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DANGEROUS CURVES: In a bid to keep its teen and young adult customers from text messaging while they’re driving (and to sell plenty of fall denim), Express is launching its first cause marketing campaign, in a partnership with The Entertainment Industry’s Voice for Road Safety and Elle magazine. Signaled by the slogan “Hit the Road Text Later Txt L8TR,” the Express effort marks a return to print advertising after a one-year absence and an attempt to plant the $1.8 billion brand in the everyday lives of its texting shoppers.

“When business is good, you take things for granted,” said Lisa Gavales, executive vice president and chief marketing officer at Express. “When the economy gets more difficult, you look for new ways to think. This is clearly relevant to our customer, who is [typically] texting thousands of times a month.”

The multimedia campaign will include print ads appearing exclusively in Elle’s August issue, out today, with the entertainers Ciara, Jesse McCartney, Scout Taylor-Compton and Brea Grant photographed by Patrick Demarchelier against the Los Angeles skyline, and postcards in Elle and online vouchers at asking people to sign a pledge stating, “I will not text and drive.” A public service video about the dangers of texting and driving will be posted at in late July. With a presence in the 540 Express stores, online, via direct mail and in Elle magazine, the fall campaign has the potential to reach 30 million people, Express estimated.

— Valerie Seckler


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