Perhaps you’ve the faced the same problem as Speedo America: how to extend your brand. In the mid-80s, Speedo was the leader in competitive swimsuits. At Wieden & Kennedy, our brief was to make advertising for fashion suits that benefitted from the Speedo athletic brand.

The problem was, as you can see, that while the competition suits were not so bad…

Speedo competition swimsuit ad

… the “fashion suits” were pretty scary.

Speedo fashion swimsuit


The advertising was well received. It won some awards and was selected for the Communication Arts Magazine Advertising Annual. The channel bought the fashion suits. Needless to say, the public didn’t.

Any client/agency relationship can be complex. As an agency, you don’t want to overstep your bounds. Would Speedo have benefited from our input on fashion design? Probably. Since they didn’t ask, would we have lost the account by offering? That’s the risk you take. Nike (see Nike fashion examples) didn’t need our help (or anyone else’s). Speedo did.

  • Copy for all samples by Barrett Rossie
  • Art direction for Speedo print ads: Rick McQuiston
  • For more samples, visit the portfolio page
  • For updates on Twitter,  follow at@barrettrossie

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