By  on February 18, 1994

NEW YORK -- With spring ad budgets flat or marginally higher, some of retailing's biggest spenders are apportioning their dollars into color newsprint, radio, billboards and increased co-op to maximize their exposure.

Some of the newest developments include:

  • Macy's, with a flat ad budget and Chapter 11 status, is turning to its vendors for help by way of an aggressive co-op plan. It will run an eight-page portfolio in New York magazine Monday highlighting its newly renovated bridge department, all co-opped with bridge vendors. Macy's is also testing its first color ad in the Styles of the Times section this Sunday, featuring Tapemeasure crop tops in Day-Glo colors.

  • Lord & Taylor -- for years a stalwart of the conservative black and white illustration -- has been bitten by the color bug, too. L&T was the first department store to run a full-page color ad in Styles of the Times last Sunday, when the section initiated color. The store is said to be considering more color.

  • Saks Fifth Avenue is sticking with its black-and-white campaign, but it does have a new look. Beginning this month, Saks broke out a new, modernized logo in its newspaper ads. The logo, which was tested in magazine ads last spring, looks as though the last few letters fell off the page.

    "We've started getting good reaction to the logo," said Rebecca Wong Young, executive creative director of Saks. "People get it now."

    Saks won't be testing color, however.

    "We're a big user of the Styles section -- one of the most faithful -- but we're not planning color ads for them," said Sheri Wilson-Gray, vice president of advertising and marketing at Saks. "Even our magazine campaign is black and white. We've come to see it as an identity. It's a choice, not a budgetary consideration."

    Saks' ad budget is up more than most -- 10 percent -- and the biggest beneficiary is direct mail, which has expanded by 20 percent over last spring's efforts. Saks will send out over 50 mailers this spring. The spring fashion mailer will be sent to 1.7 million people.
  • Barneys New York is going national with the witty, colorful illustrations it began using last fall. The spring campaign will include a West Coast multi-media blitz to inaugurate Barneys' Beverly Hills store, slated to open March 5. The campaign will include radio, billboards and newspaper ads.

    The spring theme is "Private Lives."

    "It's about the 'mundane-isms' of everyone's lives," said Ronnie Cooke, creative director, associate vice president. The illustrations, by Jean Philippe Delhomme, are accompanied by copy such as: "When God made Nadine, He broke the mold"; "Elmo was the light of her life but he burned out" and "Rod was a golfer. Chet was a gofer."

    The images will also appear on billboards along Sunset Boulevard, on buses in Los Angeles and New York, and taxi tops in New York.

    The store will also follow up with a radio campaign.

    "We feel [radio] is modern," said Cooke. "People don't only look at magazines anymore. In Los Angeles and New York, people listen to radios in the morning, and especially in L.A., when they drive to work."

    Barneys' ad budget is "slightly up" from a year ago, added Bonnie Solomon, ad director.

  • Neiman Marcus's spring budget is flat compared with a year ago, said Joe Feczko, senior vice president, creative services. In addition to NM's 26-page fashion portfolio, shot by Richard Avedon, in the March issue of Harper's Bazaar, Neiman's has a 24-page co-op ad with Anne Klein running in the March issue of Vogue. NM is obviously big on Anne Klein this spring: it's sending the 24-pager to its customers, polybagged with its 96-page spring catalog, called Imagine.

    NM is also running monthly ads in W and Texas Monthly and will run newspaper ads every Sunday in major papers using real customers as models -- a strategy launched last fall.

  • NM's sister store, Bergdorf Goodman, also has a flat budget.

    "Spring is short-lived," said Ellin Saltzman, senior vice president and fashion director. "We'll save our energies for the fall season."Bloomingdale's will send customers an 80-page spring fashion catalog the first week of March, photographed by Peter Lindbergh, and featuring Linda Evangelista, among others. Its spring ad campaign, which is black and white, also features Evangelista and was shot by Lindbergh. While Bloomingdale's uses color "on a regular basis," there is presently no color schedule planned in the Styles section, said John Funck, creative director.

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