Bluefly CMO’s Entrance Follows Cable Ad Flap

NEW YORK Online clothing retailer has hired Brad Matson as its new CMO. The appointment comes on the heels of an ad campaign that has ruffled feathers at several cable networks that have asked Bluefly to edit some nudity out of a spot or refused to run it, calling the commercial indecent.

Matson, 48, who held vice president and senior vice president posts in the marketing department at relatively staid retailer Spiegel Catalogue from 1981 to 2003, began his post Tuesday. (Most recently, Matson led the marketing efforts of the Steppenwolf Theatre Co. in Chicago.) Matson will oversee all aspects of marketing and communications at Bluefly and will report directly to president and CEO Melissa Payner. Payner was previously president and CEO of Spiegel.

Matson said the company had been advertising online before the most recent campaign, by McCaffery Ratner Gottlieb & Lane in New York, broke this month. The TV spot shows a naked woman thrashing about in her closet looking for something to wear. It is the company’s first offline campaign in five years.

Lifetime banned the ad outright, while the Oxygen network, which carries a late night show called Talk Sex With Sue Johanson and an erotic TV series called Bliss, agreed to run a censored version after midnight. NBC will also run the censored version, which cuts out portions of the woman’s buttocks. Bravo will run the ad in all its unedited glory, a representative for Bluefly said.

“The ads are not about nudity, but rather about the emotions most women feel and can relate to upon looking at their wardrobe closet and realizing that there is nothing to wear,” Matson said through the rep. “And at that moment, we want them to think of Bluefly.”

A print ad shows the naked woman standing in front of her closetful of clothes deliberating. That ad broke in October issues of Lucky, Real Simple, Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar, according to the company’s Web site.

“All women shop and love to shop and we have to find the ones that are interested in finding luxury goods, so the challenge is where do we find those people,” said Matson. “I think Bluefly is an exceptional business model that is unique. It’s not just a separate retailer; it’s a different way of shopping. It’s about a merch more in season.”