The marketing message is getting personal for fall.
In a harsh mediascape marked by sharp advertising budget cuts and play-it-safe campaigns hawking discounts, change is stirring among fashion marketers. They are making appeals to the individual rather than the masses, reversing the pattern of the past 50 years. They are focusing locally and leveraging lower-cost platforms such as store settings and the Internet to reach their most passionate customers. And they are tapping into the public’s desire to escape day-to-day drudgery in the recession and indulge in fantasies — signaled by the rising popularity of vampires, video gaming and some big-budget movies, among other things.
“The days of big, anthemic, conceptual campaigns are over for now,” said John Gerzema, chief creative officer at Young & Rubicam.
Smaller scale, closer-to-home marketing venues or far-reaching, efficient media like the Internet are being chosen as lower-cost, targeted strategies.
Regularly Tweeting into the wee hours with her 6,300 followers, Lisa Gavales, executive vice president and chief marketing officer at Express, has been experiencing unaccustomed demands on her time. Many of her followers, she said, “want a window into who’s wearing our clothes — celebrities, models — who’s shopping our stores, what’s going on behind the scenes at photo shoots.” (Express, which operates more than 550 U.S. stores with annual sales of more than $1.8 billion, also addresses these issues in videos, promotional offers and the like to 48,000 of its “fans” on Facebook.)
The second phase of Express’ fall campaign, starting in September, will spotlight the brand’s young, forward fashions — such as strong-shouldered jackets and military-inspired styles — in print and online, including the word from Gavales to her followers on Twitter, people she sees as Express loyalists.
“I much better understand who my customer is, now,” she said of her fellow Tweeters. “It’s having the conversations with the customers who want to know what’s next.”
Paragon, the century-old sporting gear and apparel institution in Manhattan, is using Twitter’s new media messaging to draw people to real-time events. The sports specialist’s Twitter page recently invited people to join in a Nike training run (“...at 6:30! Try the latest and greatest Nike shoes!”); to get discounted tickets to World Team Tennis, and it listed offers of previous days, like that of free 7.11-oz. Slurpees on 7-Eleven’s 82nd birthday, July 11 (...“for everyone! Find a store near you.”)
While enabling companies to take the temperature of “communities talking about [them] in real time,” Twitter’s burst onto the scene, Gerzema said, raises a “big concern” for marketers: “How do you keep Tweets from becoming spam?”
More broadly, he said, businesses are entering a period when their brands “have to connect on a value and values level” — by speaking directly to consumers’ personal values that are consistent with the value of the things brands are offering, such as high-quality craftsmanship, the cachet of a limited edition, or a strong ethical stance.
“My personal philosophy to beauty is paying attention to oneself. I love to be outdoors, lots of fresh air, trying to take care of yourself as best you can. I always notice that comes through,” says Felicity Jones, the global face of @shiseido-owned @cledepeaubeauteus, which launches today. Head to WWD.com to read more about the actress’ love for beauty and how she prepared for her new role in “The Basis of Sex,” playing the young Ruth Bader Ginsburg. #wwdbeauty (📷: @dandoperalski)
For men’s fall 2018, @giuseppezanotti drew on elements from streetwear, sport, biker, combat and rock ‘n’ roll. Pictured here are a pair of shoes from the collection, featuring zippers, rhinestones, and silver hardware. Head to WWD.com to see a roundup of the accessories from Milan’s men’s fall 2018 shows. #wwdfashion (📷: Andrea Delb)
To celebrate the 25th anniversary of @ralphlauren’s snowboarding collection, the brand is mining its archives. The iconic brand is reintroducing vintage styles and dropping new designs for a color capsule that will be available in Ralph Lauren stores and @openingceremony on January 25. The capsule will consist of 10 pieces, including the Snow Beach Pullover, pictured here, which is a collector’s item that rapper Raekwon wore in Wu-Tang Clan’s “Can It Be All So Simple” video. #wwdfashion (📷: Tom Gould)
For @rochasofficial’s pre-fall 2018 collection, creative director Alessandro Dell’Acqua channeled the sophisticated and intriguing Catherine Denevue in the film “Belle de Jour.” Polished collarless coats, midi skirts, suits and ’60s graphic motifs were all featured in the collection, adding a sense of discreet luxury. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com #wwdfashion
“We tried to produce clothing of that couture quality, but the most daunting part was that we only had a matter of days [to do it],” said costume designer Lou Eyrich, who recreated Gianni Versace’s iconic looks for @americancrimestoryfx. Eyrich searched online retailers and vintage shops for original pieces from the design house and for @penelopecruzoficial, who plays Donatella Versace. Head to WWD.com to read how she created the Versace world. #wwdfashion
Only three months after her stellar debut catwalk season, @kaiagerber has inked her first big design collaboration –– with @karllagerfeld. The collection blends Lagerfeld’s Parisian chic aesthetic and the model’s signature West Coast casual style via RTW, accessories, footwear and more. The #KarlLagerfeldxKaia collection will launch in September with a series of events. Get all the details on WWD.com. #wwdnews #wwdfashion
Harrods plans to remove the famous statue of Princess Diana and Dodi Al Fayed from the bottom of the Egyptian escalators and hand it back to Mohamed Al-Fayed. “We are very proud to have played our role in celebrating the lives of Diana, Princess of Wales and Dodi Al Fayed at Harrods and to have welcomed people from around the world to visit the memorial for the past 20 years,” said Michael Ward, Harrods managing director. “With the announcement of the new official memorial statue to Diana, Princess of Wales at Kensington Palace, we feel that the time is right to return this memorial to Mr. Al Fayed and for the public to be invited to pay their respects at the palace.” More on the news, with reporting by @loreleimarfil, at WWD.com. #wwdnews