Under Walmart's watch, ModCloth debuts digital campaign

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ModCloth, the quirky ecommerce brand that gained a following with its spirit of eclectic individuality before its acquisition by Walmart last year, is trying to increase its awareness and brand perception with a new campaign. Beginning Monday, the digital push "Say It Louder" highlights a diverse group of female musicians.

"We have an awareness opportunity," says Mike Janover, VP of marketing who joined 16-year-old ModCloth two years ago. He noted that earlier this year, the brand surveyed its loyal and potential consumers and found that while ModCloth resonates with its image of inclusivity and approachability, it has more work to do around product details and messaging. To that end, Walmart's ownership can help bulk up the brand's marketing muscle with better photography, styling and campaigns, Janover says.

Since Walmart acquired ModCloth—for around $75 million, reportedly—last year, the ecommerce brand's marketing budget has increased by double-digit percentages, Janover says. Of course, the brand also lost some shoppers—many consumers criticized ModCloth, known for body diversity and no photoshop pledges, for selling out to a corporate giant not known for supporting independents.

"When we first went through the acquisition, there was a small cohort of customers aware of the association who self-selected out—I don't anticipate much of what we're doing in the past or future to change that," says Janover. "The acquisition has been fantastic from a marketing perspective because of the limitless supply of capital as we move forward, it allows us to have fun and grow."

The new campaign includes a 90-second spot featuring musicians such as rapper Lizzo and musician Kacy Hill speaking about the importance of originality, authenticity and self-love. The campaign will run on social channels and also have a print catalog. ModCloth's internal team worked with Observatory and Sadler & Brand on the push.

The company is also in the process of expanding its brick-and-mortar footprint; last week, it opened a shop in San Francisco where customers can try on and purchase clothes for a later delivery—similar to the "guideshop" model of Bonobos, which is also now owned by Walmart. ModCloth operates a similar store in Austin.

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