COVETING THY NEIGHBOR’S ACCOUNT

Byline: Lisa Lockwood

NEW YORK — Some would like to rework Calvin Klein; others said they’d love to get their hands on Donna Karan, Victoria’s Secret or Estee Lauder. Maybe even tweak Ralph Lauren.
Their advertising, that is.
WWD asked ad executives what their “dream” account would be and, once they had it, how they’d change it.
Here’s what they had to say:
George Fertitta, president, Margeotes, Fertitta & Partners: “It would be Estee Lauder. I would make it 10 degrees younger, cooler, more modern and sexier — just a minor adaptation.”
Ellis Verdi, president, DeVito/Verdi: “Victoria’s Secret. It’s a wonderful business and it’s doing fairly well…We’d put a lot more spice into all that lace. We would try to broaden the appeal and not be so mainstream. We would say, ‘Four out of five marriages end in divorce because husbands don’t see enough of their wives.’ And the visual would be one of their sexier products.”
John Amodeo, president of Amodeo/Petti: “The Limited. Ten years ago, The Limited was regarded in the apparel industry as leaders that set new standards in the junior market with their progressive merchandising concepts and unique retail design. They created a relevant brand culture for the time. But after they expanded to new businesses such as Structure, Express and Victoria’s Secret, the focus on the brand became secondary and it became just a chain of retail stores. I would refocus what each of those individual brands means today. What’s the real relevancy as a brand name, as opposed to a retail store? I’d help each one mold his own power-brand identity. The potential there is phenomenal.”
Peter Arnell, chairman and chief creative director, Arnell Group: “It would be to do Donna Karan again. I would probably pick up on where I left. (Arnell and Karan parted ways in 1994 after a nine-year collaboration).
“I would probably go back to telling stories, rather than shooting fashion pictures. The greatest part of Donna’s campaign was to have an idea and tell a story versus display a product. I would try to bring it much closer back to Donna, and I would try to look at other aspects of New York City that haven’t been utilized within the framework of her image.
“I would return the aspirational qualities of her previous campaigns to her advertising. Of course, that would include DKNY as well. I’d do a revamping, re-engineering and rethinking of all the divisions’ strategies.”
Martin Landey, chairman, Landey & Partners, Grounds, Morris: “If I could get a [dream] fashion account it would be Donna Karan and DKNY. Donna, in my view, is one of the handful of designers who have an ideological, philosophical and strategic sense of how women should dress and what they should wear. It’s not just based on the fact that fur is hot, or velvet is hot. It’s based on a deep sense of how contemporary women should present themselves.
“Unfortunately the advertising does not tell the story. It, like everybody else, is a photograph and a logo, when there is so much more that Donna has to bring to the table. I would make sure that her strategy and point of difference permeates the advertising and the merchandise. Her strategy is different, and it can be articulated.”
Richard Kirshenbaum, partner in Kirshenbaum, Bond & Partners: “My dream fashion account would be a project from Ralph Lauren. He’s amazing. I think I could learn a lot from him, but I also think he may be able to learn a thing or two from us. I’ve always been a fan of his overall strategy and work. I think I’d probably enjoy doing a few more unexpected things that would still fall well within the brand personality and well-protected image.”
Sam Shahid, partner, Shahid & Partners: “I think Calvin Klein. What I would do with Calvin is where we left off. (Shahid was president of Klein’s in-house advertising agency, CRK Inc., for 10 years until 1990).
“He’s missing the emotion, the aspiration. I’d still make it sexy, but very aspirational. It was about being beautiful, healthy, sexy and being a leader, and wanting to be these people.”
Another account he’d love to have?
“Revlon. It’s a major American company, and I’d love to make it fashion — The House of Revlon. I’d reinvent the whole thing.”
Donald P. Ziccardi, president and chief executive officer of Ziccardi Partners Inc.: “The position line for Talbott’s is ‘Classic is looking right when you might be wrong.’ The graphics are bold and modern and several typefaces are employed. I would first rewrite the copy to reflect a more chic and sophisticated definition of the term, ‘classic,’ that wouldn’t insult the intelligence of today’s modern woman. I would then employ different graphics that had a cleaner and simpler design point of view.”
Avi Dan, executive vice president, director of new business development at Saatchi & Saatchi: “My dream account would be to have a great retail store like The Limited. We don’t have to change anything since they don’t advertise. We’d have to create something for them. I think that what we’d do for them is give them a sense of branding. You need a traffic-building program and image enhancement. We’d concentrate on creating an entertainment type of environment. We’d provide a contemporary environment and focus on the product and make the promise that while you’re in the store, you’ll have a good time. That would elevate the whole shopping experience.”
Ed Taussig, group creative director, Grey Advertising: “Believe it or not, what I would most like to see changed and made relevant is Yves Saint Laurent. There’s an enormous history there that’s never quite been tapped into. He’s the closest thing we have to one of the great couturiers still working. They’re generally stuck with promoting the latest image. He’s one of the few houses that has an enormous amount of creativity. I don’t think anybody has actually mined that continuity. I might try to become archival and unearth great dominant images in the period they were taken and bring them up to date and make the continuity relevant.”

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