Bauer Campaign Gets Stars in Its Eyes

Eddie Bauer is banking on the power of celebrity tie-ins even as plans for its sale by parent company The Spiegel Group, Downers Grove, IL, are reportedly on track.

Bauer unveiled a campaign yesterday that features actors such as Daryl Hannah, Christian Slater and Rob Lowe. They will appear wearing the chain's clothing in a series of magazine inserts to be placed in the August and September issues of 13 Conde Nast publications. Images from the inserts also will be displayed on Bauer's Web site, in its fall 2004 apparel catalog, which is delivered to 4 million homes, and in stores.

The effort has an environmental message and a tie-in with the Environmental Media Association, a nonprofit group that partners with the Hollywood community to increase awareness of environmental issues.

The celebrities provide testimonials regarding their efforts to preserve the environment as well as calls to action for the public. One item appearing in the campaign is a 100 percent organic cotton T-shirt selling for $24.50 in Eddie Bauer stores from July 14 through Aug. 25, at through September and in the catalog.

All proceeds will benefit the EMA.

Mullen, a Wenham, MA, ad agency, created the campaign, which also includes print ads with the headline “Explore Eddie Bauer.”

The overall effort reflects a shift toward “more of a lifestyle attitude” for Bauer, said David Swaebe, a vice president/account director for Mullen.

Mullen had no comment on projected costs of the campaign or sales results.

Swaebe said no relationship existed between the campaign and Spiegel's efforts to sell Bauer.

“It's business as usual,” he said.

The celebrity tie-in could bring Bauer much-needed attention. Scott Smallman, an analyst with U.S. Bancorp Piper Jaffray, Seattle, said he hasn't given Spiegel or Bauer much thought recently because of its stock woes. But employing celebrities is “a technique that's been used by other retailers, and it has been very successful in getting attention and press.”

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