What does an agency do when it signs a startup shoe designer?

Garage Public Relations in West Hollywood introduced Theresa Ebagua, designer for New York-based Chelsea Paris, to fashion editors in the Big Apple. Now, the agency will push to get L.A. celebrities to walk the red carpet in the new line of luxury footwear.

“We are talking to wardrobe stylists, personal stylists and the celebrities themselves,” said Garage partner Adam Ambrose. “We are selecting certain styles to give to them so the images will infiltrate the tabloid-type press.”

Ambrose and co-partner Lauren Johnson will handle U.S. PR and marketing for the startup brand, which is signing up boutique retailers to carry its shoes.

For Fashion Week L.A. on Oct. 15-19, the agency plans to rent a cabana at a local hotel and stage a “shoe fashion show” for invited guests.

The marketing strategy for the Italian-made footwear is to show that the shoes have the same quality and materials as name brands, but only cost half as much.

Ambrose cited a specific style of Christian Louboutin shoes that sell for $1,595, whereas the Chelsea Paris version will cost only $795.

Johnson said a typical Chelsea Paris pair will retail in the $400-$500 range. “I want to exploit that ‘quality for less’ angle in the press,” Ambrose said. “At the same time, it’s not a cheap product so celebrities will feel comfortable wearing it.”

No Global Bunny

TBWA Worldwide’s relationship with Energizer and Eveready batteries has gone international.

The Playa del Rey shop has managed Energizer’s U.S. advertising since 1989, including the popular Energizer Bunny character. But until now, the battery’s international business was handled by rival agency DDB.

The expanded assignment for TBWA is part of Energizer’s new look. The company redesigned its product and packaging, and is retooling its ads to match.

The bunny can’t go global, though, because a competing battery brand uses a rabbit character in some international markets.

“We are extremely proud of the work we have done for Energizer over the past two decades and our role in helping to secure the Energizer Bunny as one of America’s most recognizable brand icons,” Carisa Bianchi, president of TBWAChiatDay Los Angeles, said in a statement. “We look forward to working with Energizer to leverage its brands in fresh and unexpected ways throughout the world.”

Ad Education

The Ad Council, a national non-profit group based in New York that produces public service announcements, has formed a partnership with the organization’s Los Angeles Leadership Committee to encourage local media support for the High School Dropout Prevention campaign.

The “Boost Up” campaign is designed to keep teens in school. The Ad Council has produced ads specifically for Los Angeles in both English and Spanish. The local committee is working to get media outlets throughout Southern California to air the PSAs through Labor Day in conjunction with the back-to-school season.

“In Los Angeles, we now have a staggering 36 percent high school dropout rate that we must all work together to address,” Scott Remy, senior vice president of communications at Nestle USA in Glendale, said in a statement. Remy is on the Los Angeles Leadership Committee and the Ad Council’s national board.

The Los Angeles Leadership Committee also includes Sue Johenning, director of local broadcasting for ad agency Initiative; Maelia Macin, general manager of KMEX-TV (Channel 34); Don Corsini, general manager at KTLA-TV (Channel 5); Greg Ashlock, president of Clear Channel Radio; Ed Krampf, L.A. market manager for CBS Radio; and Lisa Palmer, vice president at Adlink.

Agencies & Accounts

Wonacott Communications in West Los Angeles will manage public relations for the launch of “Hello Kitty Online,” a massively multiplayer online game from the Japanese line of apparel, toys and accessories. Sanrio Digital, a subsidiary of the Hong Kong company that owns the Kitty character, officially launched the game this month. Players select a character that explores a virtual world that’s part fantasy and partly based on real cities like Paris and Tokyo. … RPA in Santa Monica has hired Jason Sperling as group creative director for the Honda account. Sperling was formerly creative director at TBWAMedia Arts Lab in Playa del Rey, where he oversaw accounts for the iPad, iPhone and Macintosh groups. The “Mac vs. PC” ads, which Sperling supervised, was named campaign of the decade by Adweek. Previously, Sperling worked at Colby and Partners in Santa Monica. … Amy Levy Public Relations in Westwood has added three clients to its roster: holistic vision therapist and author Dr. Sam Berne, local Italian restaurant chain Rosti Tuscan Kitchen and iPad case-maker Zoogue. Levy will handle media relations for all three accounts. … George Medici is the new senior vice president at investor relations firm PondelWilkinson in Century City. A former editor at the Los Angeles Times, Medici most recently worked as director of national media business strategies at Porter Novelli in New York. … Comedian Carla Collins has hired L.A.’s Levine Communications Office to handle her publicity. … KSL Media in Encino has hired Russell Dean as chief financial officer. Previously, he held the CFO title at Phelps Group in Santa Monica and Palisades Media Group in Santa Monica.

Staff reporter Joel Russell can be reached at jrussell@labusinessjournal.com or at (323) 549-5225, ext. 237.

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