Naturalizer takes sexy step forward

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Brown Shoe Co.'s Naturalizer, a 75-year-old brand whose marketing long appeared to target women of about that same age, wants to shake up its stodgy image with a sexy spring campaign from the creative director behind Abercrombie & Fitch's ads.

In print ads and in a catalog, Naturalizer portrays women in provocative positions shod in the company's updated footwear line. In one, a man who appears to be standing naked in a hot tub lays his head in the bosom and lap of a woman lying alongside-who is wearing loafers. Women in the ads appear to be in their mid to late 30s or early 40s; the men look younger. The black-and-white ads will run in March issues of several magazines.

"We want a new customer," said Sam Shahid, president-creative director Shahid & Co., New York, who worked on the campaign and is best known for his provocative ads and catalogs for Abercrombie & Fitch.

Naturalizer has already made some progress. In the late 1990s the brand's average customer was age 62; last year the average age for a Naturalizer shoe was the mid-40s.

Naturalizer spent $1 million on advertising for the first 11 months of last year.

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