Advertising, marketing, and branding


Advertising, marketing, and branding
Fashion advertising and marketing, it could be argued, dates back to ancient Mesopotamia when wall carvings and drinking vessels served as "advertisements" for the fashion of the times. Later, paintings of aristocrats in fashionable dress provided inspirational fashion images for the commoners. The first French fashion magazine, Mercure Galant, published in 1672, helped promote French fashion throughout Europe and the New World. The power of advertising and marketing would not be fully realized until the 1980s, when a plethora of vehicles such as fashion magazines, billboards, catalogs, newspapers, direct mail, television, radio, and the Internet could be maximized. As baby boomers matured, they rebelled against "fashion dictation." Designers sought alternatives to help sell merchandise. The first successful concepts were designer labels, selling status, and branding, targeted to the masses. Blue-blooded American Gloria Vanderbilt was the first to lend her name to a Hong Kong-based jeans company, Mur-jani, and thus began the designer jean craze of the 1980s. American Calvin Klein was one of the first designers to successfully utilize the media to drive sales behind his name and to understand the globalization of world markets. His seductive marketing campaigns—beginning with Brook Shields modeling his jeans and later with his controversial "heroin chic" advertisements—opened a whole new avenue for designers to utilize and promote their designs. Other companies followed with controversial ads, such as those from Benetton and "quirky message" ads from Kenneth Cole.
Ralph Lauren pioneered the "status dressing" concept for the masses and he marketed it with the consumer's "need to belong." Beginning with his name change from Ralph Lifshitz to Ralph Lauren, he finely tuned his product-marketing strategy by combining English aristocracy and "old money" with "American classics." He invented, packaged, and successfully sold the concept of lifestyle-dressing and it didn't take long for others to follow. Tommy Hilfiger jumped on board and before long, classic merchandise became "fashion," and with that came "commod-itization." Consumers in the 1990s were no longer seeking a designer's view of fashion; they wanted affordable, casual clothing and were happy to make their own style decisions. Fashion sales and promotion moved from the hands of designers to businessmen, who sought to reap greater returns on their investments.
The designer-market consumer, on the other hand, was still a slave to status dressing and logo-mania. Luxury-brand merchandise thrived throughout the late 1990s and well into the 2000s. Image marketing, popularized in the 1990s by designers Donna Karan, Ralph Lauren, and Calvin Klein, created advertising where the clothes were secondary to the image being conveyed. Karan's ads, featuring the New York skyline and the Brooklyn Bridge with her name at the bottom, evoked the persona of a chic city woman—a vision of the customer that Karan was targeting. Eventually, fashion promotion moved from the hands of designers to advertising agencies and corporate businesspeople who sought to reap greater returns on their investments as companies went public. Deluxe labels from old established companies, beginning with Chanel in the 1980s, were reinvented for the new marketplace. Today, companies such as Balenciaga, Hermès, Lanvin, Givenchy, Vuitton, Gucci, and Prada have been revitalized by hiring young design talent and by repositioning their brands with formidable image-promoting campaigns.
Following the formula of Ralph Lauren, today's designers are much more in sync with their target market and their customer's lifestyle needs. They design products geared toward lifestyle-dressing. While the creation of new trends is still an important factor in the fashion apparel business, manufacturers and retailers are also investing in sophisticated marketing strategies to target merchandise to their specific consumer. Time and exorbitant amounts of money are spent to build brand identity to ensure success in maximizing a particular designer's or icon's market potential.
Today, advertising drives the fashion industry in an effort to maximize both awareness and brand recognition, both key factors in generating maximum sales. Runway fashion shows, television, publications, catalogs, the Internet, and eponymous stores are all vehicles utilized to promote the "image of the brand." Designers license their names to companies' products to build their own brand name, often achieving celebrity superstar status as a result. Realizing that they were often targets of copyists, many designers have elected to license their name to lower-priced collections. Relationships between designers and megastores, such as Isaac Mizrahi and Target or Karl Lagerfeld and H&M, have become another opportunity for designers and retailers to better capitalize on a famous designer's name.
In addition, manufacturers have licensed or are in partnerships with famous celebrities in sports and music, as well as with actors and models, to generate sales and build megabrands. Examples in the music industry are Jennifer Lopez (Jlo), Sean John, Jessica Simpson, Gwen Stefani (L.A.M.B), Beyoncé (House of Deréon), Russell Simmons (Phat Farm), Jay-Z (Rocawear), 50 Cent (G-Unit), and Bono (Edun). Sports icons with clothing licensees include Tiger Woods, Venus Williams, Michael Jordan, and others. Actors have also lent their names to clothing and accessories lines, including Kathi Lee, Pamela Anderson, and Hilary Duff.

Historical Dictionary of the Fashion Industry. .

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