On Monday, Neiman Marcus launched its ambitious fall campaign, one of the first campaigns under chief brand officer Nabil Aliffi who joined the company in January.
The campaign is a multipronged effort, featuring everything from the “Fall Book” — a thick coffee table book replacing the slim catalogs of previous campaigns — to a series of profiles of prominent people in the worlds of fashion, sports and activism. The content of the campaign, which is called “New Frontiers,” is inspired by American history, particularly the pioneering and frontier era of the 19th and 20th centuries. Campaign imagery references American Southwest landscapes.
For Aliffi, the campaign’s slogan, “In the pursuit of the extraordinary since 1907,” embodies what he wants to achieve in his new role.
“When I joined the company, the immediate springboard for me was to go back to the history of the brand,” Aliffi said. “We’re 116 years old. Neiman is part of the American dream. So we dug deep into the past to reference some of that history.”
As part of that backward-looking strategy, Neiman Marcus is bringing back the butterfly image it used for years starting in the 1970s.
The 50-page Fall Book is a central component of the campaign. Both the book and Neiman Marcus’s website will include a profile series called The Achievers that profiles five people: writer Amy Sall, filmmaker Gregg Araki, activist Cornelia Guest, Carolina Herrera creative director Wes Gordon and football player Ceedee Lamb. A digital version of the book will be shoppable while a softcover print version will be gifted to loyal customers. A luxurious hardcover version will go to the most valued of Neiman Marcus’s clientele.
Of course, these top-of-funnel efforts need to fit into the everyday performance marketing that’s important for any retailer. Aliffi said every big element of the new fall campaign will be reflected in paid ads on social and on Neiman Marcus’s e-commerce site. But these big brand moments also serve another purpose. They’re less susceptible to performance marketing disruptions, like changes to Apple’s or Google’s tech platforms.
“There are things as a marketer that I call uncontrollables,” Aliffi said. “Part of the reason we invest in our big brand moments is that those things are under our control. And when things happen that are out of our control, we can just go back to the things [that have worked for us in the past] like our window displays and our brand experience in-store.”
The campaign comes at a time of change for Neiman Marcus. In addition to Aliffi, who joined in January, new company president Ryan Ross is also seeking to make his mark after joining Neiman Marcus just over a year ago. In June, the company’s earnings showed that higher inventory would put pressure on margins in the fourth quarter of the year. Revenue dropped 9% year-over-year in the most recent quarter, compared to the 13% profit increase Neiman Marcus saw in the same period 10 years prior. But the upper end of its brand catalog is performing better than ever, with sales of its 50 top-selling brands up by nearly 40%.
“Our fall campaign is a celebration of Neiman Marcus’s history and core values, which serve as a guiding light for the road ahead,” Ross said in a press statement.