”
Jay Russell, chief creative officer at GSD&M, claims that the agency, which has recently hit a 50-year milestone, has had its best year ever despite the pandemic. The agency recently picked up the 2021 Grand Effie for its #ChickenWars campaign for Popeyes, brought home seven Cannes Lions and two D&AD Pencils. Russell says the agency’s success was due in large part to how it was able to come together during the pandemic.
“It’s been hard for all agencies to adapt to this, and I really believe that the core of GSD&M has always been the people and the community, ” Russell said. “To see this place step up and help each other has been crazy. Everyone is playing with less pieces, like budgets being cut. When you’re playing with less pieces and you’re working harder, you need help. We just had each other’s back. It has helped tremendously and created a teamwork that normally doesn’t exist in the building because it’s born out of necessity.”
It was reported in June that Fruit of the Loom was moving on from its incumbent agency, CPB, following a nearly decade-long relationship. The Denver-based agency, which has been experiencing a tumultuous few years, had hired Marianne Malina, the former president of GSD&M, as its global CEO in April. While Stewart declined to comment directly on Malina, the agency doesn’t expect to fill her role in the near future.
“Marianne’s got to go do what she has to do at Crispin, but we have to worry about our clients with GSD&M,” Duff said. “Our No. 1 job is to build our clients’ business. I can’t worry about the competition.”
GSD&M’s first work for Fruit of the Loom is expected to launch early next year.