LG Mobile Enlists Rachel Zoe to Target Young Females for Marquee Phone

Stylists' Hubby Says Tie-Ins with Hotels, Auto Could Be Next

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LG Mobile has hooked up with stylist Rachel Zoe to launch its newest phone -- dubbed the "Marquee"-- as the company sets its sights on attracting young female consumers.

The crux of the initiative is an LG Mobile-sponsored web series dubbed "Style Rules." The series will feature a competition in which Ms. Zoe tasks style bloggers with creating looks tied to the Android smartphone's brand: "Thin, Light and Bright." The phone product, which Ms. Zoe will use to communicate with the contestants, launches Oct. 2, and beginning today, six webisodes will air on sites across the Alloy Digital Network once a week through November.

"We're targeting a younger female audience and we're calling it the stylish phone," said Erica Molina-Cortez, senior digital manager for LG Mobile. "Naturally, Rachel Zoe is almost a perfect plug-in for us. We wanted to leverage her style and social-media stature and that 's also why we're doing it in a digital media environment."

Rachel Zoe
Rachel Zoe

Smartphone marketing in the U.S. has seen a recent surge this year, with LG competitor Samsung installing new North American marketing leadership. Nokia, another foreign handset manufacturer, has set North America as a priority, following the runaway success of Android handsets and, of course, Apple's iPhone.

LG's latest campaign strategy is part of its overall strategy to become a more lifestyle-oriented brand. In an interview last year, LG CMO Kwan Sup Lee told Ad Age : "Our strategy is to portray our product portfolio as a strength -- not as hardware manufacturers, but as a lifestyle company, and we have many household devices and home electronics and personal-communication devices that are lifestyle devices. LG is talking about "Life's Good," freedom and infinite possibilities -- all those kind of emotional attributes -- for a broad range of products."

The LG deal marks another extension of the increasingly visible Rachel Zoe brand, an endeavor overseen by Ms. Zoe herself as chief creative officer and husband Rodger Berman, who serves as CEO. Ms. Zoe is in her fourth season of Bravo reality show "The Rachel Zoe Project," and her endorsements and brand tie-ins include Bing, Piperlime and lipstick line Exude. She also recently launched her own clothing line.

Phones are a bit out of her comfort zone, compared to her normal arenas: fashion and makeup. When asked why LG is a good fit for his wife's brand, Mr. Berman drew a comparison to Apple's role in elevating design's influence on purchasing. "We look at ourselves as transcending fashion. We do beauty, home, we can do a partnership with a hotel, with an automobile. We're about good design and taste and glamour and see ourselves going across many different spectrums.

The group is also set to launch two new verticals by Oct. 9: a beauty newsletter called Zoe Beautiful and an accessory platform called Accesszoeries.

Alloy, which produced the webisodes, is a linchpin in the partnership, with ties to Zoe Media Group and Mr. Berman. The company has also worked with LG on branded entertainment initiatives in the past.

The series will be broadcast through sites in the Alloy Digital Network with promotion including branded contextual editorial and video integrations featuring Ms. Zoe and her team of stylists, along with blogger and social-media outreach. LG Mobile will also advertise on Ms. Zoe's daily newsletter The Zoe Report and Zoe Media Group's RachelZoe.com.

Contributing: Kunur Patel

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