Talbots Pins Hopes on Ads: Arnold to Reposition Clothier in Major Print Effort

BOSTON-Looking to stem a two-year slide in sales, Talbots this week will unveil a national print campaign, the “largest and most comprehensive” effort in its 50-year history.
The Hingham, Mass.- based retail and catalog company is looking to restate its classic style, according to Talbots spokesperson Margie Brandfon.
The campaign, created by Arnold Communications, marks a return in focus for Talbots to its core customers, 35-55-year-old professional women, Brandfon said.
A disastrous change of focus earlier this year to more casual clothes targeting younger consumers caused Talbots’ sales and stock to slump. The company reported a 7.9 percent decrease in same-store sales in the five weeks ended July 5. At that time, Talbots chairman Arnold Zetcher said in published reports, “We went too far.” He also vowed to return to more classic styles for the fall.
In addition to print ads, the repositioning campaign includes redesigned packaging, direct mail executions and public relations.
Arnold creative director Kathy Kiely, working with copywriter Martha Shaw and art director Matt Rockett, oversaw development of the campaign, which was undertaken last spring when the Boston shop was hired to complete the assignment.
Talbots had originally contracted the agency for a research project. Arnold interviewed current and potential customers and 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.