LL Receives a Nice Recognition from the 4A’s!

LevLane recently received a wonderful recognition from the American Association of Advertising Agencies (4A’s)- we’re celebrating 25 years of membership with the organization- and they sent us a beautiful plaque. We like it so much, we just had to take a picture. The 4A’s has been a great resource to us and we’re happy to celebrate this milestone!

Jomar’s new approach to discount shopping

Check out this great story from 6ABC’s Action News Team about our client, Jomar! We recently helped the local discount chain with a brand makeover, but you can still find the same great deals in-store. The Action News story will tell you about some of the wonderful treasures you can find at Jomar. The chain is now connecting with customers in fun, new ways. Check out Jomar online and visit the store’s Facebook Page and Twitter Handle.

Read full story on abclocal.go.com.

Occupy This

I walk through Dilworth Plaza every morning just for a reminder of what America smells like. And let me tell you, I love the smell of America in the morning! America’s bouquet is a delicious blend of musket smoke, fireside chats and the slow burn of an overworked I-Phone 4. It is not a single smell or necessarily a familiar one. Like the odor, the brave faces of Occupy Philly defy a sole descriptor and their reasons for living a temporary life fit for Valley Forgers are not singular. But, in fact the Occupiers do share something critically important: a respect for freedom and the right to demonstrate for what they believe.

To all those critics who say the Occupiers are a bunch of lazy, jobless hippies just looking for a cheap high and some free love, I say: Jealous! I also say Google American History or go to Wikipedia and search for King George III—the original one-percenter. King George III, like today’s Occupy naysayers (e.g. The Godfather himself: Herman Cain), accused the revolting patriots in his far away colonies of having no organized effort. He mocked them for not having a single message; for not having proper military uniforms and for having the gall to hide behind trees instead of forming a line and fighting like real men. But, what King George III found out the hard way, was that the common ground of the American people was their spirit; their determination; their will. And, as much as we in the communications profession preach to our clients about having a point and staying on it, I will say proudly that in this case, spirit beats messaging hands down.

So to those of you who turn up your noses at the Occupy Movement, I offer this quip, first uttered by the famous players of Monty Python (they too of King George III’s ilk): I fart in your general direction. Your mother is a hamster, and your father smells of old elderberries.

–Scott Tattar

A Search for Bargains Goes Social- New York Times

Decades ago, Macy’s proclaimed, “It’s smart to be thrifty.” Now, consumers who are concerned about the economy have elevated thriftiness to a lifestyle, as evidenced by everything from TV shows about “extreme couponing” to retailers that try to turn shopping into a quest for values.

Costco, for instance, is known for deals, found among its general merchandise, that are available one time only. The Burlington Coat Factory retail chain has a new commercial that carries the theme “Brag about it,” encouraging customers to boast about the buys they discover at “up to 60 percent off department store prices.”
Joining the trend is a chain in the Philadelphia area, Jomar Stores, which caters to households with average annual incomes of $25,000 to $75,000. Jomar has introduced a campaign from its new agency, LevLane, proclaiming that its specialty is “Retail treasures.”

The theme is underlined on a redesigned Web site,, with a section labeled “Treasure Chest,” containing offers that are available only to members of the Jomar frequent-shoppers program, known as the Treasure Club.

“Members get more,” text in the section reads, like “instant updates on new shipments” arriving at the five Jomar stores.

“That way you can snatch up the new stuff before nonmembers do,” the text declares.

Getting the jump on other shoppers is of interest to Jomar customers because the stores are not stocked like most other stores: Jomar buys returned merchandise from retailers like department stores, meaning that many of the items it sells are one of a kind.

A shopper who sees a red scoop-neck blouse in size medium at a Jomar store may want to buy it at once, because there are probably no others like it. By comparison, retailers like Marshalls, Ross and T. J. Maxx usually have items in much larger quantities because they buy lots of overstock and closeout merchandise.

To build traffic for the Jomar Web site and encourage membership in the Treasure Club, the campaign features a promotion in the form of an online contest, Show Your Jomar. The premise of the contest is summarized succinctly on jomarstores.com: “If you got a bargain, flaunt it!”

A customer can enter the contest by taking and uploading a photograph of “you and your favorite Jomar item: clothes, fabric, pots and pans, whatever.” All who enter receive $5 coupons.

Six grand prize winners will receive prizes that include iPads, $200 Jomar gift certificates and appearances on the home page of the Jomar Web site.

The campaign is being promoted on signs in the Jomar stores as well as bag-stuffers — fliers included in the bags shoppers carry out of the stores.

There is also a robust presence in social media: on the Jomar Stores fan page on Facebook, at, on the Jomar feed on Twitter and on the chain’s photo stream on Flickr.
The campaign, with a budget estimated at $60,000, is the first in several years for Jomar, which is part of a family-owned company, Jomar Textiles. The chain’s previous campaigns, on television and radio, featured a family member, Mark Segal.

“I was telling Philadelphia how wonderful my stores are,” Mr. Segal, vice president at Jomar Textiles, recalls. “My mother loved it.”

At a meeting last year with LevLane executives, he says, they told him that Jomar might be better off using new media rather than traditional tactics.
“I’m close to 50 years old,” Mr. Segal says. “I’m television and radio.” He was open to new ideas, he added, but wanted to learn more about the media consumption habits of Jomar’s working-class customers.

“We did have an e-mail list, so we knew a chunk of customers were online,” Mr. Segal says, and after LevLane staff members “spent a few months in our stores, interviewing our customers,” they determined there was enough Internet usage to make an online campaign worthwhile.

And if his customers didn’t go online, he adds, their children did, so “we felt it was viable, a tool we could use.”

The campaign is intended to encourage loyal Jomar customers to shop there more often as well as to recruit new customers through word of mouth.

“My customer gets hurt by the economy,” Mr. Segal says, and is “scared about losing their jobs.”

As a result, the size of each translation has declined, he adds, and “we are combating that by working on less margin.”

Bringing in new shoppers is a challenge, Mr. Segal says, because Jomar is not that well known outside “a segment of the population.”

“The lady shopping at Macy’s knows there’s a Ross,” he adds, but the Ross shopper — or the Macy’s shopper — may not necessarily know about Jomar.

Complicating matters, he adds, is the penchant among department stores for “advertising sales every week,” compared with perhaps “two sales a year” a decade ago.
Someone from a department store told me that only 7 percent of the merchandise is sold at regular price,” Mr. Segal says, which conditions a Jomar shopper to expect sales, too, even though the merchandise is already discounted.

“Our prices are 75 percent off regular retail, so a $100 dress is $25,” he adds. “But now, on Tuesdays, it’s 20 percent off the $25.”

The campaign is being accompanied by a remodeling of Jomar’s stores, which run from 30,000 to 50,000 square feet and have a warehouse, thrift-shop look.

“We’ve softened them,” Mr. Segal says, by changing the yellow and red color schemes, which were “screaming discount colors.”

“I feel more comfortable now doing this advertising to invite people to the party,” he adds.

Josh Lev, senior account manager at LevLane, which is also based in Philadelphia, agreed that the Jomar colors were, as he puts it, “not very inviting.”
The stores were “not the warmest environments,” Mr. Lev says, and the changes, which also include new signs, are making them “a better place to shop.”
The research that preceded the campaign took place among employees as well as customers, he adds, and “we found out a lot of good information.”
For one thing, Jomar shoppers describe themselves as “very loyal,” Mr. Lev says.

He recalls talking to a customer in line at a store who told him she was not happy that the promotion was intended to bring more shoppers to Jomar.

“She said, ‘I don’t want to give my secret away,’ ” Mr. Lev says.

Jomar customers also talk about how proud they are “of what they find there,” he adds.

“What’s unique about Jomar is the aspect of the single items” they buy from other retailers to sell in the stores, Mr. Lev says, which prompted the idea of Jomar as “a treasure chest.”

“You’re really digging for gems,” he adds.

While the current Jomar shopper “skews a little older,” Mr. Lev says, there is “an opportunity to go after a new target audience” of younger consumers.
“And when we go after the younger target audience, we know they’re online,” he adds.

It is no coincidence that the campaign, which began last month, will continue through December. After all, the fourth quarter is the most important for retailers as consumers shop for Christmas.

“My feelings for the fourth quarter are upbeat,” Mr. Segal says, despite the recent uncertainty about the course of the economy. “I think people are going to be shopping.”

Mr. Lev says that he hopes the campaign will be extended into 2012 with “more consumer-facing” elements like commercials.

A nun walks into an ad agency

…that was right after she marched into City Hall and then the Philadelphia Streets department, looking for the people responsible for the UnLitter Us campaign. Ok, I dramatize. Sister Anne hardly marches about, but rather strides with quiet purpose. And when I met with her, she was on a mission.

The diminutive Sister Anne teaches an art class at the John Kennedy Mental Health Center on Broad Street. Every Monday, she takes the subway from her convent in West Philadelphia to her subway stop at City Hall, where she is greeted by the dramatic faces of our campaign. With close to 100 posters lining the tracks and walkways underground, they were hard to miss this summer. Sister Anne’s voice is delicate as she describes standing on the platform surrounded by the expressive words and faces of our poets, marveling that we chose to fight filth with beauty. Sister Anne not only felt the soul of UnLitter Us, she was intellectually curious about the strategy we chose. She thought that by understanding the thinking behind the campaign, she could better help her students. Ultimately, the Center helps to rebuild lives based on the foundations of respect and dignity. Sister Anne helps her students purge their negativity and find what is beautiful inside of them to express through art.

So she delved…the focus groups, the findings, the creative strategy, the process, the elements of execution. Her questions were intelligent, her comments insightful. No detail was too boring for Sister Anne, so I lavishly divulged the intricacies of the ad campaign that became somewhat of a spiritual journey for the team who nurtured and brought it to fruition.

We always hope our creative strategy will hit the mark and move our intended target – in this case, urban youth 18 – 25. And yes, we have metrics and that show progress city-wide. Inspiring Sister Anne, however, and providing even the most modest assistance in her mission is an added bonus of a much higher order.

We All Win When the Media and the Government Collaborate

On Friday, August 12, The Philadelphia Daily News introduced “Pick It Up,” the paper’s new campaign for a cleaner city. The front page story and two page spread not only made a call for action to Philadelphians to clean up their act. It did so without dissing the City’s—specifically The Street Department’s—focused efforts to fix the problem. Too many times when it comes to news reporting, it’s a gotcha mentality that drives the story. The government is wrong. The news guys are heroes for exposing the wrongs. Gotcha! Well, at least in this case, the DN joined with the Streets Department in a much needed initiative, even lauding the City’s UnLitter Us movement as “promising” and including the Deputy Mayor, the Streets Commissioner and the Deputy Streets Commissioner in the dialogue. The City’s effort and the paper’s effort are both strengthened by the collaboration. In the end, it’s us—the citizens of Philadelphia– that win. Kudos to all parties for avoiding the finger pointing and for putting the need to solve the litter problem at the center of the discussion.

-Scott Tattar

*Featured photo is from the latest Daily News editorial entitled “We’ve become the Cradle of Littery” by Sandy Shea