Spark Ignites EXPRESS Campaign

Publicis Groupe’s Spark and client Express are shutting down Broadway this weekend. Well, a block of it anyway, in the Times Square section of New York.

The street closure, set for Saturday night, is part of a campaign that Spark is orchestrating to showcase Express’ upcoming holiday fashion collection as well as the retailer’s store upgrade program in key major markets. In addition to New York, those markets include Miami, San Francisco and Las Vegas.

The New York event, dubbed “Rock The Sidewalk” will feature a runway fashion show that will be streamed live on the huge outdoor digital billboards that dominate Times Square.

The campaign follows Spark’s recent win of the EXPRESS media assignment. The client, which spends an estimated $15 million on ads annually, awarded Spark the account in June. The agency was awarded AOR duties after wowing EXPRESS with the execution of its spring campaign on a project basis. There was no formal review.



Deb Medsker, senior vice president and global director at Spark said the campaign is designed to “create excitement” about the brand in the key markets where it is upgrading and expanding its stores.

EXPRESS is opening up a new flagship store in Times Square early next year. Leading up to that event, the company plans to launch “grand re-openings” of its Madison Avenue and Flatiron district stores. Spark is planning live events for those upgrades as well.

EXPRESS is focused on its “rock” image and appeal to millennials, said Medsker. The store upgrade is designed to create an “immersive experience” for those target consumers when they go shopping.

Spark orchestrated a similar event for EXPRESS in May in Las Vegas. The challenge there was similar to Time Square: how to promote a store re-opening in an attention grabbing way, where neon and glitz are everywhere. A runway show in the Fashion Show Mall where the store is located drew a lot of attention. The fact that store ambassadors handed out 1,000 free gift cards probably helped.

The company was vague on specific results but said that checkout lines “wrapped around the store” for a week. Hopefully the lines moved fast. 

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