Liberty Media Interactive's QVC began Sept. 4 running a teaser campaign on billboards in Philadelphia, Los Angeles and New York with the catchphrase: iQdoU? The riddle, revealed this weekend, translates into "I shop QVC, do you?"
Jeff Charney hopes so. He's QVC's chief marketing officer and the creative genius behind the new branding campaign, who phased out his guerrilla advertising company Fringe Ventures in Venice, Calif., to join QVC 18 about months ago.
Charney's challenge aims to distance QVC from rival Home Shopping Network, and retailers like Macy's and Bloomingdales. "People tend to associate us in the TV shopping and infomercial category, but we're much different," he tells Marketing Daily. "We need to educate people on all the services we provide."
Those services rely on QVC introducing 250 new products every week in addition to the 1,600 items sold on the channel. Consumers have access to product designers via phone or online blogs and chat rooms where they can ask questions about the products.
With more than $1 billion in online sales, consumers still don't think of QVC as a multichannel retailer, but rather a television shopping show, Charney says.
Rather than sweep that fact under the rug, analysts say, the campaign tries to address the reality that people are still embarrassed about buying products from QVC. "For years people didn't want to admit they bought things on QVC, but obviously with revenue of about $7 billion in 2006, a lot of people have," says April Horace, an equity analyst at Janco Partners in Denver.
The campaign targets women 35 years or older with a household income of more than $50,000. It aims to take ownership for the letter "Q" so that QVC becomes the first thing consumers think about when they hear or see the 17th letter in the alphabet, whether they are shopping by phone or online.
QVC will attempt to make the cultural change with a series of Q-centric promotions. For example, on Monday night, QVC debuted a shirt and tote bag from the Q-ture, or rather couture, branded collection being created by Jaye Hersh, who owns the Los Angeles clothing boutique Intuition.
The transformation from a TV shopping channel into leading multimedia retailer includes redesigning the Web site to create a social shopping experience. Online advertising features viral marketing, and consumers can expect to see direct mail pieces throughout the fourth quarter in 2007, as holiday shopping gets underway.
Print ads are slated to appear in People magazine next month, Woman's Day in November, both Good Housekeeping and Family Circle in December, as well as TV Guide from October through November. The television ads feature on-air personalities, customers and product designers. QVC hasn't signed on Whoopi Goldberg, yet, but Charney says the actress could start selling her own line of linens on the network next year.
The company's new "Q" logo, also revealed as part of the national launch, represents the shorthand coined by the QVC customer to define the brand. Formed as a ribbon into the shape of the letter, the new logo suggests the feeling of a package being opened. Inside the "ribbon Q" are the letters "QVC."
Before concluding a phone conversation on Monday, Charney says, "Thank Q," in keeping with the Q-focused theme.