So Happy Together

May 6, 2011

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“I can’t see me lovin nobody but you…”

True, that’s a lyric from Happy Together, but it’s also my feeling about shopping. I love Banana Republic. It’s my go-to for all things fashion, as evidenced by the plethora of argyle sweaters and polo shirts adorning my laundry room floor. There’s just something about the hardwood floors, Stepford Wives-outfits and array of iron-free dress shirts that makes me all happy inside.

The song now has new meaning, and perhaps new direction for my future shopping endeavors. In its May 2011 catalog, fashion house J. Crew featured a real employee and his partner, under the heading “happy together.” The photo was part of the company’s strategy to feature real people in its campaign. This followed a somewhat controversial photo last month featuring J. Crew’s creative director painting her son’s toenails pink.

While J. Crew has not outwardly acknowledged that the inclusion of the same-sex couple was an attempt to market to the LGBT community, there is definitely a stroke of brilliance in the concept. By including the photo as part of a mass marketing piece that showcases various aspects of color, culture and society,   J. Crew is demonstrating that the best approach to marketing is often inclusion vs. exclusion. Sometimes, by including us in your overall general market campaign vs. marketing to us in a silo, you are able to credibly show that you understand that we comprise a significant, and relevant, portion of our greater society.

I am often asked by clients about the best way to engage with our segment. My consistent counsel is that it truly depends on your engagement level to date. We are more likely to embrace a company that demonstrates equality and acceptance both internally and externally, through employment practices, benefits policies, philanthropic campaigns and consistent communications to us and with us. We appreciate visual or verbal acknowledgements in creative campaigns, and the more you can tailor to us when you are running in LGBT specific outlets, the better chance you’ll have of converting new adopters to your brand.

What do you think about J. Crew’s campaign? Will you now be shopping for summer outfits at the Crew? Share your thoughts on the strategy below. Happy Friday!