Lands' End ads pitch 'ultimate direct merchant'

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Lands' End is looking to parlay its skills as a cataloger into a dominant e-commerce positioning.

The apparel marketer last week introduced a TV campaign from Biederman, Kelly, Krimstein & Partners, New York, estimated at more than $15 million to promote its Web sites. While many spots now feature Web addresses, the Lands' End ads promote the features of its Web site.

The campaign begins with two spots. One aimed at women shows a computer monitor changing shapes to illustrate a feature that lets users design a personal model on the computer to see how different clothes look on different body types. A second spot aimed at men touts the ability to select a dress shirt from hundreds of options.

A third spot in development will feature a tool to help women pick the perfect swimsuit. The campaign aims at college-educated consumers 35 to 54 years old. It will air on cable networks, including CNN and CNN Headline News. The effort also includes a magazine buy.


Spending was undisclosed; Lands' End spent $10.4 million on measured media in 1998, according to Competitive Media Reporting.

"This represents the single biggest dedicated campaign" Lands' End has produced, said Exec VP-Creative Director Lee Eisenberg, a longtime magazine editor who joined the company last month and oversees advertising, public relations, catalog design and production.

Mr. Eisenberg, 52, said new advertising efforts will emphasize the words "Direct Merchants" in the company's logo to "position us as the ultimate direct merchant in the digital age."

Lands' End earlier this year became one of the first clothing companies to release data for online sales. It reported fiscal year 1999 e-commerce sales of $61 million, up sharply from $18 million in the company's 1998 fiscal year. Overall, Lands' End sales totaled $1.37 billion for its 1999 fiscal year.


Lands' End noted its online stores' agility when it comes to adjusting highlighted merchandise. When this past winter proved warmer than usual, the site focused on lighter-weight clothing. Heavier outerwear was promoted during cold snaps. The company also recognizes that more than 40% of its operating expenses are related to catalog-production cost, making e-commerce transactions more profitable.

E-commerce creates "an immense cultural and technological sea change" that affects the way people shop, Mr. Eisenberg said.

Still, he added, "no one has ever said the Internet will make stores go away."

Copyright April 1999, Crain Communications Inc.

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