Old Navy direct mail gets more colorful with tote-bag promotion

Posted on Fri Apr 2 2010


Is it just me or are direct-mail marketing promotions getting more creative (and more colorful)? In the recent past, I've received Victoria's Secret coupons in the shape of (pardon me) underwear, a catalog with a holographic cover, and this week, a bright-yellow Old Navy booklet telling me to "stuff" a tote bag and get 20 percent off everything inside. I can't quite pinpoint what exactly caught my attention: the four-page spread showcasing the retailer's eco-friendly totes, the cartoon bee that proclaims "I ♥ Stuff & Save," or an enclosed sticker that reads, "Note to self: Get 10% off at Old Navy with my tote from May-July!" Think about it ... Old Navy has gotten so sneaky, it's including stickers that you can paste on your fridge, bathroom mirror or wallet—anything that will get you to shop at its stores. 

—Posted by Elena Malykhina

Puma and Droga5 promise a more playful breed of mobile phone

Posted on Thu Mar 25 2010


Fashion sure has evolved. It's not enough to wear the latest sneakers or sunglasses anymore. Cell phones have become a fashion statement, too. There's the Lamborghini phone, the Prada phone and now the Puma phone. The latter is expected to launch in 10 days, according to PumaPhone.com, which houses an interactive slideshow and informational videos on the device. Puma claims it has created the "first mobile phone dedicated to encouraging an active life outside of the phone." According to the apparel company, its phone will use the latest 3G cellular technology, but also have a "playful" side, featuring applications like "icon messaging, sarcastic calculator, scratching turntable [and] easy peasy video calls." Droga5, the agency behind the Puma-phone campaign, says more than 500,000 units have been pre-ordered. Doesn't seem like a bad start, considering the overly crowded mobile phone market.

—Posted by Elena Malykhina

Adidas takes its big celebrity-filled house party out into the street

Posted on Thu Mar 18 2010

Adidas's house party is continuing. The brand's earlier star-studded video, released in November 2008, has gotten worldwide attention, not to mention a Simpsons parody. Now, agency Sid Lee has moved the party out into the street, but some things remain the same. David Beckham is still there, though he looks a bit more hirsute this time, and DJ Pilooski is still spinning the tunes, though this time he's playing his rendition of Dee Edwards's "Can't There Be Love" (and no, there's nothing wrong with your YouTube feed, that's the way the song goes). Snoop Dogg is a new addition, as are Noel Gallagher of Oasis and lots of people I'm too old to recognize. Once again, it's a fine piece of advertising, making Adidas's Originals line seem both of-the-moment and retro, athletic and leisurely.

—Posted by Todd Wasserman

Shaun White towers over New York with pre-Olympics Target ads

Posted on Tue Jan 19 2010


There are bears and giant bunny creatures in Canada, and they ski and play hockey! Not really. It's just a bit of whimsy from Shaun White, his longtime corporate sponsor, Target, and his design-savvy brother, Jesse, in the form of a Times Square billboard campaign. See a close-up here. The White brothers, who've been flexing their creative muscles with the Shaun White 4 Target clothing line, helped design the nine billboards that give Shaun a good-luck sendoff for the Olympic Games. The ads went up a few days ago and will change as the competition gets closer. The Flying Tomato, already an Olympic gold medalist and one of the most decorated snowboarders in the world, is expected to have another good year (and unless someone thinks of a new nickname, he's stuck with that endearing but slightly played-out one). He may loom as large over the Vancouver halfpipe as he does in cartoon form over midtown Manhattan. At Target, his latest line of boys' and young men's clothing just launched with some Olympics-related pieces. The Games air Feb. 12-28 on NBC.

—Posted by T.L. Stanley

A Gap store goes head over heels (literally) for rewards program

Posted on Tue Nov 17 2009

Gap has turned the shopping experience in one store in Vancouver, British Columbia, upside down. Literally. To promote the launch of its Sprize rewards program, the retailer flipped store signage, mannequins and the Gap store logo, and hired performers to walk on their hands outside the Robson Street location. The transformation took place overnight, puzzling and intriguing passersby—enough to have them visit the store to learn about Sprize. The rewards program, which is currently open to Canadian residents, credits shoppers with the difference for merchandise they purchased if it goes on sale later. A retailer that will automatically reimburse you? That is a pretty upside down concept.

—Posted by Elena Malykhina

Just about any gift will be preferable to that totally crap jumper

Posted on Tue Oct 27 2009

I don't know about you, but at this point in my life, I'm not a huge fan of the ritual of opening presents. Particularly clothing. Even if you genuinely like the gift, there's always a certain amount of acting involved as you try to convince the giver that yes, you really like this, and in fact you are dying to put it on right now. A clever campaign in the U.K. plays on this idea with videos of people receiving "crap jumpers" (translation: ugly sweaters). A Web site ostensibly campaigns to keep crap jumpers in circulation, but it's actually a plug for gift cards from a company called Bonusbond. "Real crap jumpers are a dying breed and we need to save them," reads the Web site. "Too many people, instead of being given dodgy knitwear, are being given Bonusbond gift vouchers. So what if you can spend a Bonusbond gift voucher in over 25,000 retail stores?" While you're on the site, check out the gallery of hideous jumpers.

—Posted by Todd Wasserman

Hamilton Shirts doesn't always go for the emaciated model type

Posted on Tue Oct 13 2009


Even with the era of "heroin chic" left in the dust of the 1990s, it's still de rigeur for an apparel brand to book a card-carrying Beautiful Person to wear its clothes for an advertisement. (Never mind that the model is usually half naked anyhow.) So, kudos to Houston-based Hamilton Shirts for leaving that tradition under the tires. The model in this promotional piece, recently mailed out to announce the launch of the company's new 1883 collection, may lack Xavier Carrar's chiseled jawline (and his 30-inch waistline) and Jamie Dornan's pecs, but who cares? This dude—R.H. Hancock is the name, son—has something none of the pretty boys can hope for: authenticity. "We were looking for a real customer," says Hamilton's owner David Hamilton. "Hancock was a rice farmer, and a customer of ours in the 1950s." (On the larger image here, you'll notice the monogrammed initials—they appear below the shoulder because Texas rice farmers used to work with their sleeves rolled up to the elbow.) The lesson: Brand differentiation wears many faces, and sometimes it takes an XXL.

—Posted by Robert Klara

Champion, Duofold to outfit Canadian climber for Mount Everest

Posted on Thu Sep 24 2009


Hanesbrands Inc. wants to prove to consumers that its performance apparel can withstand marketing claims. The apparel maker is running a campaign for its Champion and Duofold brands that has Canadian mountaineer Jamie Clarke climbing Mount Everest in its gear. (We hope that Clarke can withstand the cold and extreme terrain when attempting his feat next spring. He is a "three time Mount Everest explorer," so he probably can.) In January, Hanesbrand will debut a new "summit suit," which the company says "will keep Clarke warm and mobile in the high winds and severe cold" during his journey. Hanesbrands has also launched a Web site, ClimbEverestWithUs.com, for those who wish to watch (and follow). Visitors can "declare their own personal Everest" for a chance to win $10,000. With that kind of cash, you don't need to climb the world's highest mountain to be on cloud nine.

—Posted by Elaine Wong

Puma does its part by getting people to strip when the Dow tanks

Posted on Mon Sep 14 2009

Hey, naysayers, here's one positive thing to come out of the recession: the Puma Index. As this video from the Droga5 shows, when the market goes down, Puma will brighten your day by having a model (male or female) remove some of his or her clothes at TheIndex.Puma.com or on the companion iPhone app. Of course, when the market goes up, they start putting the clothes back on. The models don't appear to go all the way, and since the market's actually been mostly on the rise this year, you may see more bundling up than you'd like. But maybe if those businessmen had this app in 1929, they wouldn't have been so quick to leap out of their office windows.

—Posted by Todd Wasserman

If you want eyes on your butt, pick up some Winkers pants today

Posted on Tue Aug 25 2009

In this amateurish video for so-called "Winkers" pants, people walk for ridiculously long periods of time in front of a camera so the viewer can see the designs on their pants "wink." As the models move (to what sounds like the soundtrack from an '80s exercise video set in space), the fabric underneath their butt cheeks wrinkles and expands. This creates the illusion that painted-on eyes, or other well-placed images, are moving. Winkers come in five styles, ranging from what look like the majestic peepers of a genie to a couple of talkative ducks. My favorite: a Hollywood clapperboard with the word "Action" at the crease, mostly because it's begging for a crass joke. You can even order your own design, although "not all requests can be accommodated," according to the Web site. The video clocks in at over three and a half minutes, more than long enough to burn the images into my memory forever. I'll be seeing that brown owl in my nightmares.

—Posted by Elana Glowatz



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