By Judy Warner
BOSTON--In a break from tradition, Arnold Communications is undertaking a creative-only assignment for The Talbots in Hingham, Mass.
In general, Arnold has pursued full-service relationships with clients. Talbots, however, retained Arnold for a research-only project last fall. Now, based on the results of that research, Arnold has been asked to create a campaign to refashion the brand.
The assignment to Arnold will have no impact on Pro Media in Needham, Mass., Talbots long-time agency for media buying and placement.
Moreover, Arnold will work with Talbots' sizable in-house agency so that elements of the new campaign are incorporated into the retailer's various catalogs. 'What became clear to us from the research is we don't want to change who we are,' said Talbots representative Margery Brandfon. 'We need to change how we communicate what we are . . . and bring the concept of classic to life.'
The women's fashion retailer and catalog company tapped the Boston agency to find out more about Talbots shoppers and about the so-called 'Talbots woman.' According to the research, the typical Talbots consumer is an older woman with classic tastes. 'Comfort matters, and in terms of style, they buy clothes that make them look good and feel good,' Brandfon said.
Arnold will attempt to place the Talbots woman in situations and settings that will give her more personality, according to Fran Kelley, chief marketing officer at Arnold.
Heading up Arnold's creative team on the Talbots assignment is Kathy Kiely. Kristin Volk, the executive vice president who leads Arnold's Consumer Insights Group, spearheaded the research component.
'Arnold Communications developed a brand positioning that powerfully communicates where Talbots wants to go and what we mean to the consumer,' said Mary Pasciucco, senior vice president of catalog development and advertising at Talbots, in a statement.
Print ads will appear in fall fashion magazines. Elements of the campaign will be integrated into in-store and catalog work.
Talbots runs 555 stores in 44 states, Canada and the U.K. An estimated 80 percent of its sales is from retail; 20 percent results from the more than 50 million catalogs mailed each year. Talbots reported $1 billion in sales for the fiscal year that ended Feb. 1.
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