David's Bridal to show same-sex couple in first TV ad

The brand is extending its marketing into the second quarter

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On the heels of its Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing late last year, David's Bridal is saying "I do" to more diversity in its marketing with its first ad featuring a same-sex couple. This week, the Conshohocken, Penn.-based retailer is debuting a campaign emphasizing non-traditional brides, such as female couples, or brides who are already mothers. The idea of "rewriting the rules" will help the brand communicate its offerings to all types of brides, according to Liz Crystal, who has been chief marketing officer at the brand for one year.

"We wanted to make sure this spot represented what we see from brides today," says Crystal, noting that in the past, ads have been more focused on the dresses and the store experience and less on the betrothed. "We value every type of bride."

David's Bridal is far from the first to promote a more inclusive look at relationships in its marketing. In 2015, marketers including Kohl's, Tiffany & Co. and Wells Fargo all featured same-sex couples in their work; more recently, Zales did so in 2016.

Businesses that cater to same-sex couples have seen a boost since 2015's U.S. Supreme Court decision to legalize it nationwide. Such weddings contributed about $1.6 billion to the national economy and $102 million to state and local tax revenue in the year following the June 2015 decision, according to a 2016 report from the Williams Institute on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Law and Public Policy, a think tank based at the UCLA School of Law.

David's Bridal could use any sales boost, after a November bankrutpcy protection filing that listed liabilities in excess of $500 million, according to reports. The brand is currently in a restructuring that will allow it to continue to operate. Traditional bridal retailers, like David's Bridal, have been challenged in recent years by direct-to-consumer wedding startups and new models; while older brands typically take months to deliver a dress, new brands, like BHLDN, which is owned by Urban Outfitters, will deliver in mere days.

David's Bridal's new campaign will appear in a series of 15-and 30-second TV spots, and shorter and longer digital videos. It will also run on social media and the radio. Like previous campaigns, the new work will appear during the all-crucial first-quarter period of "Bridal Christmas," when most brides are searching for gowns, but unlike previous years, David's Bridal will extend its media spend into the second quarter as well. Ultimately the chain, which spent $15 million on measured media in the U.S. in 2017 according to Kantar Media, will invest more in its marketing, Crystal says.

David's Bridal, which was founded in 1950, worked with agency Yard on the new push, a relationship that dates back to 2016.

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