Eddie Bauer to revive outdoorsy image

SEATTLE: Eddie Bauer is eager to show its wild side again.

SEATTLE: Eddie Bauer is eager to show its wild side again.

Seeking to reconnect with its outdoor heritage, the company is sponsoring several VIP and media events surrounding the release of a new IMAX film, Lewis and Clark: Great Journey West, celebrating the American landscape and the Lewis and Clark expedition.

As sole sponsor of the film, Eddie Bauer is hosting parties from the Seattle Pacific Science Center to the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, DC.

"We want to get back to the fact that the company was started by Eddie, a real person, and that the great outdoors inspired him," said Michelle Pinson, director of brand communications at Eddie Bauer. "It's an important part of our heritage, that is very important to us and important to loyal customers."

The brand suffered when its stores began to focus on "dressier" clothing, Pinson said."We've dropped off the radar screen in some cases," she admitted.

"We really want to get back in touch with that core group of people who will respond to this message of our outdoor heritage. Now we have a chance to use PR to reposition the brand in a way we haven't done in a while."

Along with those aforementioned cities, Eddie Bauer will also host events in New York, Boston, and Portland.

"It makes sense that our PR efforts are focused on Lewis and Clark, which I guess you could call the quintessential American adventure," said Pinson.

In Seattle, more than 800 people, including the media and members of the Washington State Historical Society, attended the IMAX screening, and also heard comments from Eddie Bauer CEO Fabian Mansson and CBS Radio personality Charles Osgood. Eddie Bauer has also sponsored Osgood to record about a dozen vignettes about Lewis and Clark for his nationally broadcast radio program.

An upcoming event at the Smithsonian Institute will involve everyone from local schoolchildren and members of the National Geographic Society, to numerous prominent politicians, said David Swaebe, account director at Mullen, which is helping Eddie Bauer's PR efforts.

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