Thursday, April 16, 2009

Andy Spade Presentation- Husband of "Kate Spade" Bags

Last night I went to a speaker presentation hosted by Stanford's The speaker was Andy Spade, who helped found "Kate Spade" and "JACK Spade" with his wife Katie. You may have heard of Kate Spade bags before... The following is a small blurb about him.

Spade had over a decade of experience with top advertising agencies Saatchi & Saatchi, Kirshenbaum Bond & Partners, and TBWA/Chiat/Day managing accounts with companies such as Coca Cola, Evian, Reebok, Lexus, and Coach. He's the branding and marketing man behind Kate Spade and Jack Spade (the companies that he and his wife created.) He has also been tapped to design the experiences of a number of companies including Delta's Song Airlines and J. Crew retail experiment The Liquor Store. Spade's latest project is Partners & Spade. It includes a highly conceptual retail experience in downtown Manhattan. Beyond all these business ventures, Spade is heavily involved in the art world. He is a patron to emerging artists, co-owner of a gallery, and curator of several exhibitions. Spade's projects merge emotional branding, experience design, brilliant collaboration, and always a touch of surrealism.
Pretty much a lot of what I'd like to get into. So, for the benefit of reinforcing his lecture in my head, and to give you some insight on what Andy had to share, I will share my notes from the lecture.

Keep it interesting.

1. Make the advertising personal. Identify with clients.
-You want to tell the stories behind the products that you are advertising
2. Love your product like your children (When they're well behaved)
-And don't be afraid to add a little wit
3. Have a collection of Boutiques, not a chain of stores
-The Spade stores are each at least 30% different
-And if you are going to hang something, make it mean something, its all about the USER EXPERIENCE
-People want to buy products with an interesting story
4. Don't be afraid to collaborate
5. Continually surprise your customer (they bore easily)
-(Notice how Britney Spears is still interesting??)<-my add in 6. A brand should be like a friend and act accordingly 7. Beware of overbranding (i.e. tommy hilfiger) 8. Everytime you hire an accountant, hire a creative

Now for some of the interesting advertising strategies he helped out with. I LOVE untraditional advertising, it's genius. I've always had room in my heart for creative everything, I'm not a fan of vodka, but I love Absolut's advertising campaign. If I hadn't done Mechanical Engineering, I would have done either industrial design, advertising, art, psychology... I think they are all related, although our society likes to pull them apart. Apart each are OK. Combined, they are amazing.

So, back to examples. J Crew wanted to step up the perceived value and coolness of their men's clothes. So, instead of paying over $10,000 for a page in a magazine, they rented space in an old liquor store. They didn't put their sign outside, just a cool clothes display with vintage feel, and reconnecting the old neon liquor store sign. They received much publicity on this store, and J Crew men's earned a 'cool' factor.

For wit, they made Kate Spade bags for Valentine's Day. On the front it had stitching, "Be mine, forever". Inside, a hidden GPS tracker.
They published a book, "what a man should know", instead of coming out with an ad, because books tend to be more credible than ads.
They sell back dated confidence trophies, for those competitions that you are still bitter about losing, 20 years later.

They had teenagers vandalize one of their stores, by having eggs thrown at the window, and called the news. Free publicity!
Kate Spade brand made: chocolates, bags, books, music, all to make up the user experience, and build the brand.
They made two movies, one about a paper boy, and put their messenger bag in the movie. Then they created a full feature film, "The pleasure of being robbed", with Kate Spade bags. That bag has won much critic acclaim, and most don't even realize it a bag commercial.
At one of the big fashion shows, JACK made hot dog and hamburger shaped cookies, with a note "JACK Cares", and handed them out to the anorexic models.

So, it sounds like Andy Spade is off to some pretty interesting things now. He basically started with a core product of the traditional "Kate Spade" bag, and now that venture is supporting all his other ventures. That's my goal right now. Build one.. and then I'll be able to branch out. Seems that the one core product give you the credibility and money to proceed to the larger picture.

I talked to him after the presentation, and asked if he was familiar with David Kelley, because what he is pursuing now seems very IDEOish. He said he just spent the day with Kelley, and would like to work with IDEO for a year. I'm not jealous or anything... :-)

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