Get Lucky

Moviegoers in New York and Los Angeles witnessed a twisted tale of friendship last week. A 90-second spot created by Black Rocket for Condé Nast’s Lucky magazine reveals a bizarre love triangle between a woman, her husband and Cheryl, a mannequin.

It’s an unconventional story selling an unconventional product, a magazine exclusively devoted to shopping. Forget standard women’s magazine fare; Lucky revels in prices and purchase information.

Though limited in its release, the ménage à trois cinema ad, says publisher Alexandra Golinkin, is just one way for Lucky, which began publishing monthly in February, to distinguish itself in a crowded newsstand market. “Lucky is about breaking all the rules,” Golinkin says. “This commercial does that.”

Scenes of the woman and her special pal enjoying a day of shopping are paired with a cheery musical ode to friendship. The lovefest abruptly ends when the woman, distraught by her husband’s accusations that “Cheryl’s not real,” runs to her friend’s apartment, only to find her mate there, wearing only a towel.

Teary, she stumbles out into the night, lost in memories of good times the women once shared, then spies a newsstand selling Lucky. She clutches the magazine to her chest as a super reads: “Lucky magazine. Your new shopping friend.”

The $10 million campaign, which broke last month and includes TV, print and radio ads, is aimed at women 18-34. “Lucky needed to have a little bit of explanation,” says editor Kim France. “We couldn’t just throw it out on the newsstand and expect people to get it. It was a tall order.”

In the debut commercial, a woman browses through a rack of tops, each one brought to life by character voices and music. A polka-dotted top inspires valley-girl chatter, a studded leather top the crack of a whip.

When she picks one she likes, a heavenly choir is heard; the spot ends with the line, “Lucky. We understand completely.” A second ad shows a woman so excited about her purchase, she pulls her car over to change into her new outfit.

“The TV spots were dead on strategy,” says copywriter Dave Loew of the San Francisco shop. “They are fun spots. It’s the cake of the brand. The 90-second is the delicious icing to make it sweet, and give it a little extra personality.”

But will personality-plus be sufficient to carry Lucky through a recession? According to Martin Walker, a New York media consultant, “The economy is not so bad that people will stop spending money.” In fact, Lucky’s practical focus may prove to be its best defense. “If dollars are more carefully spent,” says Golinkin, “Lucky will help.”

“We made it about great buys,” says France. “It’s got silly splurges, stuff that is stylish and reasonably inexpensive. If we went for the high-end logo mania, it would sink us. It is a democratic magazine. Anybody can get lucky.”