Luxury Men's Retailer Dons New Look for Insert, Mail Campaign

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Luxury men's retailer Marshs celebrates its 80th anniversary with new ownership and its first integrated image campaign consisting of a direct mail/newspaper insert effort.

Marshs, Huntington, NY, was acquired Aug. 15 by Mitchells/Richards, which owns and operates two upscale department stores for men and women in Connecticut.

In the past, Marshs confined its mail efforts to postcard campaigns. This week, however, 18,000 regular customers begin receiving the store's first four-color brochure, which features the cover line "New Beginnings After 80 Years." Another 46,000 copies of the brochure were inserted in yesterday's issue of The New York Times.

"This will be our biggest marketing expense of the year," said Andrew Mitchell, vice president of marketing at Marshs.

Mitchells/Richards' Westport and Greenwich, CT, stores have employed a similar strategy for several years. For example, customers who received the Mitchells/Richards brochure have come into the stores holding pages torn from the brochure, Mitchell said.

The Marshs direct mailer, as well as the Mitchells/Richards efforts, is "more of an image piece," intended to drive customers into the stores by showing the product selection and brands carried, Mitchell said. Marshs currently has no Web site.

Inside the 16-page, 12 1/4-inch by 10 7/8-inch Marshs pamphlet are photographs of the Marsh and Mitchell families along with an explanation of how the new partnership will serve customers. Marshs is a third-generation, family-run business while Mitchells/Richards continues to be run by the Mitchell family. The copy promises greater convenience with three locations, an expanded inventory and "a shared commitment to providing the best customer service in the industry."

The customer service orientation continues on another spread that is dedicated to photographs of Marshs employees. The remaining pages showcase fashions that can be found in the store and include a few photos shot on location in Jackson Hole, WY.

The product mix combines traditional apparel with modern sportswear. Prices for items in the store range from $30 for a pair of shorts to $1,500 for a suit. The target audience is men ages 25-65.

The 36-page Mitchells/Richards brochure is usually produced three times a year. The Marshs brochure will be produced just twice a year for now.


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