Client: Limited, Too
PR Team: Access Communications
Campaign: Passion for Fashion
Time Frame: April - Sept. 30, 2001
Budget: $1.5 million
Girls just want to have fun, and this summer, Limited, Too gave
thousands of girls a chance to play dress-up, parade on stage, and win a
chance to meet their favorite pop stars.
Having broken away from its eponymous parent in 1999, Limited, Too
serves that niche consumer group too big to be babies, but still short
of teenage angst. Not quite two years into its independent status as a
public company, Limited, Too wanted to bring its brand to life. With the
entire market contracting, the company needed to leverage its brand
appeal to boost its back-to-school sales. The company also wanted to
increase website traffic and media coverage. According to Access
Communications VP Allyne Mills, this was Limited, Too's first attempt to
dial-up the brand marketing, and set a benchmark for success against
which all future PR efforts would be measured.
With a $1.5 million budget for staging, talent, and prizes,
flagship malls in Miami, Dallas, Chicago, LA, NYC, and Columbus, OH
(company headquarters), were booked for the events.
"Passion for Fashion" was conceived as "Nickelodeon meets the catwalk" -
a zany, high-caliber twist on the traditional fashion show, including
game-show-style contests. Celebrity was the third leg of the strategy.
Reigning Olympic figure-skating champion Tara Lipinksi was tapped as the
brand spokesperson and event host because she's very popular with
tweens, and is considered a positive role model by parents.
In addition, girls attending the events had the chance to win a trip to
NYC, along with their parents, for a grand finale concert at which boy
band O-Town and pop star Monica were scheduled to perform.
Limited, Too's wildly popular "catazine" is distributed directly to
three million girls. The late-summer events were first promoted in the
June issue, as well as with in-store flyers. All promotions pointed to
the website, where contestants were encouraged to show up dressed as
their favorite pop stars. Access bet that moms would get involved as
well, and, in fact, Mills says that "whole families showed up. It became
a family outing."
Ten girls from each group of event registrants were selected at random
to compete onstage in challenges such as a lip-synch contest and
"fashion frenzy," in which girls had to create outfits on mannequins in
just 60 seconds. City winners were flown to Manhattan to compete for a
$2,000 Limited, Too wardrobe, a $5,000 scholarship, and a
modeling opportunity. Following the fashion show, guests were invited to
Media coverage and event attendance exceeded expectations. Mills says
1,500-2,000 parents and girls showed up in each city. Local broadcast
and print media interviewed Lipinski about the events, and gave
extensive coverage of Limited, Too's expertise in tween fashions.
National media placements included Good Morning America and a "CEO
Spotlight" on CNBC's Business Center. Gannett and Copley wire services
picked up the coverage, as well as highly influential tween magazines
J-14, Tiger Beat, All About You, and Discovery Girls.
Limited, Too SVP and GM Scott Bracale said the company plans to repeat
the events in 16-20 markets next year, and will extend the radius of the
point-of-purchase promotions. "We learned that moms are willing to drive
much farther distances than we ever thought," as the Dallas winner was a
girl who was driven in from Atlanta.
Bracale says the company also plans to scale down the staging for next
year's events. "We learned we don't need something that unique; our
brand is unique enough."