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NEW YORK — What does Hugh Hefner have in common with Fat Joe?

This story first appeared in the January 22, 2004 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

The original playboy and the megastar rapper both appear, along with many other personalities, in Ecko Unlimited’s spring campaign titled “Dreamnasium II.” The new print ads are a continuation of fall’s campaign, with a slightly new twist and a bit more money for spending on pages.

According to Matt Fontana, senior vice president of global brands for Marc Ecko Enterprises, the company will spend about $3 million on placements for the new ads in magazines such as Teen People, YM and ElleGirl.

“Dreamnasium II” reflects on the idea that over the years the American dream has become diluted. It is now merely an illusion, according to Ecko, a shadow of something that has been changed drastically by a host of today’s cultural conventions: fame, fortune, beauty and freedom. Through illustration, the campaign deflates these cultural conventions, ultimately tearing down the illusion in order to bring back the dream.

Visually, the campaign is accomplished by representing the cultural conventions with a series of flat cutouts. In contrast, represented by its celebrity heroes, Ecko Unlimited and its values are the only featured elements with dimension and depth, and by extension is presented as a more desirable vision of the American dream.

“As a company that was born from a dream and nurtured in the spirit of creativity and rebellion, Ecko Unlimited celebrates the core values of the American dream while critiquing the conventional methods of attaining it,” said designer Marc Ecko.

Beginning next month and running through July, the ads will appear in more than 20 publications. The company is also trying something new, as it will place ads in Mac Addict magazine, a publication targeted at young adults looking to pursue a career in desktop design.

“We really wanted to reach out to that creative, computing customer,” Fontana said. “In our office, we look at it a lot and see it as a great tool for design, which is something we pride ourselves on.”