Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Iconix Brand Group Inc. are getting behind the Ocean Pacific brand in a big way this spring.
The Op brand will launch next month exclusively in Wal-Mart stores with a marketing campaign featuring seven young stars — actress Rumer Willis; actress Kristin Cavallari, best known for her role on “Laguna Beach”; singer Christina Milian; actress Josie Maran; rocker Pete Wentz; “High School Musical” star Corbin Bleu, and actor Wilmer Valderrama.
The seven personalities will star in the print, radio and online campaign for the junior and young men’s brand Op. The ads will surround Wal-Mart’s spring-summer launch of Op in stores and on walmart.com. The concept of the campaign is “OPen Road,” which will celebrate the 36-year-old brand’s California heritage. The campaign will continue to follow the Op cast as they head into fall with back-to-school ads that will begin in August. Iconix officials declined to reveal the ad budget, and Wal-Mart couldn’t be reached for comment.
“We wanted to stay true to the heritage of the brand, which is a California lifestyle,” said Dari Marder, chief marketing officer, Iconix Brand Group Inc. “While the spring-summer campaign is clearly on the beach, we want to make clear that this brand is not just about being a surfer. So, for back-to-school we will show how an Op hoodie can look great over that graphic T-shirt and how the lifestyle can extend into so many things.”
Marder said that when the seven personalities were chosen, executives wanted an eclectic mix so an Op customer would be able to relate to at least one of the faces in the ads. “We wanted to show that Op can work on a number of different people and that they can all rock it in their own way,” she said.
The personalities have also recorded radio spots that will begin nationwide in May.
The print ads will break in the May issue of Rolling Stone and will run in the June and July editions of such magazines as Teen Vogue, Cosmogirl, Seventeen, Lucky, Cosmopolitan, Surfing, Surfer, Twist and J-14.
The campaign was shot by Larry Bartholomew at the Will Rogers State Park beach in Pacific Palisades, Calif., and Blue Cloud Ranch in Santa Clarita, Calif. In addition to the campaign, the celebrities will host a launch party in California later this spring and make personal appearances on behalf of the brand.
This story first appeared in the April 24, 2008 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
In August 2004, Op was sold to Warnaco Group Inc. for $40 million and the assumption of $1 million of debt. Iconix purchased Op in November 2006 for $53 million. Iconix assumed 15 domestic licenses covering product categories such as footwear, sunglasses, kids’ apparel and fragrance. Op did $250 million in wholesale sales worldwide in 2005. After the deal closed, the brand went on hiatus, after being sold in such stores as J.C. Penney and Kohl’s. Iconix struck an exclusive deal with Wal-Mart last August.