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Filene's Basement Breaks First Ads in Two Years

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Filene's Basement, the discount clothier acquired last year by Value City, employs animation and a jazzy jingle in its first advertising in nearly two years.

The spring campaign, tagged "Because a great value never goes out of style," was created by an in-house team of illustrators and art directors. TV, radio and magazine executions are included in the blitz.

Broadcast ads will initially run in New England before expanding into other markets where Filene's has stores. Print ads are also running in the Southeast and Midwest. Spending was not disclosed.

"Basically, Filene's Basement is back," said John McKenny, director, advertising and marketing at Filene's Basement. "We produced a sophisticated piece aimed at consumers who want to buy designer clothes at good prices." Filene's has no future plans to hire an ad agency. "I've got quality people [to work on the ads]. We've got an edge with this commercial," McKenny said.

A 30-second TV spot features the song "Orange Colored Sky," written by former Tonight Show bandleader Milton Delugg and Willie Stein, and first recorded in 1950 by Nat King Cole. The lyrics have been re written for the spot and include the lines, "The basement's the place for value. If you're home or out on the town. Flash. Bam. Alakazzam. I never saw such styles. It's the greatest store around."

The target audience is highly educated, fashion-conscious women, aged 25-54, who are in a higher-than-average income bracket.

Print efforts will run in spring fashion issues of Boston Magazine, Chicago Magazine and Columbus Monthly.

The Woburn, Mass.-based company, now a division of Columbus, Ohio-based Value City, operates 20 stores in five markets: Boston, Chicago, Columbus, New York and Washington, D.C. The store sells mainly designer and brand-name merchandise at discount prices.

The chain's last ad push, fashioned by North Castle Partners, Stamford, Conn., in the late 1990s, used the tagline, "Can't beat the thrill."