Saturday, February 17, 2007

Anna Nicole

As a Smith of the broad family of that name, Anna Nicole Smith did more for jeans than “Trade” and “Mark” ever did for Smith Brothers cough drops.

Though she didn’t last as long, Anna Nicole Smith was one of those arresting people that occur at the intersection of human being, personality and brand. I confess, I liked her. I’m sorry that she’s gone. Life will be some less colorful as a result of her death. I remember when she first appeared in the Guess ad campaign and boy, howdy, those were great days. (I’m not alone on this – see Sheila O’Malley here.)

Smith replaced supermodel Claudia Schiffer in the Guess ads – not just for jeans, but for the whole Guess line in sultry black and white photographs. The one to the left is the one that I remember so well, though.

Guess was one of the first companies to create designer jeans and during the 1980s it was one of the most popular jeans brands. Because of shady labor practices (as well as the overtly sexy content of its advertising), the company struggled in the ‘90s. By the turn of the century, though, with Guess promoting a different look and sense of style, the controversy that surrounded the company during the nineties had been pretty much forgotten.

Then, the Marciano Brothers (quite distinct from the bearded Smith Brothers) brought sex back. Guess’s sales began to take a turn for the better. By 2005, Guess was catching the eye of a lot of people (mainly teens) who didn’t recall Guess's earlier history. The company still grabs celebrities, sometimes people like Paris Hilton who are famous for being famous. But to me, Paris ain’t no Anna Nicole Smith, and I think her image has always part of the brand package. Today, Guess Inc. is selling at about $85 a share.

According to CNN and AP, Paul Marciano, CEO of Guess, has said: “She had something magic…from the first day I met her, every moment was filled with excitement and drama. Her personality was very complex, but she had a charming, sexy and seductive side.”

You want your brand to buzz? Then you can hardly beat the use of these kinds of personalities. Anna Nicole Smith is beyond the buzz now – and I kinda miss her.

Ad © Guess Inc. All rights reserved.

1 comment:

Kay Krenek said...

Richard, great blog. I'm sure you are going to get some flack from those who like to think they are above being interested in this whole mess, but I must secretly admit that I am a wee bit obsessed with this entire situation in a very Dominick Dunne sort of way.
Anna's personality was larger than life and now that her life is over, I suspect it will become even larger.