ONE STEP FORWARD, TWO STEPS BACK: One retailer that might not be advertising much in the Times this fall — and not at all in Hearst or Condé Nast titles — is Japanese fast-fashion chain Uniqlo. The brand, attempting a transformation from mass to edgy at its flagship in New York's SoHo, is delaying advertising in Hearst or Condé Nast magazines until it has established a bigger presence in Manhattan, said Shin Shuda, chief marketing officer at Uniqlo.
As the retailer has yet to sign leases for two more stores in Manhattan — it has been shopping for spots on primary crosstown streets and the Upper West Side — ads for the brand are unlikely to appear in titles such as Vogue, Esquire or Harper's Bazaar until summer or fall 2008, Shuda projected. New stores in Manhattan probably won't be opened until next fall or winter. (Nonetheless, Shuda said the brand expects to reveal a store opening in London in the next 10 days or so. It has 11 locations in the U.K.)
This fall's ads for Uniqlo in the U.S. will focus on titles such as V, Interview and Fantastic Man (The Gentleman's Style Journal), which, perhaps not coincidentally, generally charge less for a full-page ad than the glossies at Condé Nast. Absent more New York locations and just eight months after its SoHo flagship opened, Shuda said of the Condé/Hearst matter, "We also want to keep the business healthy — we have budget targets to meet."
Not much newspaper advertising is anticipated either; the brand will likely rely on Time Out New York instead, Shuda said. Outdoor media will also be used around town.
Among those spotlighted in the campaign for their individuality are model Isabeli Fontana, in her first campaign since returning to work after the birth of her son Lucas, and Dennis Freedman, creative director of W magazine. The new marketing images, portraying women's denim, will make their debut the week of Aug. 6 at Uniqlo's store on lower Broadway, concurrent with the arrival of a new women's denim collection. — Valerie Seckler