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MODEL CHARACTERS: Old Navy has always played the kitchy card when it comes to advertising and this season is no exception — even if it seems to be watching its pennies with no live models. Instead, there are 12 custom-made mannequins called the “SuperModelquins.” “I love being an Old Navy mannequin,” says Heather. “Look at the fab jeans we get to wear.” “Just $19 and even you’ve got a bootie,” says Michelle. “You know what else is cool about being a mannequin? We can twist our heads around to check out our butts,” Amy explains. “See, I have a perky patootie,” Heather says. “I have a bodacious bum,” offers Michelle. “Arctic shelf,” says Wesley. “I’ve got a shelf butt. See that? Look at that.” “Awkward,” the female SuperModelquins say.
The Old Navy campaign was developed in partnership with Crispin Porter + Bogusky, which has produced advertising for Burger King and Coca-Cola. The first Old Navy TV commercial debuted Thursday night in prime time on network TV and will run on cable networks including ABC Family, E, BET, TBS, USA and VH1. In addition, TV spots will run in syndication, late night on CBS and NBC and Hispanic TV’s Univision and Telemundo. Online banner ads debut today on Yahoo, OMG, AOL, TMZ, people.com, Facebook, US Weekly, Sugar Network and Sony. In addition, SuperModelquins will appear in 200 Old Navy stores and will be rolled out to all stores over the next few weeks. Old Navy’s newly designed weekly circular spoofs celebrity fashion magazines. The headline on the launch circular reads, “Yes, they’re fake! These pretty mannequins may be plastic, but the FUNdamental sale is very very real!” Old Navy spent $207 million last year on advertising, according to TNS Media Intelligence.
This story first appeared in the February 27, 2009 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
— Sharon Edelson
NEW CREATIVE EYE: Real Simple has hired Janet Froelich as creative director, responsible for the look of the magazine, Web site, products and other brand platforms. Froelich joins Time Inc. after 22 years at The New York Times, where most recently she served as creative director of The New York Times Magazine and of T: The New York Times Style Magazine. Froelich also helped launch the now defunct sports quarterly Play and the real estate title Key. She succeeds Vanessa Holden, who left Real Simple in December 2006; in October, Holden became the editor in chief of Martha Stewart Weddings.
— Stephanie D. Smith
TIME OUT: Speaking of T, the recession eating into ad pages has forced the title to shave two issues off of its publishing schedule, for a total of 13 issues in 2009. The Women’s Summer Fashion and Design & Living editions will become sections in The New York Times Sunday Magazine in its May 3 and May 31 editions, respectively. The Times usually publishes four women’s fashion issues, one for each season. T is the latest New York Times glossy publication to succumb to recessionary pressures: the March 15 issue of biannual real estate magazine Key will also fold into the Sunday Magazine.
PARTING WAYS: The decks have yet again shuffled at Interview. First, the magazine appointed a new managing editor, Alexandra Mack, who was formerly assistant managing editor at Domino. Also, Russell Labosky was named art director to succeed Aurélie Pellissier, who left Interview earlier this month. Labosky was a former art director of Vogue and creative director of Men’s Vogue. Meanwhile, director of marketing Susan Cappa has also departed after only seven months. Her replacement has not yet been named. The departures follow the ouster of co-editorial director Fabien Baron and creative director Karl Templer in January.
READY FOR ADS, BUT WILL THEY GET THEM?: During a conversation on Wednesday evening with Tina Brown, New York Times media columnist David Carr kept talking about how “stunning” and “beautiful” The Daily Beast is. The reason the Web site is so pretty, Carr added, was its lack of advertising. And while this may be the case, his comments led Brown to answer the question many have already asked: Will The Daily Beast ever offer advertising? “Of course we will,” Brown told a crowd on hand at New York University’s School of Continuing and Professional Studies and its Center for Publishing, for its Media Talk Series. “Barry’s [Diller] strategy was to get eyeballs first and then we’ll move into the next phase. We said no to advertisers that wanted to advertise before Christmas.” One of its early successes was a story posted by Christopher Buckley, “Sorry, Dad, I’m Voting for Obama,” which garnered one million page views. According to Omniture, the site had four million visits and 12 million page views in January.
But now that the site is ready for ads, who is going to buy? Marketing budgets aren’t exactly on the rise these days and some say online advertising is actually in decline. “Every brand is reeling and looking to do new things…they are much more open to niche and innovation,” said Brown, who added that a race has begun to see who can score those ad dollars. “Advertisers are looking for reinvention on the Web.”
Brown — who made her reputation at titles like Tatler, Vanity Fair, The New Yorker and the ill-fated Talk — now claims her “metabolism is too fast” for print, adding the future of magazines might be well served if they were approached as monthly book projects that looked back at the previous month. Regarding the recent closure of Domino magazine, Brown said it was one of the last quality publications and that it was a tremendous mistake to let it go. She also said she likes Condé Nast Portfolio, but questioned some of the cover choices.
If she wanted to give her two cents in person on that topic, Brown was within earshot of S.I. Newhouse Jr. and the title’s publisher William Li at a Portfolio breakfast the next morning, on “Madoff and the Meltdown,” where the panel included Nobel Peace Prize winner Elie Wiesel. Wiesel said his foundation lost $15 million after investing it with Bernard Madoff, and he also lost some personal wealth. Wiesel only met Madoff twice and didn’t talk investments — ironically, he said they discussed ethics.
— Amy Wicks