Byline: Wendy Hessen

NEW YORK — Hoping to further its transition to a younger and more of-the-moment company, Coach will launch in October its first new logo in 70 years and a new international advertising campaign, entitled “Living Legends.”
While past campaigns have centered around modern-day descendants of such notable figures as Albert Einstein, Jesse Owens and Mark Twain, the new campaign seeks to connect with more contemporary consumers.
The premise this time around is that the people shown with their Coach bags are stylish because of their substance and accomplishments. Regardless, the mix still includes a healthy dose of up-and-coming actors and models.
“Essentially, what we did was try to update our established position as an American legacy and at the same time suggest we have a new message: that we’re updating our product across all categories,” said Reed Krakoff, Coach’s senior vice president and executive creative director.
The people making their debut in October books are actress Milla Jovovich, architect Felicia Davis, SoHo arts pioneer Holly Solomon, actor Noah Wyle and model-cum-actor Johnny Zander. In subsequent months, model-turned-painter Veruschka, Oscar-winning documentary filmmaker Jessica Yu and MTV news correspondent Serena Altshul join the group, each shown clutching a Coach bag.
In Japan, actress Meg Ryan will be the exclusive face in the campaign.
Peter Lindberg shot the black-and-white portraits, which are “quietly fashionable,” according to Krakoff.
“The [portraits] are modern but not fashiony, and coupled with the new product and the new logo, have a contemporary and naturally evolved look,” he said.
The new logo features bolder, block lettering in a British tan color reflective of the firm’s focus on leather goods.
Capitalizing on customer diversity — something Krakoff learned a lot about at his former employer, Tommy Hilfiger, where he was senior vice president of marketing and design — is an element in the new campaign as well.
“What’s unique about Coach is our very diverse following. When we thought about casting [the campaign], we wanted to reflect that diversity,” Krakoff said. “The commonality is that they embody a youthfulness, a confidence and a sense of style. Since they’re almost always going to be run in three consecutive spreads, you’ll see three diverse people, but all have a relationship to Coach.”
For spring, Krakoff said the campaign’s concept will be the same, but with a totally different cast of characters.
The media plan is also a bit of a stretch for Coach.
“We have this wonderful foundation, but we’re at a time now where we really want to surprise people,” explained Krakoff, saying the idea was to add to the level of excitement by trying out some avenues typically reserved for edgier campaigns. People don’t expect to see Coach on bus and subway ads, outdoor advertising, postcard racks or wild postings, “all of which we’re doing in order to pique curiosity for the brand,” he said.
In October, 400 kiosk panels, 300 platform posters and 570 subway cars here will show various combinations of the still life or model ads, 8,000 wild postings and 50,000 rack cards will be displayed across New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Chicago. Coach has also taken a 27-foot billboard wall at 59th Street and Lexington Avenue here.
Although Krakoff said he was hard-pressed to put a price tag on the whole campaign, he did say the print portion of the fall/holiday campaign — magazines and newspapers — will cost roughly $4 million, a 50 percent hike over the fall/holiday period a year ago, according to Krakoff.
“Basically, we’re now looking at adding to just about any place we’ve ever been, in terms of size and, to some extent, frequency.”
Eight-page inserts will run for holiday in Elle, Vanity Fair, Vogue and In Style, with a spread in W and an inside cover gatefold in the New York Times Magazine. Regional books are part of the plan as well, with the same inserts running in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Boston Magazines, San Francisco Focus and Texas Monthly.

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