SPRING EURO ADS: A SAFE BET
Byline: Sara Gay Forden, Milan; Godfrey Deeny and Katherine Weisman, Paris
MILAN — Nadja’s still hot; nostalgia’s in the air, and hardly anyone’s experimenting with offbeat buys.
Spring is shaping up as a play-it-safe season in the ad game, as Europe’s top fashion houses slowly emerge from the economic doldrums.
In fact, many European firms are reporting stronger selling seasons this spring, and while ad budgets are still conservative, the lire and franc appear to be loosening up. With a few exceptions — Armani’s taking a spin on London’s Underground with Emporio and Louis Vuitton’s gone sailing — most of the money is going into traditional print vehicles.
Here, a spot check on spring plans from some of Europe’s biggest guns.
Giorgio Armani will reportedly boost his already “substantial advertising budget,” but company officials declined to divulge figures. The Armani campaign was shot once again by Peter Lindbergh, this time at Dry Lake, near Palmdale in California.
At Emporio Armani, the spring campaign is called “Cityscapes” and features different international locales, including New York, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Tokyo, Florence, Lisbon, Barcelona and Naples. The Emporio images, shot by eight photographers, will also appear in a portfolio in the Emporio Armani magazine and other selected publications.
And beginning Feb. 13 Emporio will advertise on 24 million London Underground tickets. This is part of a $150,000 campaign to coincide with the opening of the new Emporio Armani store on Bond Street. Emporio will also take all of the poster sites at the Knightsbridge and Covent Garden tube stations, near the other two London Emporios.
Moschino reported a 10 percent increase in its spring ad budget. The late designer was featured in the February ads, which include the slogan, “Moschino Forever.” The March image shows a male torso and tattooed arm with the same “Moschino Forever” slogan, holding a newborn baby. Both photos, which were in the Moschino archives, were taken by Stefano Pandini.
Dolce & Gabbana is going retro all the way, inspired by Joan Crawford and Anna Magnani. D&G’s take on these screen sirens? Isabella Rossellini, and new/old face Brooke Shields. “[Brooke’s] the eternal girl-next-door, the pretty baby of America, but she’s grown up now,” said Stefano Gabbana. The campaign was shot by Michel Comte.
Valentino is spending $3 million on his own version of “La Dolce Vita,” with Claudia Schiffer as the belle with the golden locks sloshing through the Trevi fountain. A special booklet with all of the campaign images, photographed by Arthur Elgort, will be published in March in Italian newsweekly L’Espresso and will also be sent to Valentino boutiques around the world for mailing to key customers.
Gianni Versace continues to explore fame, American-style. His current campaign — Madonna does Palm Beach — will be followed up with a tableware ad featuring Sly Stallone in the buff with Claudia Schiffer, shot by Richard Avedon.
Ferragamo boosted its ’95 budget after reporting double-digit sales increases in recent seasons. Although the house doesn’t release figures, the campaign is prominently placed with strategic magazines. The campaign will feature life-size images of Ferragamo bags and shoes. Giovanni Gastel shot the accessories and Walter Chin the apparel.
At Yves Saint Laurent, the house will run about 50 ad pages, unchanged from a year ago. Mario Testino shot Nadja Auermann, a first at the house, and rising star Chrystele St. Louis-Augustin for the spring campaign.
The YSL Rive Gauche campaign will mainly appear in fashion magazines, but also in shelter magazines like Britain’s The World of Interiors and France’s Maison & Jardin. The latest YSL Rive Gauche catalog features 14 photographs from the campaign, and the house has printed 30,000 copies, which will be distributed internationally through its retail stores.
YSL will also run a campaign in March on 530 bus shelters in Paris and its suburbs.
Mounir Moufarrige, president of Chloe and Karl Lagerfeld, said neither house is planning radical changes in advertising. “We are sticking with the same magazines, the ones we used before. They have a readership in line with our target audience,” Moufarrige said.
Moufarrige said that Lagerfeld’s fashion business “will inevitably be helped” by Elizabeth Arden’s continuing ad blitz for Lagerfeld’s latest scent, Sun Moon Stars.
Karl, meanwhile, continues to snap away.
At Chloe, the ads once again feature Linda Evangelista and were shot by the designer in his Paris townhouse.
Lagerfeld also photographed the Chanel ad campaign, starring Claudia Schiffer and Helena Christensen. Its budget is unchanged, according to Marie-Louise de Clermont-Tonnerre, Chanel’s communications director.
The Lagerfeld collection ads feature Nadja Auermann and were shot at Villa Noailles, designed by modernist architect Robert Mallet-Stevens.
Emanuel Ungaro, which brought in new blood with photographer Enrique Badulescu, also called in Marc Hispard to replace Manuela Pavesi for the Sola Donna bridge line. The house has printed 20,000 catalogs for each line.
“We’ve also upped the quality of our catalogs — better paper, stronger graphics,” said Ungaro president Carlo Valerio. Ungaro will buy about 50 ad pages this spring, essentially the same as a year ago. The pages will largely portray his Parallele line, “because it’s the line that really creates the “image”.
Louis Vuitton will devote a major effort this year to publicizing the Louis Vuitton Cup, the sailing competition currently under way on the waters off San Diego. “As this is the year of the Louis Vuitton Cup and America’s Cup, naturally we want to do everything we can to publicize the races and our involvement,” explained Jean-Marc Loubier, Vuitton’s director of marketing and communications. Vuitton has upped its budget for 1995, though Loubier declined to say how much. The house spends almost 4 percent of its annual sales — roughly $40 million — on advertising and sponsorship.
Vuitton is also continuing with its innovative “Unexpected since 1854” campaign featuring its suitcases and travel cases mounted on tin toys.
Celine has significantly upped its ad spending for the first half, but company officials declined to give precise figures. The company has embarked on an international print campaign featuring Karen Mulder and shot by Jean Daniel Lorieux.For the first time, Celine will do double-page inserts in numerous publications in France, Hong Kong, and the U.S., where the company is just beginning to grow.