Spending rises: Cole Haan fashions an effort for women

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Cole Haan is aggressively pushing its women's lineup of footwear, handbags and outwear as a major fashion label this fall with its first-ever women-targeted print campaign.

The effort, which marks an increase of more than $1 million to Cole Haan's roughly $2 million ad budget, is part of an ongoing growth initiative for the Nike unit, which began four years ago to re-energize through new product designs, new marketing and new management (including CEO Matt Rubel). The ad campaign, from Lloyd & Co., New York, veers from past lifestyle efforts by featuring straight-on model shots for the first time to "associate a face with a look of the brand and the products," said Bill Zeitz, VP-marketing for Cole Haan.

changing perception

"We wanted to speak to women in a way that we hadn't before," Mr. Zeitz said. Showing a head-to-toe look featuring Cole Haan's growing array of women's products is expected to help change people's perception of the brand, which began as a men's shoe outfitter.

According to Doug Lloyd, owner of Lloyd & Co., previous lifestyle campaigns evoked a "certain world to a certain crowd" through upscale cues such as cars or boats and showed no model's faces. Now, all is stripped away to focus on a model in a conscious effort to buoy the fashion end of the business, which has been performing well for the company.

The print effort includes larger-than-usual spreads in fashion titles including Harper's Bazaar and Vogue to "put the brand in a fashion context," Mr. Zeitz said. That will be buttressed by an outdoor effort in New York City phone kiosks and promotions throughout Cole Haan's retail stores and key retail partners such as Neiman Marcus. Cole Haan will also reach into its database to send customers mini versions of its catalog featuring the looks they're seeing in advertising.

Although Cole Haan's sales fall within a mere 8% of the $10 billion company's revenues dubbed "other brands," Mr. Zeitz said Nike recognizes the growth potential of the brand and is standing behind it to take it to the next level. One Wall Street apparel analyst noted that the deep pockets of Nike allow for a larger-than-expected influx of resources even toward the smaller parts of the business.

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