Ellen Rethore

Director of Marketing,Danier Leather, TorontoThe top marketing executive at fashion retailer Danier Leather says its long-term practice of placing full-page ads on page three of Canada's national newspaper, The Globe and Mail, is consistent with Danier's image.'I guess it goes back...

Director of Marketing,

Danier Leather, Toronto

The top marketing executive at fashion retailer Danier Leather says its long-term practice of placing full-page ads on page three of Canada’s national newspaper, The Globe and Mail, is consistent with Danier’s image.

‘I guess it goes back to the job we were trying to do, which was to achieve brand awareness for the name Danier,’ Ellen Rethore says.

‘And hence, the use of the full page, because we want to be perceived as a leader in Canada, and hence, the upfront positioning, because it’s consistent with our image as a leader,’ Rethore says.

Danier is currently placing three full-page, four-color ads a week in the Globe.

The company supplements its national advertising with placements in local daily newspapers across the country.

Rethore says all elements in a campaign are carefully considered.

‘In terms of the visuals, and choice of typeface, they paint a picture, if you will, of what Danier is all about, which is wearability, value, and clothes that have classic elements,’ she says.

In addition to retail stores in Toronto, Ottawa, Hamilton, St. Catharines, Kitchener, London and Windsor, all in Ontario, Montreal, Halifax, Dartmouth, n.s., Winnipeg, Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver, the company has just launched a factory outlet in Vancouver.

Q. Why did you choose newspapers for this campaign?

A. I think when we originally decided to use newspaper [in the fall of 1990], we were trying to reposition the company and needed a medium that was going to provide frequency.

And so that was fairly critical; we felt we had to build brand awareness for the Danier name as quickly as possible.

We felt that our strategy would preclude the use of traditional vehicles, such as fashion magazines, although we haven’t ruled them out in the long term, or any medium, for that matter.

We looked at our short-term needs, and the budget, and who could deliver exactly what we wanted.

Q. Are newspapers underused for image advertising?

A. I have no comment on that at all. I don’t look at our campaign as something that is dependent on newpapers.

We had a mission, we made a decision, we struck a deal with a newspaper, and we evaluate that all the time. But we’re not trying to make a statement about the effectiveness of newspapers.

Certainly in the Toronto market, the Globe has helped us achieve awareness fairly quickly. Newspaper is known for having fairly immediate response. We have also chosen to take a frequency approach, which has really been a factor.

You’ve got to find a newspaper who wants to play ball with you, especially when you’re looking at an anchored position. Someone who is willing to go the distance and be a supporter.

A lot of clients are not getting the kind of support they would like. At least, not in my experience. It’s usually a fight.

Q. Excluding your own work, what have been some of the best examples of image building in newspapers?

A. I’m not going to mention specific campaigns, but there are some people who are doing some very strong work.

When I look at what our competition is doing, some are doing a very excellent job. But it’s not just in newspaper. People are working very hard.

Q. What qualities do successful newspaper image campaigns have in common?

A. Again, I don’t necessarily see newspaper as a big image builder. I don’t see people using it that way. I see more product and price point advertising in newspapers.

I don’t get my main image perceptions from newspaper. I don’t see them as a strong deliverer of image. Canadian Airlines, ibm, and others we have talked about are all supported by a multi-media campaign.

Q. What specific challenges does the medium present – what are its limitations?

A. Quality of reproduction. Happily, newspapers are starting to tackle that problem. It’s pretty amazing what The Toronto Star has been doing with their new presses in Vaughn, [Ont.]

I think with some newspapers, they have bent over backwards to take care of their customers. But there are others who have a real old-fashioned approach to doing business, and aren’t being as creative as they could be at working with new clients. In terms of putting a package together, and saying well, ‘We’ve always run our color ad on page 7, maybe we can put it on page 3.’

More often than not, there is a certain culture there and the culture is slow to change.

I’m hoping that these attitudes will change, because it prevents me from doing more newspaper ads.

Q. Do you think technological innovations, such as a new four-color process or more flexible layouts, would convince more advertising agencies to use newspapers for image building?

A. I can’t speak for agencies, and again, I have a small hiccup with the notion of image, but when you start to see newspaper doing beautiful 4-color reproduction, such as some of them are doing now, it provides more options and provokes my interest. For a fashion retailer, the use of color is pretty exciting.

Q. Why is it that image advertising in newspapers is more prevalent in Britain and the United States than in Canada?

A. The newspaper industry is so different in the u.k. and the u.s. than it is here.

The u.s. is such a completely different market than Canada. You advertise differently in one region than another. They are so much more competitive and more creative there than here.

I’m not terribly familiar with the u.k. They have such a broad-based network of tabloids, and a different reading audience as well.

Q. From time to time it is suggested that one of the main reasons that a lot of creative directors don’t use newspapers for image advertising is because it’s harder to be creative in newspapers. What do you say to that?

A. I think television is a more complicated medium and a more difficult piece of creative, and I say this having just been in the midst of doing tv creative.

There are many great things you can do in newspaper, but sometimes they make that impossible.

After a while, you decide to spend your time more productively than argue with them.

Q. What trends do you see in image advertising?

A. The consistency we’re seeing. By that I mean, clinging to an idea, staying with an idea. I’m finding that refreshing and new.

Nissan, for example. In the ’80s, they would have built that positioning phrase (‘built for the human race’) and walked away from it.

Owing to the economic climate today, and the cost of investing in new campaigns and creative, companies are no longer walking away from properties, they are staying with them. And that’s a good thing.