MADE IN THE SHADES: In an age in which ad campaigns seem to be more digitally focused than ever, Ray-Ban is taking a detour off the digital highway and onto the streets of New York with five billboards that will debut on Tuesday for its new colored Wayfarers. The campaign is a collaboration with Marie Claire magazine, the only title asked to come up with an idea to target “young female trendsetters.” The Hearst magazine tapped five artists and each was assigned a New York City billboard to design. The artists worked free of charge (under the idea the exposure is priceless, at least in Ray-Ban’s and Marie Claire’s view). Each billboard is worth approximately $23,000 to $50,000, said Alexa Wilson, Marie Claire’s executive director of marketing.

Ray-Ban also has a three-page advertorial in the July issue, and overall, Marie Claire will have nine pages of advertising from Ray-Ban this year — up three over last year. Ray-Ban also paid Marie Claire an additional marketing fee for the program.

Wilson hinted at a “top secret” stunt that is planned to literally stop traffic on Tuesday — no doubt winning LOL (or expletives) from Manhattan drivers. She declined to provide more details, although she said it will involve artist Ron English’s billboard.

Henri Bendel is also getting involved in the project by devoting two of its more prominent windows to Ray-Ban and hosting an after party on Tuesday with the billboard designs displayed in the store’s atrium, which is typically designed to look like a magazine, said Scott Schramm, senior vice president and general merchandise manager for fashion at Henri Bendel. — Amy Wicks

TIME FOR CHANGE: Another fashion insider is throwing her muscle behind the Barack Obama campaign. Elle associate publisher Samantha Fennell is leaving her position to work on fund-raising for the presumptive Democratic Party nominee. She gave her two weeks’ notice on Thursday.

Fennell said she was inspired to take a more serious role in the campaign once Obama gained a majority of delegates on June 3. She attended the June 17 fund-raiser in New York organized by Calvin Klein, Anna Wintour, Shelby Bryan and André Leon Talley, and from there, made the decision to join the campaign. “It’s a very entrepreneurial endeavor. It’s not like you sit there and someone says, ‘OK, this is how you do it,'” she said. “I’ve been raising money for magazines for 15 years, so I figure I can do this.” Prior to joining Elle, Fennell was an advertising director at Vogue, corporate fashion director, Condé Nast Media Group, and ad manager at Teen Vogue during its test phase.

This story first appeared in the June 30, 2008 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

Fennell’s departure sets off a shuffle within Elle’s top ranks: Elle will move Daniel Ragone, vice president and publisher Elle Decor, to a new position of vice president/managing director at Elle. Ragone will oversee fashion and luxury business across the Elle brand. Barbara Friedmann, vice president/group marketing director for Elle and Elle Decor, will step in as vice president/acting publisher of Elle Décor. It is unclear whether a permanent replacement will be named. — Stephanie D. Smith

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