You’ve got yourself a nice $2 billion business selling men’s apparel, including a very healthy tuxedo rental operation. Since the dawn of mankind, you’ve been running a series of TV ads showing men in various situations of need as it relates to clothing – business meetings, weddings, interviews, etc.
The spots are well executed, almost predictable: situation set-up, in-store scene, problem solved, always closing out with a shot of your founder and CEO saying, “You’re gonna like the way you look – I guarantee it.”
But for some reason, you, The Men’s Wearhouse, chuck those near-patented spots and launch a new campaign. Poorly scripted, terribly acted, unfunny, downright confusing. The new theme – "A place where men belong." (Um, what part of MEN’S in your brand name didn’t we understand?)
To top it off, you still manage to cram George Zimmer in at the end, now totally out of place. A fifth wheel. A stranger in his own brand.
How could this be? You did relatively OK throughout the recession, with revenue dipping well under 10% each of the last two fiscal years. Like everyone else’s, your stock price has doubled off March 2009 lows.
A check of a company press release from February, 2010 answers it all, excerpted here:
- Diane Ridgway-Cross appointed new CMO.
- Joins Men's Wearhouse from Mullen Advertising.
- Previously led a leading marketing-to-women communications company.
Precious. (1) An agency person bouncing from account to account with (2) women’s retailing experience, stepping into a staid men’s apparel scenario.
“New CMO” syndrome strikes again. The timing of the new Men’s Wearhouse campaign all but assures it was a done deal upon Ridgway-Cross’s hiring. Really, what CMO could ever be humble enough to join a new company and say “Hey, let’s not change the brand strategy, let’s just improve its execution?” Not Ridgway-Cross.
Here’s what the new CMO told MediaPost: "Since Men's Wearhouse is already known for good value, our new campaign is designed to underscore our quality and service story.” Someone tell me how that comes through when 95% of the ad takes place out of store?
…[the new spots are] really entertaining, memorable, likeable way to deliver a lot of new, surprising information about Men's Wearhouse." The only surprise here is that Ridgway-Cross convinced George Zimmer to go with this tripe. It will be a bigger surprise if the campaign still runs a year from now.
Which, of course, is almost always the outcome of “new CMO syndrome.” You could almost guarantee it.