In Hispanic Effort, Old Navy Backs Online Mini-Novela "Stolen Styles"

Fashion Melodrama Is Produced by Telemundo From Concept by AKQA

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In an effort to attract the attention of Hispanic shoppers, Old Navy is backing a six-part online mini-novela in which fashion plays an integral part. Called "Stolen Styles" ("Estilos Robados"), the title hints at rivals' efforts to steal the spotlight from the fashionable but spoiled protagonist Isabella, who plays a novela star.

'Estilos Robados' star Isabella
'Estilos Robados' star Isabella

Starting Oct. 14, each weekly episode lasts just under five minutes, and ends with a choice between two outfits for Isabella to wear in the following episode after viewers text their votes for her next look. Old Navy's digital agency, AKQA, created the concept and developed the technology, and NBC Universal-owned Spanish-language network Telemundo produced the online novela and is promoting it.

In the first episode, called "Tears, Lust, Sequins" (It sounds better, or at least more alliterative, in Spanish: "Lagrimas, Lujuria, Lentejuelas"), Isabella, clad in a long, figure-hugging red dress, flaunts her handsome actor boyfriend in front of a TV reporter. Behind closed doors, it turns out that her real, secret love is a penniless chauffeur. Worse, another actress has won the next novela role that Isabella covets. Her plan: storm into the executives' office and change their minds—as soon as viewers pick her next outfit designed to impress.

"We filmed multiple versions of different episodes," said Deborah Yeh, VP of marketing at Old Navy. "There are a couple instances where the clothes influence how Isabella is going to make some decisions. She can choose to react positively to a situation, with clothes that are more angelic, or respond negatively and look mischievous."

Each online episode ends with the words "In the style of Old Navy, produced by Telemundo." In addition to Isabella's outfits, a variety of other Old Navy clothes are pictured at the end of each episode, with price tags and a 25% discount coupon, although shoppers can't click to buy and have to go to the store. Fashion-loving Isabella's whole wardrobe is from Old Navy, but the retailer isn't mentioned in the script.

"And there are no scenes in an Old Navy store," Ms. Yeh said.

Ads for "Estilos Robados" are running on Telemundo's TV network, website and mobile site to drive viewers to watch the episodes, which can be seen on the 'Estilos Robados' tab within Old Navy's Facebook page and on Old Navy's Spanish YouTube channel as well as Telemundo's mobile site. In addition, Old Navy is distributing flyers for two weeks at more than 100 Old Navy stores in heavily Hispanic areas, and is using digital billboards in Miami.

The company doesn't work with a Hispanic ad agency, and has used its general market shop, CP&B, for Spanish-language work for the last three years, Ms. Yeh said.

Old Navy started posting in Spanish on Facebook last year, and has been stepping up its Hispanic effort in traditional media, too. All Old Navy's radio spots are produced in Spanish as well as English, and ten Hispanic-targeted TV spots have been produced this year, Ms. Yeh said. Print ads started in the summer and a September campaign ran only in Hispanic-focused titles. The company also hired a Puerto Rican fashion expert, Yanira Garza, as a spokesperson and distributes a Hispanic version of its circulars in top Latino markets.

"Hispanic shoppers account for about 12% of apparel sales, and Old Navy's share is north of that ," Ms. Yeh said.

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