Lord & Taylor Needs Your Help Coming Up (with) Roses

lord and taylor rose bags.jpg

Submitted for your approval: A faltering department store, America’s oldest, stages an impressive comeback fueled by CEO smarts and private equity cash. They retool everything from the store fleet to the shopping bags, swapping out gray plastic sacks for sturdy new white ones that feel like they’re crafted out of watercolor paper. As for freshening up the identity, they get behind a marigold hue, dubbing it “‘sunrise,’ the extraordinary mixture of yellow and orange…adopted as [the store] reinvents itself for the 21st century.” Then they rustle up a heritage element–the rose logo introduced in the 1940s and phased out in the ’90s–and ready a rosy relaunch.

That store, of course, is Lord & Taylor, and on Tuesday, it will roll out the roses on store awnings, bags, signage, gift cards, and the like as part of the $10 million rebranding campaign led by David Lipman of branding and integrated advertising agency Lipman. But if the above sneak preview of the new new bags is any indication, a marigold-hued, rose-based identity design is tough to get right. Lord & Taylor seems to have recognized this, because the current scheme will last only until Memorial Day. After that, every spring will see a new rose campaign created by a different artist. The good news for you, dear reader? That artist could be you. (Read on for the contest details–an UnBeige exclusive!)

On April 1, Lord & Taylor will kick off a contest that challenges artists, designers, and photographers “to create the Rose that will adorn our bags, boxes and gift cards, direct mail as well as our legendary Fifth Avenue windows in the Spring Rose Campaign of 2009.” The winner also receives $10,000 in cash and his or her name in lights (or at least in the press). Lord & Taylor will choose the top 60 submissions for the first round, then post them online for public voting. The top 30 vote getters will advance to a second round of public voting, and the winner will be announced on July 2. Oh, and did we mention we’ve got the contest website a few days early? Good luck. You’ve got until May 26, so put on your rose-colored glasses. On second thought, go with the Ambervision ones.