Fallon Helps Reinvent Nordstrom’s Ad Strategy

Nordstrom will attempt to reinforce an upscale, fashion-oriented identity with its first-ever branding effort, a $40 million campaign from Fallon McElligott.
The Seattle retailer’s campaign, which will break Feb. 21 on national broadcast and cable networks, is the outgrowth of an 18-month “brand audit” Fallon and Nordstrom undertook after the Minneapolis agency won the account in March 1998. The company launched the study in an effort to grasp a solid image as it grew into a national retail chain.
“Our competitive landscape has dramatically changed,” said Linda Finn, Nordstrom’s vice president and marketing director. “There’s a danger of us being lumped in with traditional department stores, even though we’re a specialty store.”
The company is moving from its usual merchandise- and price-driven ads to a more emotional and passionate message backed by the tagline, “Reinvent yourself.”
One spot features a man in his 20s hitting on a middle-aged woman at a bar who is revealed to be his friend’s mother. “Re-invent the blush,” reads text at the end of the spot. In another spot, a caterer interrupts a wedding to claim he has just fallen in love with the bride. The accompanying text reads, “Re-invent first impressions.”
“When you take something like a stereotype and turn it on its ear, it becomes emancipating,” said Fallon group creative director Peter McHugh.
Print executions feature people in everyday situations with simple headlines. One shows a man casually working on a couch clad in an open shirt and shorts with the headline, “Re-invent the power suit.”
Ads promoting Nordstrom’s sales events will incorporate the “Reinvent yourself” theme, McHugh said. K