TARGET EMPHATIC VALUE: Target’s advertising recently has been as stylish as its guest designer products — often more so. The economy, however, is forcing the discounter to focus more on value than style, even diminishing the size on-screen of its famed tag line, “Expect More. Pay Less,” and inserting a new, more explicit catch phrase, “Get More for Less.” For example, a new Target spot, set to a Dolly Parton song, shows a woman with her dog and Beneful dog food, accompanied by the words, “More Dinner. Less Dollar.” Target’s advertising budget last year was $1.19 billion, according to Advertising Age. Another spot begins with the image of the meter on a gas pump running past $75 and promises “A New Day. New Ways to Save,” followed by suggestions and actual product prices. “The new movie night” shows a couple eating popcorn in a darkened living room with a $13 DVD on the table, while “the new family room” features a backyard tent for $70.49. “It’s still fun, hip and fresh, but we’re being more bold and direct with the value messaging, for example, calling out the prices of merchandise in the actual ad,” a Target spokesman said.
Wal-Mart, long the low-price leader, has been outpacing its rival Target in recent months in terms of sales growth and has used the economic downturn as an opportunity to take its advertising to a more sophisticated level and court consumers with comfortable lifestyles who are now looking to trade down. Rather than simply communicate price rollbacks as in the past, Wal-Mart depicts lifestyles and events to which these shoppers can relate in spots with high production values. The tag line, “Always Low Prices. Always,” has been replaced by “Save money. Live better.” The question now is what happens to the two mass retailers when the economic pressure subsides.
— Sharon Edelson
LAUNCHES ARE HAPPENING: Magazine advertising is hard to come by these days, but this month alone, Hearst Magazines is launching two titles: the premier issue of Food Network magazine and Mis Quince, a magazine aimed at girls who are planning their quinceañeras. The title will be sent out with select November issues of Seventeen, Cosmogirl and the winter issue of Teen, with a total distribution of 1.4 million. It also will be sold in all Wal-Mart newsstand copies of Seventeen and Cosmogirl. Seventeen publisher Jayne Jamison said the Hispanic market is growing, and 50 percent of girls who responded to Seventeen’s survey now spend between $2,000 to $10,000 on their big days. She added that Mis Quince’s circulation is larger than any other magazine aimed at Hispanic women.
Procter & Gamble has signed on as exclusive beauty sponsor, with ads for Cover Girl, Always, Herbal Essence and Secret. “We want to reach out more to the Hispanic consumer,” said Francine Gingras, P&G’s external relations beauty director. “These are the brands that are important to young women and it’s the age when they look to magazines for advice.” All ads will appear in English or Spanish in the magazines.
— Amy Wicks
BAUER SETS UP SHOP: Bauer Media in the U.K. — which last year acquired Emap’s former consumer media division — is making the jump from publisher to retailer. The company, which publishes titles including U.K. Grazia, Arena and Pop, has launched Cocosa, an e-commerce site that will sell designer brands at discounted prices through private online sales. Customers will gain access to the 48-hour sales — the first of which will take place later this month — by registering to be a member of the Web site. “We are always seeking out further opportunities to create a difference in the markets we operate in,” said Paul Keenan, chief executive officer of Bauer Media. “As a pure retail site, Cocosa is a new direction for Bauer Media, but in common with the rest of our portfolio, is yet another example of us using our powerful brands and audience insight to innovate ahead of the competition.”
Bauer said the Web site also would include an editorial element, with advice from fashion journalists posted alongside the pieces on sale.
— Nina Jones
RECYCLING IS CHIC: What’s the best way for fashionistas to cut back in a dismal economy? Repurpose their closets to form looks from pieces they already own. That’s how Lucky editor in chief Kim France described “The Lucky Guide to Mastering Any Style,” the title’s second book, which went on sale Tuesday. The book concentrates on achieving personal style — such as arty slick, American classic, Euro classic and California casual — without replacing an entire wardrobe. France and co-author Andrea Linett heed their own advice, admitting to several items they’ve owned for more than a decade. For France, “a denim Levi’s jacket that my brother’s friend left at our house in 1979” has remained a wardrobe staple, though it’s more a showpiece than anything. The item lives “in a storage box under the bed in my guest bedroom,” she said.
As for Linett, she holds dear a Harley-Davidson tank top that was in YM Magazine, modeled by Milla Jovovich in the early Nineties. “I bought the shirt new and wore it so much it’s the only ‘vintage’ shirt I have that was genuinely worn in by me.” Does Linett have the bike to go with the tank top? “My husband has a bike, but I’m scared to get on it.
— Stephanie D. Smith