Agency TBWA Chiat/Day, New York, which won the business in March, has created separate ad campaigns for the four brands, each of which will be backed by $4 million in print ads this fall.
LOST BRAND RECOGNITION
Van Heusen has had tremendous brand name recognition among consumers for many years, though its visibility diminished as competition increased and its ad spending levels dropped.
"Van Heusen was built by aggressively advertising the brand nationally in the '40s and '50s," said Mark Weber, vice chairman of Phillips-Van Heusen.
The company bought Bass in 1987, and the Izod and Gant brands in 1995.
In 1996, ad spending for all the brands was just $1.2 million, according to Competitive Media Reporting.
"The client had made significant changes . . . and realized that the missing link was marketing and advertising," said Mary Maroun, managing director at TBWA Chiat/Day.
"All along, all four brands had marketing plans to one degree or another," said Mr. Weber. "We made a conscious decision as a corporation-as we saw the potential earnings of the company-and invested in increased advertising.
"We agreed to spend at levels that consumers would see frequently. In order to prosper and grow these brands moving forward, we knew we had to advertise in a big way."
Mr. Weber said sales are healthy on all four brands and noted that Izod sales have doubled in each of the successive years since Phillips-Van Heusen has owned it.
"The focus of the corporation was really to invigorate the brands," said Henry Justus, director of advertising for Bass, Gant and Van Heusen.
"Each brand is [its] own company," said Ms. Maroun. "We've insured that none of the brands encroach on each other's territory."
Izod print ads, which bowed in October magazines including Men's Health, Wired, Details and Fast Company, plus outdoor advertising and the use of a blimp on the East Coast, have an edgy sensibility appealing to the youth market.
'BASS IS HERE'
Bass' campaign, launched in September issues of diverse titles such as Fortune, People and Vogue, also has a youthful appeal with colorful scrawl announcing "Bass is here" against b&w photography of scenes that evoke various lifestyles.
Ads for Van Heusen and Gant both bow in November titles. Gant will run eight-page inserts in Vanity Fair and GQ, and spreads in titles including Esquire, Forbes, Fortune and Maxim.
The Gant ads are racy, with copy such as "The only downside to female guests that stay for breakfast is they leave with your nicest shirts"; the tagline is "Great sex is definitely Gant."
A b&w photo on the left side of the spread ad features a young woman sitting in bed with white sheets covering her otherwise unclad body. The right side shows the copy line superimposed on a photo of a Gant shirt.
VAN HEUSEN WORK
The Van Heusen ads are product shots of various shirts, with copy tailored to fit either specific magazines or the audience being targeted.
For instance, in Sports Illustrated, the ads run in three consecutive right-hand page units. The copy on the first page reads, "Shirts for men who got the free sweatshirt when they subscribed." The second page reads "Shirts for men who got the swimsuit video when they subscribed" and the final ad reads, "Shirts for men who want to exchange the sweatshirt for the video."
Reviving an ad strategy it employed six years ago, Van Heusen also will advertise in three women's magazines-Cosmopolitan, Glamour and Vogue-to target women who buy clothing for the men in their lives.
Haggar Clothing Co. employed a similar strategy in its "Renovation" advertising,