Nautica Realigns, Leaves Head

imageBeautiful weekend up in Boston for the Head of the Charles regatta. Colors, collars, and corks all popping under the clear blue sky, reuniting with old prep school and college buddies. More than 7,500 athletes competed in more than 50 events, as 300,000 fans celebrate on a three-miles stretch along the banks of the Charles River. Good times, right? Wrong. Something besides, you know, the crumbling economy was gnawing at the event. On the eve of its 45th anniversary, its leading sponsor Nautica has decided to cancel sponsor contracts — citing the economy, of course. “Event marketing across the board is going to feel the impact of the down economy,” said executive director Fred Schoch. “We’ll just have to bootstrap it, as we have for the last several years. We don’t have that anchor sponsor. We have to build our pyramid with a lot of little blocks.”

That’s not the only change for the brand. According to DNR, since spring Nautica has systematically undergone a massive shake-up after a long sales slide and a “muddled brand message.” Under new CEO Karen Murray, the brand has a new team and new designs. “This is a full reinvention — of people, product, in-store execution and advertising,” said Murray. “There is nothing that won’t be touched or tweaked. I think we really needed to think about our roots, our reason for being, and what brought us to the party years ago under [founder] David Chu.”

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