Apparel Chains Expand Entertainment Ties

(Edited by Susan Nunziata Published by EPM Communications

Ira Mayer, Publisher )

Fashion and entertainment have long made comfortable companions but in recent months the lines between the two have become less distinct, as surfer-chic apparel retailers Vans and Quicksilver start entertainment divisions while tween-girl chains such as Limited Too and Wet Seal turn up the volume on entertainment-related promotions.

Meantime, many apparel-related entertainment promotions tie in with music, movies and TV programs are also getting the star treatment at retail. And the links are far more extensive than a few posters and logo-decorated t-shirts and hats scattered in the racks.

Limited Too is launching a “Lizzie McGuire”-branded fashion line inspired by The Disney Channel cable TV program, while Vans promotes the Universal film “Blue Crush” with an in-store contest and Payless ShoeSource expands its relationship with Miramax for its “Spy Kids” shoe line. Saks, Inc.,joined the fun with its first entertainment-related promotions, including a Warner Bros. Scooby-Doo film tie-in last May and an upcoming promotion in its Proffitt’s chain with the Epic Records act 3LW.

Entertainment and licensing promotions involving apparel open up opportunities for other brand tie-ins. Nestle’s Sweet-Tarts is doing

product sampling on Limited Too’s “Passion For Fashion” mall tour, while Payless links with McDonald’s and Thermos for Spy Kids 2.

As retail brands look to differentiate their offerings and compete for market share in a difficult economic environment, entertainment tie-ins become more important, says Susan Schroeder of CMI, which developed the Limited Too tour.

For retailers, tie-ins drive store traffic and amass a customer database.Limited Too’s entertainment push started with Universal’s Big Fat Liar in 1Q ’02. The company’s catalog, mailed to four million tween girls, prompted them to go to stores to enter a sweepstakes.

For entertainment marketers, retail tie-ins offer an alternative path to consumers. “To be able to have consumers experience Spy Kids inside Payless is important incremental exposure,” says Miramax’s Lori Sale. Miramax plans an apparel link for The Green Hornet in summer ’04.

In music promotions, apparel marketers turn to the stars, with promotions such as a Britney Spears line of roller skates for Skechers. But the avenue is also open to new and developing artists. Says Epic’s Lori Lambert, “Apparel marketers finally understand that even if the artist isn’t at the top of the charts, being associated with young, attractive, exciting and talented people is going to bring them cachet.”


Len Stein

914. 712. 2610




Ernest Schmatolla is publisher of Lookonline since 1994. It is the longest running fashion site on the Internet.

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