NEW YORK — What’s old is new again for XOXO.
The $250 million junior brand (at retail), which was acquired by Global Brand Holdings in July 2003, has gone through a growth spurt in recent seasons. In just over two years, the company launched several licensed products, including sunglasses, handbags, swimwear, belts, cold weather accessories, costume jewelry, watches, children’s wear and fragrance. With the sportswear licensed to Kellwood Co., the brand also plans to kick off luggage, sleepwear and intimates in 2007.
With this product expansion, XOXO will introduce a fall and holiday ad campaign that may have a slightly déjà vu feel to it. In the early Nineties, the company launched its “Hugs & Kisses” campaign, which featured well-known faces like Christy Turlington, Tyra Banks and Claudia Schiffer, along with their signatures, reading, for example: “Hugs & Kisses, XOXO, Tyra Banks.” The success of the marketing effort brought the XOXO brand the recognition it was seeking.
“We were recently working on a shoot with May Anderson, talking about the importance of supermodels in the Nineties,” said Jeff Cohen, president of Earthbound LLC, the company Global Brand Holdings hired to manage the XOXO brand. “Today it has become so much more celebrity-driven, but everyone does remember that campaign with Christy, Tyra and Claudia, who have all become celebrities in their own rights. So I thought it would be really cool to bring that campaign back, but in a more modern way.”
That modern way, Cohen said, came with a recognizable face of today, Alessandra Ambrosio, a Brazilian model known best for her work with Victoria’s Secret. Ambrosio is shown in a variety of images, showcasing all of what the brand has to offer. She is pictured along with her signature reading “Hugs & Kisses, XOXO, Alessandra,” just as in the previous campaigns.
Cohen said he plans to continue with this ad concept for at least a year, changing the faces every season. He has yet to name the spring face, but she will be known, and not necessarily a model.
“I like the idea of staying with models, and possibly bringing some recognition back to them and making them news again,” Cohen said. “But that doesn’t mean it’s set in stone. We may switch things up.”
To make this campaign authentic, the company has hired Laspata/DeCaro, the ad agency that created and photographed the original “Hugs & Kisses” ads. Laspata/DeCaro is also responsible for the new company logo, which will make its debut in the ads. The logo is cleaner and more contemporary, and without the young, girly-looking hearts that were in the original.
“The new logo is modern and fresh-looking for our brand,” Cohen said. “I think it really displays our brand direction.”
He would not disclose the company’s ad budget for this campaign, but said it will run in September issues of fashion magazines such as Elle and Cosmopolitan. The ads will also appear in trade publications and in the program for the Condé Nast Fashion Rocks event in September. The company also plans an outdoor campaign on telephone kiosks.
XOXO products are sold in better department stores such as Federated and Dillard’s. It is also sold in specialty stores and on xoxo.com.