CLUB MONACO SPRINGS FORWARD

Byline: Anamaria Wilson

NEW YORK — Club Monaco is getting happy — and hoping the upbeat mood will help turn around its performance.
In its spring-summer advertising campaign, shot by Mario Testino and art directed by Fabien Baron of Baron & Baron, the Polo Ralph Lauren-owned company uses black-and-white photographs of British-born models Jacquetta Wheeler and James Penfold joyously hand-holding and on the run.
“The photographs convey a happy spirit, that’s the mood for spring, and the clothes reflect that,” said Caroline Dougherty, senior director of public relations and marketing for Club Monaco. “We wanted to project the fashion in a fun, clean and modern way, but we definitely wanted a joyful spirit to come across because shopping at Club Monaco is fun. Also it was key that our campaign conveyed that in an energetic way.” The cheerful angle the company was aiming for is evident in the movement and action of the images. This is a departure from past Club Monaco campaigns that were more static shots.
Club Monaco clearly could use more cheerful customers. The company has been struggling for the last six months. According to a report by Jennifer Black of Wells Fargo Securities regarding Polo’s third-quarter results, for the period ended Dec. 29, “Club Monaco’s results continue to be affected by the events of Sept. 11, especially since the stores in New York account for more than 30 percent of the chain’s sales.” She added that Club Monaco’s comparable-store sales declined by a high-single-digit percentage during the third quarter.
Historically, Club Monaco has emphasized classic pieces such as the black turtleneck and the white shirt. Along with those staples, however, the spring campaign took cues from the runway and features a white peasant blouse, a full knee-length skirt and a safari trench.
While the company spokeswoman declined to give a dollar figure for its advertising budget, she conceded that Club Monaco had increased it by 60 percent over last spring’s level.
Focusing on its key markets of New York and Toronto, the ads appear this month in The New York Times, Canadian newspapers the National Post and The Globe and Mail, a billboard at Houston and Broadway here and taxi tops and bus kings around the city.

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