Failing David’s Bridal will get money wherever they can — especially if it means getting in on the same-sex wedding market.
According to AdAge, the company’s first ad featuring a same-sex couple will soon be hitting the airwaves.
“This week, the Conshohocken, Pennsylvania-based retailer is debuting a campaign emphasizing non-traditional brides, such as female couples, or brides who are already mothers,” AdAge reported.
“The idea of ‘rewriting the rules’ will help the brand communicate its offerings to all types of brides, according to Liz Crystal, who has been chief marketing officer at the brand for one year.”
The debt-racked bridal superstore entered Chapter 11 bankruptcy in November, according to Breitbart.
“For more than 60 years, David’s has delivered beautiful, high-quality dresses and accessories for our customers’ most special occasions, and the actions we are taking will enable us to build on that tradition,” a statement from David’s Bridal CEO Scott Key said, according to CNBC.
“We are implementing our consensual restructuring plan from a position of strength and, with the support of our lenders, noteholders and equity holders, the plan will allow us to reduce our debt significantly while continuing to run our business as usual.”
The chain had expected to be out of Chapter 11 by this month at the time of the bankruptcy filing. That’s important given that the first quarter of the year is known as “Bridal Christmas,” the period during which most brides are searching for their dresses.
However, as Kerry Folan reported in a Nov. 20 Washington Post piece, there were deeper problems with David’s Bridal and its business model.
Folan noted that the store was essentially the “Walmart of weddings, the convenient, low-priced alternative to traditional bridal shops. And, like Walmart, what the retailer lacks in hipness, it more than makes up for in accessibility.”
This meant attiring 1 out of 3 American brides. The store also does a fairly brisk business in dresses for other members of the wedding and events like proms and quinceañeras.
Folan noted her own experience with the store, which came via a friend’s wedding. While the bride’s dress didn’t come from David’s Bridal, the outfits for the bridesmaids came from the formalwear giant — something that helped given that the women were located across the country.
“The experience wasn’t glamorous, but it was affordable and efficient — which has been David’s sweet spot for decades,” Folan wrote.
“For women who don’t want to deal with the fuss or expense (or snobbishness) of traditional bridal shops, but who do want a traditional wedding with a fancy gown and a bevy of matching bridesmaids, David’s Bridal has been the perfect middle ground.
“In the age of Instagram, however, brides suddenly seem to be fleeing the middle ground. Increasingly, they are turning to ‘customized’ weddings that eschew tradition for elements that represent the couple in a more personal way. For many brides, that means a more casual wedding. When analytics company Moody’s downgraded David’s Bridal’s ranking from stable to negative in February, it cited the ‘casualization’ of gowns and bridesmaid dresses as a key factor.”
So, will embracing same-sex marriage boost the store’s bottom line?
In one way, as AdAge points out, Crystal had told them “that in the past, ads have been more focused on the dresses and the store experience and less on the betrothed.”
So, on one hand, the new ads could create a corporate brand around progressive identity politics. On the other hand, that same virtue-signaling could push away more conservative customers.
How divisive will the ads end up being? Or will they be divisive at all? We’ll certainly see some clue in the bottom line in the coming months.
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