NEW YORK — Reacting to the mood of the nation, accessories firms are taking a decidedly soft and gentle approach to spring advertising. Messages this season emphasize family themes such as a mom grocery shopping with her child in a Kate Spade ad, and relaxing venues including a beach scene shown in Echo Design Group’s spring campaign.
Many firms also are taking a more simplified approach overall, with tableaus that emphasize one product and no more than one model.
Accessories and jewelry firms are among fashion’s largest marketers, and many key fashion magazines rely heavily on their advertisements. However, the luxury sector has been particularly battered in the last year, and some companies said their ad spending this spring is flat or slightly below last year, reflecting challenging economic conditions.
Some said they decided not to feature well-known personalities in their campaigns in order to focus on products and keep costs in check. Reed Krakoff, president and executive creative director at Coach Inc., said his company continues to build on its heritage as a true-blue American brand with a fashion twist.
“We have moved away from using celebrities,” he said. “We are really focusing more on product with ads that have clean, crisp colors. We want to convey the flavor of what we are about, which is updated American style.”
Krakoff, who has masterminded Coach’s shift from a classic handbag firm into a hip, publicly traded accessories company, said spring ads will encompass the breadth of Coach’s product offerings, which now includes watches, handbags, scarves, shoes and a limited amount of apparel.
At Echo, which is best known for its scarves, spring images include serene shots of a woman on a beach with an Echo scarf wrapped around her neck as well as some home images. Shot locally on the coast of the Long Island Sound, the ads feature the tag line: “Every Dream Has an Echo.”
“We feel there is a need for inspiration and positive messages,” said Lynn Roberts, Echo’s vice president of advertising. “People want to see hopeful themes now.”
Echo began print advertising again last spring after a 14-year absence, and the company has decided to continue it this year, she said.
Meanwhile, Verdura, the high-end jeweler that is often associated with the rich and famous, is taking a whimsical approach. The firm has advertisements that show real jewelry in sketches of real-life activities, such as earrings that are riding a trapeze and rings that are sitting in a rowboat, floating down a canal.
Verdura, which has stores on Madison Avenue here and in Palm Beach, has traditionally kept relatively quiet about its business, and this is only the second season it has advertised, according to Pam Eldridge, the company’s director of advertising.
“We are eager to make the public aware of our wearable jewelry that is accessible to all in our stores,” she said.
Ads for The Sak Elliot Luca, the handbag brand that has become more fashion forward in recent years, features simple graphics with close-up product and model shots this season.
Mark Talucci, president and co-founder of The Sak, said his firm’s campaign is a culmination of the brand’s evolution over the past two years.
“Our ads have a softer look with more close-up shots of the model and the products,” he said.
Talucci said his firm is advertising slightly less this spring than last year, and is focusing its marketing efforts in other areas, such as more direct mail to its customers and in partnerships with its retailers. “Mass media is not the only approach,” he noted.
Watch companies, one of fashion’s most bountiful advertisers, are also focusing on family and upbeat messages. Corum, the high-end Swiss brand, has photos of a pregnant woman and a little boy holding a watch for his mother in its new campaign.
“We are making our version of a lifestyle ad,” said Staci Orloff, president of Corum watches in the U.S. “This is a feminine touch for the brand, which we haven’t really had.”
Movado, meanwhile, continues to use well-known personalities in its campaign, such as tennis star Pete Sampras, musician Wynton Marsalis and classical violinist Sarah Chang.
Mary Leach, director of advertising and marketing for the Movado Group, said the campaign, which is dubbed “The Art of Time,” made its debut last year and the firm decided to continue using it this year.
“Our positioning as a very arts-and-culture-influenced brand is a great place for us to be,” she said. “There is a certain seriousness that customers relate to and it doesn’t feel frivolous.”