PRODUCT FEVER SPREADS TO SPRING ADS

Byline: Lisa Lockwood, with contributions from Janet Ozzard and Alice Welsh

NEW YORK--The days of the esoteric, artsy image are over. At least for now.
With a tough retail environment expected to continue, ad spenders, despite some increased budgets, will be a lot more selective about how, what and where they buy.
And whether they're taking their messages to the streets via outdoor advertising or running multipage inserts in magazines, a cross-section of companies agree that they still prize creativity, but product will be the star this spring.
The goal? Show clothes a woman can actually relate to. And while the fuzzy, high concept message is lost for now, advertisers are still keeping some of their old habits: Supermodels, again, will be everywhere.
Some of the big spenders say their budgets are up in single digits, while others are flat. A few, like Escada, Emanuel and Steve Fabrikant, are reporting big budget hikes.
Among the highlights from various upcoming campaigns:
DKNY has gone Hollywood, at Dolores del Rio's no less. It will run a 24-page "onsert," featuring the women's and men's lines, that will be polybagged with the March issue of Interview as part of its $2.7 million spring campaign.
Max Mara--with the use of mirrors--is giving the magazine reader front and back images of its spring line in a $1 million print and outdoors campaign.
Emanuel has added outdoor advertising to its ad schedule and has boosted its budget by 30 percent. It will continue its grid pattern campaign for print, which highlights multiple options in wardrobe building.
Linda is out and Naomi is in the Kenar ads, which also feature Helena Christensen once again. The $1.5 million spring campaign moves away from sexy or controversial images and focuses on the product.
Paul Marciano, president of Guess Inc., said the Los Angeles denim and sportswear firm will spend the same amount this year as it did a year ago. While Marciano declined to give a figure for the budget, Leading National Advertisers, an industry data group, said Guess Inc. spent $23 million on advertising for all its businesses last year.
In addition to its long-running image campaign, Guess did a brief product-oriented campaign last year, and this year, Marciano said, there will be distinct ads for the licensed lines such as footwear, eyewear, watches and accessories. But the black-and-white image campaign will continue and was shot this season in Palm Springs, Calif., by Dewey Nicks and features model Larissa.
Marciano said there's been a slight shift toward direct advertising and away from print. That means more billboards and bus shelters in major cities, he noted.
"I'm cutting back on some magazines in Europe because the economy there is so depressed," he said. "I'm staying in some Italian magazines, but not French."
DKNY's theme for spring is Hollywood, and a company billboard will go up next month at the Midtown Tunnel here and on Hollywood's Sunset Blvd. For spring, DKNY will spend about $2.7 million, up 7 percent from a year ago. For the year, Donna Karan's corporate ad budget, excluding beauty, is $11 million, also up 7 percent from a year ago, said Trey Laird, senior vice president of creative services and advertising. The budget is equally divided between spring and fall.
Peter Lindbergh shot the DKNY ad campaign on a Hollywood lot and at the Santa Monica Art Deco estate where Delores del Rio once lived, complete with a tennis court and pool. The campaign features glamorous shots of Shalom Harlow, Amber Valetta, Mark Van Der Loo and Paul Mason.
Discussing why DKNY chose Interview, whose circulation is just under 200,000, for its onsert, Laird said, "It's hip, edgy and has a strong following on both coasts. We'll do a lot of bi-coastal promotions."
Another 160,000 image books will be printed for other purposes. The book will also be distributed at the Cannes Film Festival and will serve as an in-store look book and mailer. The company has also purchased vending machines that will distribute the catalogs at in-store events.
Eight-page inserts will also appear in the March issues of Vanity Fair, Vogue and Harper's Bazaar. DKNY also plans to boost its presence on phone kiosks and bus sides for spring.
Max Mara will spend $1 million on advertising in the U.S. this spring, up 15 percent from last year. The campaign, shot in a California desert by Max Vidukul, uses eight-foot mirrors to give it a futuristic look and air of mystery, said Donna Cristina, partner in Dente/Cristina, the firm's ad agency. "We wanted to create a multiple image effect," she said, that wouldn't compete with the clothing. "In fact, in some instances, you can see the front and the back of the clothing."
The ads, which feature Shalom, will run in the March editions of Elle, Harper's Bazaar, W, Marie Claire and Mirabella.
Escada continues to put the emphasis on clothing in its ad campaigns.
Jaimee Marshall, vice president, advertising, said Escada's corporate marketing and advertising budget is up a healthy 24 percent for spring. The Escada line's budget has been increased by 15 percent versus a year ago.
The Collection ads, which were photographed by Albert Watson, will appear in Vogue, Harper's Bazaar, W and, for the first time, Town & Country. The Escada Sport line, which was launched last fall, will be advertised in Vogue, Vanity Fair, W, Elle, Allure and Home Garden. Pamela Hanson shot the campaign.
Nik Janik, Escada's young designer line, will boost its ad budget by 51 percent and will be advertised in the February and March issues of Interview, and it will also appear in Elle, Harper's Bazaar, W and Allure. Designer Janik will once again appear in the company's ad campaign. The ads were shot by Walter Chin.
At Kenar, there won't be any Sicilian mammas or circus animals this season. The spring campaign "is a complete departure from what we've done in the past," said Charles DeCaro, a partner in Laspata/DeCaro, Kenar's ad agency. And instead of an exotic locale, as featured in prior campaigns, Rocco Laspata shot the spring ads in a Los Angeles studio on white seamless.
"It's also very different insofar as it's more geared towards the clothing. We felt our next step was to be product specific."
The ads feature Naomi Campbell and Helena Christensen--but each separately.
Kenar will spend about $3 million for the year--comparable to a year ago--that is equally divided between spring and fall, said Kenneth Zimmerman, chief executive officer.
Tse Cashmere will once again feature Kirsty Hume in its ad campaign, which was shot by Patrick Demarchelier in St. Barts. It shows Tse's twinsets, turtlenecks and swimsuits. The ads will appear as four-page inserts in the March issues of Vogue and Harper's Bazaar, as well as in W and the New York Times Magazine. Tse's ad budget for the year is $2.2 million, with a third of that going to the spring campaign, said Rebecca Shafer, consulting creative director.
Steve Fabrikant has doubled its ad budget for spring, which sources estimate as close to $1 million. The ads, which feature Paris, the 29-month-old daughter of Steve and Nancy Fabrikant, and the model, Nellie, were photographed by Paul Lang. They carry the logo, "Isn't Life Fab."
The dress, suit and sportswear firm is back after a one-year hiatus from advertising. Last year, the company put its emphasis on direct mail, but this year decided it needed to have a presence in magazines as well, said Nancy Fabrikant, president of the firm. For spring, Fabrikant is running double-page spreads in the February and March editions of W.
After a test last fall, North Beach Leather will expand its outdoor presence for spring. It will spend 20 percent of its ad budget on outdoor kiosks and 80 percent on regional magazines and direct mail. Outdoor ads will appear in Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco.
"[North Beach] is concentrating on outdoor, and they're finding that it works," said a spokeswoman. "That's where you wear it."

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