Reality check, Liz Claiborne scraps the fantasy

When Altschiller Reitzfeld won the Liz Clairborne account in 1987, sales were booming at around $1.5 billion. And the nation was already awash with “Lizzies,” the faithful women who exclusively buy the Liz label. But the 17-year-old iashion house, which thus far had relied on department store co-op advertising, had made little headway in the fragrance market. First off, Altschiller Reitzield (which had handled such clients as Diane Von Furstenberg and Revlon) relaunched the languishing, one-year-old Liz Claiborne scent, aimed at young women in their teens and 20s. It soon became department stores’ No. 1 bestseller. So in 1990, Claiborne tried again with Realities, this time looking to capture an older market eager to return to traditional values. “We did research that showed women felt hyped by and resentful of the typical fantasy-based ads,” says David Altschiller, the agency’s ceo.
Annie Leibovitz shot the “Reality Is the Best Fantasy of All” campaign, a series of average-looking women in everyday settings, to widespread applause. “Women gelt grateful for being made to feel of value as themselves, instead of as a sex symbol,” says Altschiller.
This fall, Claiborne introduced Vivid, aimed at an older, more sophisticated audience. And Altschiller hints that yet another scent might be in the offing: “The key is to tap into the mindset of women at a certain moment in time.”
Copyright Adweek L.P. (1993)