MEDIA: STRATEGY OF THE WEEK - NEW LOOK. New Look opens its London flagship with an integrated strategy

Grand store openings are big events but are not usually associated with clever and creative advertising. Retailers seem to take the view that a dull press ad in the local paper will do the job.

However, the fashion retailer New Look hopes to put the fun back into fashion with a multimedia ad campaign to coincide with the launch of its new flagship London store.

The 20,000 square-foot outlet opens on Oxford Street this week and New Look decided it needed an exciting media and creative strategy to capture the imagination of Londoners.

Michaelides & Bednash, in collaboration with 4Creative, devised a campaign that will give Oxford Street a total makeover, while encouraging people to reappraise the New Look brand.

In order to achieve this, the agencies chose to develop an integrated campaign that includes tube and bus advertising along with press activity, leafleting, in-store posters, carrier bags and guerrilla media. It is the first work from M&B since it won the New Look business in a pitch against HHCL/Red Cell at the start of the year.

Graham Bednash, a managing partner at M&B, says: "Our strategy was to make people realise that something exciting was happening. So we decided to use a number of communication channels to support the creative work that takes a different approach to fashion advertising. Most fashion advertising takes itself very seriously, but we wanted to produce something that makes New Look feel very fashionable, but sexy and fun at the same time."

John Ayling & Associates was responsible for the media planning and buying for the campaign. Ed Kurk, the board account director at the agency, says: "Our key task was to build awareness of the new flagship store against a highly savvy core target customer market. We used appropriate local media in a way that reflects the New Look brand personality and that creates excitement and interest around the store location."

The campaign, which was shot by the fashion photographer Hanspeter Schneider, includes four creative executions. Each features an everyday Oxford Street worker: a sandwich board holder, taxi driver, bus conductor and street sweeper. The workers have all undergone a makeover. The strapline simply states: "Oxford Street goes all gorgeous."

Bond Street tube station was pinpointed as the main exit place for the target audience of 15- to 40-year-old female shoppers visiting the Marble Arch end of Oxford Street, where the new store will be located. The station is a focal point for the outdoor element of the campaign, with New Look dominating the escalator panels and other advertising space surrounding every exit on to Oxford Street. Buses that travel down Oxford Street will also carry the New Look posters for the next month.

On the day of the launch, women on roller blades will further increase the store's presence while they hand out 120,000 postcards advertising the opening.

The activity also includes ads in the Metro newspaper with an exclusive reader offer to drive street traffic to the store on the launch day. Bednash says: "We want every single experience to bring the idea alive."

M&B brought in Channel 4's 4Creative as a partner on the campaign. The agencies have worked closely together previously. Bednash says: "We wanted to team up with a creative partner that we knew could bring all these different ideas alive."

Niall Murdoch, the creative development director at 4creative, says: "It is a great opportunity to excite Londoners about the brand and hopefully establish New Look as a regular on their shopping list. And the new store will be a London landmark in its own right."

New Look, which has 500 stores across the UK, is the second- biggest fashion retailer behind Marks & Spencer. Future Systems, the architects responsible for designing the new Selfridges store in Birmingham's Bull Ring, has created the flagship store that New Look hopes will boost its appeal among female shoppers.

Carl McPhail, the group development director of New Look, says: "This is a much bigger and more exciting store than normal. We wanted to let people know that our brand is fun and I think we have a campaign that successfully reflects that."