French Connection drops Beattie

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The Independent Online

French Connection and Trevor Beattie, the advertising guru, are ending a 10-year association that has produced some of the most provocative and unpopular ads in recent retail history.

An attempt to move the struggling retailer on from the infamous FCUK campaign ended in failure this year after a campaign featuring a lesbian kiss flopped.

Mr Beattie turned the FCUK acronym, used on communication between its London head office and its Hong Kong buying team, into the "FCUK fashion" logo that was emblazoned across shopfronts, T-shirts and at one point even a radio station. His company, Beattie McGuinness Bungay, then came up with the "Fashion versus Style" ad campaign where two women sparred before graphically making up.

Intended to provoke a debate about fashion, the campaign was built around a quote from the late French designer Yves Saint-Laurent, but it did not have the desired effect.

In May, the unpopular campaign was one contributor to French Connection's fifth profit warning in 18 months after it failed to revive the group's sales.

Mr Beattie said it had been his decision to stop working for the retailer, a founding client when he launched his new agency just over 12 months ago. French Connection declined to comment on the split.

"It's not every day you resign an account you've worked on for 10 years," Mr Beattie told the trade magazine Campaign. "But fashion being fashion, standing still is not an option. I feel the time is right for us to move on."