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NEW YORK — Jones New York has tapped a couple of new moms to deliver its message this year.

This story first appeared in the January 14, 2004 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

The difference between the average Jones New York customer, many of whom are mothers themselves, and these spokesmoms, though, is that Claudia Schiffer and Brooke Shields bring with them a certain cachet.

Looking out from the pages of fashion magazines beginning in March, Schiffer will be face of the new Jones New York Signature brand, and Shields will grace ads for Jones New York Collection. Each model has signed on for one year.

Along with Jones New York Sport, the brands represent the core of Jones Apparel Group’s business.

“The Jones New York brand is in a healthy position for growth,” said Stacy Lastrina, who oversees the presentation of the brands as senior vice president of corporate marketing.

Jones is reliant on the elasticity of the Jones New York name as it launches the Signature better brand under the umbrella. Set to hit store floors for spring, Signature will help fill the revenue void left by the departure of the Lauren by Ralph Lauren better line, which Jones produced until walking away from the license in June in a litigious dispute with Polo Ralph Lauren Corp.

With the new brand, Jones is also looking to boost consumer loyalty by providing one-stop shopping and encouraging a stronger emotional connection with the consumer. The casual lifestyle brand should also balance the more career-oriented Collection business and help the firm cover its bases should fashion trends shift.

Signature is expected to bring in sales of at least $200 million in 2004 and will launch in more than 800 department stores and 300 specialty units. Accordingly, the brand is getting a splashy fashion magazine introduction in March, including 10 ad pages in Vogue and cover gatefolds in Elle and InStyle.

For the launch, Lastrina was “looking for a fresh face, but a face that would be recognized.” While Schiffer has certainly seen her share of ad campaigns, among them Guess and Versace, the model has not been ubiquitous in the field for some time, which makes her desirable, said Lastrina.

Schiffer also meshes well with the Jones New York customer profile. “Hands down, she is the right age (33) and family position,” said Lastrina, adding, “She has a new baby.” Lastrina also categorized Schiffer as a “classic” and “timeless beauty” who is an “established, amazing icon.”

The ads, which include a floral watercolor theme, will be accompanied by other marketing initiatives that draw on some of the same motifs, such as in-store events with watercolor artists and signature analysis, as well as a gift-with-purchase program.

Jones is also employing a seeding initiative, through which it reaches out, via e-mail and direct mailings, to 500 influential women dubbed “mavens,” in top markets in hopes of tapping the powerful peer component that is so influential in apparel choices.

For the more established Jones New York Collection, Lastrina referred to Shields as “an icon of classic American style,” with a personality and look the Jones target customer has repeatedly cited in focus groups.

Lastrina said Shields resonates with the Jones customer because she balances so much, including motherhood, and acting and modeling careers.

“She balances it all with a little sense of humor and imperfection,” Lastrina said. “She has the air of a real person, a perfect example of how to [balance life] with grace and humor.”

For Collection, the ads, which will run in titles such as Vogue and InStyle, will all be two-page spreads. “Collection is shot in a more dramatic creative format from past ads,” said Lastrina.

Raul Martinez, chief executive officer and executive creative director of AR, which worked on the ads, said, “The spread was the most impactful and most direct at keeping the brand very much present and very important. We didn’t want Collection to be lost. It’s still an amazing brand.”

There will also be other Collection marketing initiatives, such as a six-market tour in both the spring and fall with TV style expert Lloyd Boston.

Martinez said of Schiffer and Shields, “Both of them are perfect personifications of the lines. Both of them are very much in the consumers’ minds when it comes to the recognition they bring to the table.”

The casual Sport brand will be supported with in-store graphics and retailer-specific advertising. Lastrina stressed the broad-based nature of Jones’ overall marketing approach.

“It’s not just about Brooke Shields and Claudia Schiffer, and ads in Vogue and Elle,” she said. “Consumers more than ever before…have a much different level of perspective.”

It has also become even more important to get and hold the consumer’s attention. “There’s an overabundance of brand choices out there today,” Lastrina said.

The solution in a sea of brands is to stay relevant and consistent, and that is just what Jones is hoping to do with addition of Signature.

“We all see that offering them more end uses with a brand they have a relationship with can simplify the shopping experience,” she added.