By: Joe Nicholson

Largest Newspaper Buy Ever For Fashion Merchandiser

Talbots, the Hingham, Mass.-based retail chain, made its biggest newspaper buy ever with an Oct. 27 branding campaign of full-page, color ads in 228 dailies. In addition, the group plans to announce a Dec. 26 clearance sale with ads in at least 50 dailies.

Talbots, whose 678 stores in 46 states specialize in women’s apparel, shoes, and accessories, has been increasing newspaper advertising as part of an expanded multimedia branding campaign and a strategy for opening several hundred more stores over the next several years.

The branding ad also will appear in USA Today on both Oct. 27 and Nov. 7, Election Day. The ad shows a mother at a polling booth with her daughter, and says: “Clothes designed for models … Role Models.”

Talbots’ branding campaign includes newspapers because “they are very well-read by our customers,” mostly women 35 to 55, said spokeswoman Marjorie Myers. Talbots traditionally has used newspaper ads for sales promotions. “In 1997, we started looking at our advertising in a new way … to support the key merchandise theme of the season,” said Myers.

The image campaign reflects Talbots’ “long-term commitment to building the Talbots brand,” said Arnold B. Zetcher, its CEO, chairman, and president.

Talbots’ post-Christmas clearance sale, one of its four standard yearly sales, is expected to go forward even though the chain anticipates strong holiday sales.

Arnold Worldwide of Boston handles Talbots’ branding campaign. Francis J. Kelly III, agency president and chief operating officer, said Zetcher “ran Talbots for many years very successfully, but four years ago his business was slowing down. He knew he had some problems, and he felt that building a more contemporary brand image was going to be an important component of turning his business around.

“As branding has proven effective,” Kelly said, “[Zetcher] has gradually increased spending.”

Joe Nicholson ( is an associate editor for E&P.

Copyright 2000, Editor & Publisher.

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