McKinney's new baby: Aprica strollers

Durham agency lands account

Staff WriterJune 18, 2009 

Baby talk is in at Durham advertising agency McKinney.

The Triangle's largest ad agency announced Tuesday that it has been hired by Japan-based Aprica -- maker of baby strollers, car seats and other children's products. McKinney will develop global campaigns that will incorporate both traditional and new media, including a global Web site. Financial details weren't disclosed.

Aprica was acquired last year by Newell Rubbermaid, which also makes Graco brand infant products. Aprica is the No. 1 stroller brand in Japan with worldwide sales of about $122 million in its fiscal year that ended July 31, 2007. But Aprica strollers and other products haven't been available in the U.S. for years.

"A key part of this assignment is bringing [Aprica products] back to America," said McKinney President Jeff Jones.

Miho Sugimoto, director of branding at Aprica, said that being part of giant Newell Rubbermaid gives the brand the financial wherewithal to return to the U.S. market.

She expects the company's lightweight, compact strollers with their "streamlined design" to appeal to parents interested in maintaining an active lifestyle. U.S. prices haven't been set, but strollers will be premium-priced, she said.

Strollers will be available in the U.S. later this year, she said.

Jones said the agency's latest client resonates with McKinney's 162 employees, many of whom are parents.

"It's hard not to fall in love with working in this category," he said.

Last month McKinney was retained by giant insurer Nationwide, the agency's largest account win ever. Other clients include Coldwell Banker, Gold's Gym, NASDAQ, Sherwin-Williams, Travelocity and Virgin Mobile.

Last summer, Jones and other McKinney executives bought the company from Paris-based ad agency Havas.

david.ranii@newsobserver.com or 919-829-4877

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