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Report: Montgomery Ward May Bring Back Catalog

BY CSA STAFF

Milwaukee Montgomery Ward may give its catalog business another shot, starting as soon as January, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Last week, Swiss Colony’s Midwest Catalog Brands division bought the rights to the Montgomery Ward catalog and online business from Chicago-based Direct Marketing Services Inc. for $15.5 million, the report said. The price includes two other businesses: Charles Keath, a home-furnishings catalog and Internet business, and online retailer HomeVisions.

The sites are currently down while Swiss Colony integrates their operations into the systems at the company’s headquarters. This could take up a few weeks to complete, the report said.

Montgomery Ward shut its doors in 2001 because of sinking sales. In 2004, however, Direct Marketing Services bought the rights to the brand and relaunched the business as a catalog and Web site.

Direct Marketing Services faced rising costs for postage, ink and paper at a time when the company was trying to expand its business in a slowing economy, the report said, citing Swiss Colony Inc. president John Baumann.

Baumann plans to run the three recently acquired businesses using his existing staff, the report said.

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Trend Tracker: Coca-Cola hydrates

BY CSA STAFF

Energy drinks have been a dynamic category as products reinvent themselves. Coca-Cola now is emphasizing functionality with the launch of Full Throttle Hydration, a new, non-carbonated energy drink that offers both electrolytes and a unique energy/vitamin blend.

A tropical mix flavor already has rolled in 16-ounce aluminum cans (pictured) throughout the Southeast. The product debuted with an official sponsorship of the 2008 Full Throttle Hydration Kiteboarding tour in Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, Delray Beach, Destin and Daytona, Fla., over the July 4th holiday weekend.

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Sears, Kmart aim young in new campaigns

BY CSA STAFF

Marketing to teens now takes innovation and some unusual promotions. The latest generation of children is the most tech-savvy yet, so to market to these kids, retailers have to hit them where they dwell—cyberspace. And one company that has shown a great willingness to push the envelope with teen marketing is Sears Holdings.

Kmart, through a partnership with YouTube, is encouraging ‘junior fashionistas’ to share their unique back-to-school style and personality. Teens can enter the “Show Your Back-To-School Style: Get in the Commercial” contest at www.Kmart.com/YouTube from July 18 to Aug. 17, by uploading 30- to 60-second commercials that demonstrate how Kmart works with their unique style. The top 20 videos will be featured and voted for on YouTube through Sept. 1. The winning commercial will be professionally produced and aired on TV.

Sears, which launched a prom campagin on teen networking site Facebook several months ago, has also entered into BTS partnerships with several big names in youth interactive marketing. To ensure that its message of “Don’t Just Go Back. Arrive.” resonates, the retailer has collaborated with 13 Web sites to create virtual worlds and social networking applications that direct teens to its “Arive Lounge,” www.arrivelounge.com , which features exclusive, interactive content from Sears’ 2008 back-to-school offering.

Also tapping into the “High School Musical” phenomenon, the retailer’s campaign features Vanessa Hudgens and her latest music videos where she is shown in an array of Sears BTS fashions.

The new marketing initiatives seem to have bypassed parents and instead are targeting tweens and teens directly. Choosing to tout their latest styles in the virtual world, Sears and Kmart are helping to get kids excited over the coolest looks for BTS and are allowing them to direct their parents to the stores of their choice.

“Expanding our marketing strategy into the online world…is a critical means of developing engagement and brand loyalty within the youth demographic,” said Richard Gerstein, Sears’ senior vp and chief marketing officer. “By modifying our strategy to reach tweens in their own environment, we are demonstrating to them how Sears can be a part of their lives, from their entertainment to their school wardrobe.”

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