Clifford & Wills Stages Comeback

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Clifford & Wills is conducting an aggressive mailing campaign with a revamped catalog as a result of its late February purchase by Spiegel Catalog Inc., Downers Grove, IL.


About eight of the 12 spring drops have been completed, said Spiegel's Stephan Elsner, director of marketing for the Clifford & Wills catalog. Initial mailings in early March kicked off the spring season.


Spiegel does not release specific circulation information, but Elsner confirmed that the book has been mailed to the Clifford & Wills house file as well as to prospects.


"We at Spiegel are able to provide the Clifford & Wills customer with a new and expanded offer compared to what was available in the past," said Christian Feuer, vice president of marketing and advertising production at Spiegel.


The aim has been to broaden the customer base while retaining the feel of the catalog as much as possible, he said.


The expanded product line isn't the only change to Clifford & Wills. A branded charge card and deferred billing are also available for the first time, and a home decor catalog also has dropped. It is unknown whether Clifford & Wills Home will remain separate or will be incorporated into the core book, Feuer said.


Despite the large amount of crossover merchandise from Spiegel to Clifford & Wills, Feuer maintained that they are separate titles with separate customer files.


Based on overall response, Feuer characterized the new book as a success. He expects mailers using the old Clifford & Wills list will have continued success with the new names.


Several brokers, who did not wish to be named, have advised their clients to treat the new names as a test. There is a general feeling that the new catalog looks remarkably similar to Spiegel's catalog and that the buyer profile may change. Brokers agree that testing is the only way their mailers can make a determination about the continued use of the list. They also advocate retesting by mailers that had not been using the file.


"There's a lot of mailer interest in how the new buyers will perform," said Lenny Medico, vice president, list management at American List Counsel, Princeton, NJ. Continuation mailers have no new names left for prospecting because only 20,000 new buyers have been added to the file since October, he added.


The file update, scheduled for late May, will be the first to include names generated by the new catalog. Following the update, the file will be available on a rental-only basis, and regular updates will occur monthly.


American List Counsel will continue to serve as list manager for the Clifford & Wills file. Medico confirmed that new selects representing the expanded product line will be introduced as counts grow. Expected additions include jewelry and home product buyers.


Brokerage for Clifford & Wills is divided among American List Counsel, Direct Media Inc., Greenwich, CT, and Fasano and Associates, Los Angeles.
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