Models need not apply: Macy's casts broad range of women

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Another retailer is turning to real women to inspire purchases: Macy's new fall campaign, "Remarkable You," showcases a diverse set of six women going about their everyday lives.

"We're concentrating on casting women in our commercials who are more presentative of real women," says Rich Lennox, chief marketing officer of the department store chain. "We went out and found some extraordinary women."

The new push, which launches Sunday, includes Tiffiny Blacknell, a public defender, Mishaal Ashemimry, an aerospace engineer and Becky Hammon, a professional men's basketball assistant coach. A 60-second version of the spot, set to No Doubt's "Just a Girl," runs online, while 30-second versions air on TV through October.

Macy's is one of many brands, including J. Crew, American Eagle, Old Navy and Ulta Beauty diversifying its advertising imagery. Such work answers public demand for ad images that are more reflective of a broad range of consumers.

David Lubars, chief creative officer of BBDO Worldwide and chairman of BBDO North America, which worked on the push, says Macy's new campaign features role models "everyone could relate to or be inspired by." He notes that Macy's approach is to feature women of all shapes, sizes, ages and ethnicities. Macy's also worked with Publicis' Spark Foundry, which it named its media agency earlier this year following a review.

While Macy's has struggled in recent years to modernize and evolve for today's digital age, the marketer has seen some glimmers of hope. Last year, the company unveiled a new marketing strategy helmed by Lennox less focused on sales and more streamlined to "tentpole" events such as holiday and fall fashion. In the second quarter, Macy's net sales were flat at $5.6 billion compared with the year-earlier period, though net income was $164 million, compared with $108 million in the second quarter of 2017. The results exceeded analyst expectations.

Lennox notes that new spots, like a summer fashion push, have been resonating with consumers.

In 2017, Macy's spent $415.4 million on measured media in the U.S., according to Kantar Media.

The new work will also run on social media platforms and include an editorial integration with Hearst Magazines.

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