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MESSAGE ANALYSIS + TARGET MARKET ANALYSIS AMANDA GAETA OCTOBER 12, 2010


+ Introduction In the advertising world it is essential that a company formulates exactly the right message to pull in their consumers- one that can resonate with the core of the audience. They can only accomplish this through an in depth analysis of their market. Relate the message to the audience and produce positive visual cues to relate the product to the audience, and they will be seeking out the company. Aside from the actual advertisement, is the choice of where to place it. In this portion of the process, the main concern is deciding which specific media outlet will confirm the company’s message and clearly targets the market they wish to reach. The following paper discusses the strategy behind and the outcome of this process regarding Guess’ ad placement in NYLON magazine. + Message Analysis Advertisement A full page black and white advertisement in NYLON Magazine depicts the close up of a young woman at a 1960’s style microphone. She looks away from the camera, mouth barely open, as she gently clutches the microphone with one hand. The other out of focus hand holds a tambourine away from the camera. The blonde sports an up do, bangs down, with a polka dotted bow accent that positioned to the right. This accessory is paired with her pinstriped, collared button down with just deep enough of a v-neck to catch a side glimpse of her black bra. The blurred background looks as if she is in a home recording studio or something of that nature with another microphone behind her. In the forefront of this scene is “GUESS” in flat and bold red print positioned slightly above the page’s bottom border. The left border reads “GUESS.COM” in classic small white print and gives credit to the photographer in even smaller print. Source:

NYLON Magazine, October 2010

Current Message MESSAGE: Guess clothing and accessories give female consumers a classic, feminine, edgy, yet still appropriately sexy look. When first looking at the advertisement, viewers can immediately take notice of the advertisement’s black and white orientation and be transported back to the simpler time period. Other visual cues like the model’s hairstyle, the microphone, and the clothing itself give the more specific hint that it is set around the sixties. Beyond the scenery, the advertisement follows the protocol of most high fashion advertisements and places the main focus is on the model and what she adorns. Due to the fact that much of the background is distorted and the picture is framed to only show from the chest up, the audience’s eye is drawn to the model’s face which has the highest level of lighting and exposure. The model has a passive stare and an innocent look; yet on the other hand, her parted lips give the sex appeal that drives the advertisement. With all of these factors in mind, the audience can receive the main message by processing visual cues of the time period, relating them to certain characteristics associate with their perception, and finally, apply these characteristics to the brand.

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Although the specific message will differ with every consumer who views the advertisement, there is still a general tone to it that everyone can take away - classic, edgy, sexy. These few words encapsulate the Guess brand and describe a character that their target market aspires to capture through their presentation. By allowing their advertisement to exude these traits to the point where the consumer recognizes the message, Guess allows their market to be attracted to not only the ad itself, but the clothes that can shape that audience member into the model. This connection is necessary for Guess to communicate what their brand is all about while simultaneously attracting the viewer to their product and driving more traffic to their physical and online stores. Source:

NYLON Magazine, October 2010 Guess.com

Consistency In recent years, Guess has been on top of their fashion game. The company as a whole now sits on the list of Top 10 most expensive clothing brands. To keep this positioning in the market and in consumers’ minds, the company must maintain the quality of their product and more importantly, communicate this image to consumers through their communications. The advertisement previously discussed does this well through its black and white coloring, the choice of a button down shirt that allows for some exposure of the model’s chest, and by placing the model in a hip and socially powerful position as a singer. It conveys the edgy and sexy look that Guess lends consumers if they buy from the line. This same attitude in relation to the brand radiates from each and every advertisement within the campaign. A greater portion of the advertisements have one female model, and when there is a male and female model, the female is the focus of the attention. In the advertisement below from this same campaign, the female model is at the forefront of the picture and looks directly into the camera. Although the male model is in focus, he looks away and is positioned behind her, torso barely visible. It is as if he serves as a prop to orient the consumer in the sixties time period with his hairstyle and leather jacket while increasing the sex appeal of the advertisement. From this set up, it can be assumed that the advertisement is targeted to women. Source:

Oh La La Magazine, January 2010

Connection to Guess by Marciano Although the originally discussed advertisement is for the overall Guess brand, it has a distinct connection to its Guess by Marciano line with its sixties orientation, black and white images, and the recreation of the glamorous fashion of that time period. This conclusion is only drawn after looking at the current differentiated advertising for their other lines including their guess line for children and their Guess accessories campaigns. Guess by Marciano has recently been rebranded; therefore, it is assumed that the general Guess advertisements are referencing the new branding by utilized the power of the overall Guess brand. This is also conveyed through its change in name from “Marciano” to “Guess by Marciano.” With advertisements that create such a strong reference to the other brand line in what is assumed to be a cross promotional effort, both the general Guess and Guess by Marciano ads should be analyzed.

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Guess Ads The general Guess ad campaigns have focused on female models. From the timeline of the advertisements below, one notices that each of these women conveys the same edgy fashionable style that is embodied in the originally discussed “singer” advertisement. The most recent one from Spring and Summer of this year, gives the model an independent, confident, rugged look while still remaining edgy by hiding her exposed torso with the sombrero. Further back in the Fall and Winter 2009 campaign, we see a more bohemian look. Although a different style, the company maintains its black, white, and red color palette and keeps the confident, sexy look of their models. Even back in the Spring and Summer campaign of 2009, the palette and attitude is kept. The sex appeal of the ad is undeniable and the picture even draws audience’s attention to the model’s chest with a small heart tattoo. There is even a slight sense of nostalgia from the origin of the brand’s advertising in the 1980’s. The confident, sexy attitude of all of the models in these ads paired with the edgy yet classic sense of style is what really ties all of these advertisements together. This evolution of the brand’s communications into the “singer” advertisement up for discussion allows the new advertisement to fit right in with the aura of the brand. It blends the sexy, classic, edgy appeal, keeps the color palette, and is ironically progressive through its retro orientation. Source:

Oh La La Magazine, January 2010 Guess.com

Guess by Marciano Ads

Guess by Marciano, named after Guess’ Chief Executive Officer, is a line within the Guess brand that emphasizes more of a clean, classic, retro 1960’s look. These connect to the general Guess brand by depicting confident, sexy women. More recently the brand has embraced the black and white style that the current Guess ad campaign shows – the main reason for this GUESS + NYLON | 3


analysis of the brand extension. In the Spring and Summer 2009 campaign, the audience sees a woman in a retro silhouetted trench coat with entirely black attire. She is reminiscent of a classic spy in the 1950’s or 1960’s. On the other hand, the color in the advertisement translates to a more modern appeal. From Fall and Winter 2009 until now, the ads are strictly in black and white. The pictures themselves are reminiscent of old time movie stars – the last undoubtedly a reference to Jackie Onassis, who served as a 50’s and 60’s fashion icon. All look like the type of woman getting all the men’s attention. The current ad campaign with the faux Jackie O plainly depicts a team of men assumed to be security protect the “star” from the press and cameras who want her in some way. When looking at this same advertisement, it is not a stretch to categorize the “singer” advertisement with its classic, feminine, and sexy appeal into this campaign. Note: From this point forward, the report will take the position of marketing through the lens of Guess by Marciano – a subset of Guess consumers – due to the assumption that the original “singer” advertisement serves as a cross promotion. This is done to ensure more specific target market analysis. Source:

Oh La La Magazine, January 2010 Guess.com

+ Target Market Analysis: Guess by Marciano Brand Overview Guess by Marciano is a brand extension of the original Guess brand. The extension has 45 Guess by Marciano stores and outlets in the United States and Canada established in malls versus stand alone locations. Not only does the brand have individual stores, but the line is promoted within select Guess store locations. These stores sell diversified apparel for men and women including dresses, skirts, shoes, tops, pants, denim and jewelry. Each of these pieces communicates a sense of progressive fashion that can be worn on any occasion no matter what level of formality. This more sophisticated sense of fashion comes with a higher price tag than at a regular Guess store. Based on the idea of a higher class of style, the brand has steadily increased consumer awareness; and due to this growth, the brand has delivered new collections of items to their customers including a line of handbags. Thus, although the extension is not as popular as its mother company, the original Guess, it is leveraging its name and expanding its market to eventually reach that level of brand equity. Source:

Guess Annual Report, 2010

Demographics Guess by Marciano mainly targets women from 18 – 32 years old, mostly made up of the 21 million of Generation Y, who are either currently in or have completed college. According to Quantcast data for the Guess by Marciano website, the majority of their visitors make $30,00060,000 and $100,000 or more per year. It is assumed that this gap is relative to the age gap. Women who are 18 years old and in college households probably account for $30,000 income range. This would translate to a three roommate household that all have minimum wage and minimum hour part time jobs. Higher incomes within this same bracket ($45,000-$60,000) can account for women who are working their first job out of college and beginning to establish themselves in their careers. The other extreme income bracket of $100,000 or more per year are assumed to be those that have attained college degrees and have excelled in their job positions. With a target market that has completed college, considering this income bracket is not a stretch. Although Guess by Marciano generally targets these groups of women, when GUESS + NYLON | 4


looking at the youthful sexy tone of the “singer” advertisement, it is concluded that this particular ad reaches out a subset of this market consisting of those within the $30,000-$60,000 income bracket assumed to be women fresh out of college, establishing themselves in the workplace. Source:

Guess Annual Report, 2010 Quantcast for Marciano.com Packaged Facts: Generational Market Research Bundle: Baby Boomers, Gen X and Gen Y, December 2008

Psychographics As a fashion company, it is essential to distinguish how their target market perceives fashion in their lives. In the “singer” advertisement a progressive fashion towards a retro 60’s look is proclaimed to be the hottest fashion in the latest campaign. Based on the U.S. census information available in 2005, 18% of those in Generation Y characterize themselves as being “the first among [their] friends to try new styles” and 19% are usually the first to shop at new stores. This establishes the market’s preference for fashion forward items that can be the new “it” thing. These consumers like to stay ahead of the curve. Even if not ahead, 27% of this same population says that they buy the latest fashion every season and 44% “keep up with the latest fashions.” The latter half of this group at least has a general knowledge of the fashion. The next step for Guess by Marciano would be to get this group to take action and go to their stores to buy these fashions. Products from Guess by Marciano can allow this entire group of the Generation Y population to stand out from the crowd which is selected as a value by 39% of them. Therefore, in both circumstances, if the clothing is conveyed through a modern appeal, the Generation Y consumers will lend their attention to the brand. Another important characteristic to Guess by Marciano’s target market is that they can be described as group that aspires to be the most that they can be. Approximately 55% of the Generation Y population desires to get to the “very top of their career.” In most cases, they must dress professionally to get to this upper most title they are seeking. This is where Guess by Marciano comes in and positions itself as the answer to their search for a professional image focusing on classy confidence. Beyond the workplace, 56% believe that “it is important to be attractive to the opposite sex.” This translates to a need for a brand that exudes this sexy attitude. Again, the “singer” advertisement‘s tone is just right for this market and connects the model’s sex appeal to the clothes. From this, consumers see that this sex appeal can be purchased through the brand. Thus, Generation Y is to be considered as a group that aspires to be more and can be attracted to a brand if they believe it will ultimately be for their betterment. Source:

Packaged Facts: Generational Market Research Bundle: Baby Boomers, Gen X and Gen Y, December 2008

Consumer Constellation Generation Y Guess consumers have their own set of unique behaviors that cause them to not only shop at Guess by Marciano stores but purchase other sets of items. One of the most observable qualities is the fact that Generation Y is extremely involved in the latest technology, which translates to other components as well. This technological addiction is mostly seen in those around the college age. The same behavior even goes for food where these consumers look for an “app” to order online. The group’s affinity for the internet and technology also translates to social and interactive applications. They are the users of Facebook and Twitter as well as the extroverts in their group of friends who are out and about dining at communal table eateries. Thus, Guess by Marciano can appeal to this group through advertising through social media and by appealing to the population’s technological and social connection. GUESS + NYLON | 5


This subset of Guess by Marciano consumers is also interested in music- not just a general positive attitude toward it, but the idea of customizing it. They are the generation that became the major users of Apple’s iPod where although everyone has the same product, they can customize it – like many other products introduced recently for this market. In the case of the iPod this customization comes through putting their own personal music collection on the device as well as picking from a variety of colors. In addition to customization of music products, Generation Y is drawn to mash-up artists like “Girl Talk” who takes top 40 songs from years past and manipulates them to sound completely different yet still familiar. Beyond customization of music, they are always listening. When asked about what they generally are doing when multitasking, many said texting and chat, which related to behavior previously mentioned, but 59% stated are listening to music – even while they are eating. This aspect of Generation Y is directly placed into Guess’ “singer” advertisement by having her positioned as a not only a singer, but a musician. Source:

Packaged Facts: Center for Culinary Development Culinary Trend Mapping Report, 2008 Packaged Facts: Generational Market Research Bundle: Baby Boomers, Gen X and Gen Y, December 2008

Usage Behaviors Guess by Marciano is definitely not a cheap a brand, yet the advertisement in question seems to be focusing on a younger subset of consumers. It has been discovered that the consumers are not at the height of their career (although they aspire to get there) and are only making up to $60,000. This income paired with these women’s interest in fashion does not translate to a consistent buying pattern. They would not be able to afford to buy a handful of clothes from Guess by Marciano. Then again, Guess by Marciano is a luxury brand in a sense with each piece of clothing’s design being something to be valued. This logic leads to the conclusion that the targeted subset of the market would be venturing to the store to buy something for a special occasion or something new at the beginning of fashion seasons, which was specified as a regular behavior. Having that one special outfit that makes them feel confident can be worn for work functions out of the ordinary, like an important meeting or an interview that can impress others and bring opportunity their way. This usage pattern would call for strong and powerful advertising in the beginning of fashion seasons to draw this market into the store. The “singer” advertisement places her in an aspirational social position that is powerful enough to make the audience strives to achieve that status. It is this train of thought that brings this market to the brand. Source:

Packaged Facts: Generational Market Research Bundle: Baby Boomers, Gen X and Gen Y, December 2008

+ Target Market Analysis: NYLON Magazine Brand Overview NYLON magazine is a pop culture based magazine that focuses on cutting edge fashion and music. It was established in 1999 by Marvin and Jaclynn Jarrett as their third venture into publications after start ups Bikini and Ray Gun, a rock and roll magazine. This magazine has dubbed itself an “indie girl’s…magazine” due to its feature of independent artists and underground hipster culture. Currently, NYLON publishes 10 issues per year for approximately $14.95 and circulates around 250,000 copies. Beyond the general NYLON magazine, the company has five brand extensions including NYLON Japan, NYLON STREET, NYLON GUESS + NYLON | 6


PRETTY, and NYLON PLAY. NYLON STREET focuses on the contemporary trend setting fashions in major cities around the globe including New York, Melbourne, and Tokyo. On the other hand, NYLON PRETTY emphasizes beauty tips while NYLON PLAY covers music as a lifestyle versus music being simply a portion of the magazine issue. Thus, the brand has committed itself to going global and reaching more niche markets based on the focus of their original NYLON magazine. Source:

NYLON Media Kit, 2008 Web Media Brands How to Pitch: NYLON, 2010

Demographics According to the publisher and founder, Jaclyn Jarrett, NYLON is targeted to women ages “1834, most of who are single (92%), college educated (72%) and employed (75%).” More specifically, the magazine’s target demographic has a median age of 25 years old, a median income of $68,500 per year, and lives in urban areas and around college towns. This general age range belongs to Generation Y and will be further analyzed according to research focusing on this group of consumers. According to an analysis of Generation Y by Simmons Market Research Bureau from Fall 2007, 37% of the cohort consisting of 40 million people lives in the top 25 metro markets and more than 17 million “currently take college classes or have received a bachelor’s degree.” With a higher than average median income, it is assumed that most of the market for NYLON magazine lives in the city versus a college town. If living in a college town, it is more likely that the population is attending the college close to their home. These people have a much lower income than that of those who can afford to live in the city. In summary, NYLON focuses on the college educated, established and employed Generation Y women in their mid to late 20’s concentrated in cities with an income of approximately $60,000-$70,000. Source:

Interview with Jaclynn Jarrett, The Association of Magazine Media 2008 NYLON Media Kit, 2008 Packaged Facts: Generational Market Research Bundle: Baby Boomers, Gen X and Gen Y, December 2008

Psychographics As aforementioned, NYLON Magazine’s target market lives in college town and cities. Both of these locations are breeding grounds for new trends. This age group, as mentioned in the Guess by Marciano analysis, keeps up with fashion and is motivated to buy new fashions for the season as well as venture to new stores to get them. Another factor brought into the fashion mix is the idea of “stumbling upon” cool underground products that this market takes as their own. The key aspect of this is the fact that these consumers undermine this “new cool” they have “discovered.” In short, they are the hipsters who love discovering underground content. NYLON’s understanding of this market is further cemented through their focus on all of these ideals. In addition, this mid to late 20’s portion of the market is concerned with being “green” in regards to food and the environment. According to a Packaged Fact profile of Generation Y, 13% of these populations are concerned with “green” practices and “eco friendly food options.” Although this population may be living in polluted areas, it does not mean that they are not personally committed to the cause. An overwhelming69% of this group states that they “considered a business’s social and environmental commitment” in decided how to spend their money. Companies have been utilizing this value to communicate that buying this helps save the environment whether that be through green manufacturing practices or donations from the consumer’s purchase. This can be utilized by NYLON in the same manner by donating some of GUESS + NYLON | 7


its profits to eco friendly causes or printing on partially recycled paper for an issue to raise awareness since it is a value of their readers. Source:

Packaged Facts: Center for Culinary Development Culinary Trend Mapping Report, 2008 Packaged Facts: Generational Market Research Bundle: Baby Boomers, Gen X and Gen Y, December 2008

Consumer Constellation Based on NYLON’s focus on being fashion forward and driven by new music it would be assumed that their consumers are deeply involved with each of those activities. These independent women are those shopping for hipster clothing at their local Urban Outfitters, Forever 21, and H&M. Although not designed for quality, this market needs clothing to wear on a daily basis that won’t bust the seams of their wallets. These clothes are known for being fashionable and cheap, something that the readers of NYLON magazine desire. Every once in awhile, these users can have a financial splurge and purchase expensive fashion items. This behavior helps them maintain their early adopter status within their social groups by shopping at this set of stores. This position of being ahead of popular culture also comes through reader’s involvement with music. Assuming that this population is passionate about the music scene, they a more than likely to be attending concerts. Due to the fact the independent artists that they like have not made it mainstream culture, they are probably purchasing tickets at a lower value. These shows are usually housed by local small venues versus the extremely large arenas for performers like Lady GaGa. Either way, these users need to buy their tickets from somewhere. Therefore, companies like Livenation will be used for this demographic. Although it is one of the largest names in the ticketing industry, they sell tickets for events of various sizes and if they are not selling you the ticket directly from their website they will direct you to the site that is on the show’s webpage. Source:

Interview with Jaclynn Jarrett, The Association of Magazine Media 2008

Usage Behaviors From the previous analysis it is assumed that NYLON readers are mostly subscribers as opposed to people occasionally buying a single issue of the magazine. NYLON magazine is published less often than other magazines that also have a larger circulation. The company charges approximately $15.00 for a year for a printed subscription and $10.00 for an online subscription which allows their Generation Y market to access the media in a digital magazine format making it feel like they are still reading a magazine. This shows recognition of their reader’s focus on online media while still promoting their content. Since each issue is sold for $3.00, it is assumed that after buying a singular issue for this value to test the magazine, a user would subscribe based on how much they enjoyed reading the magazine. Most people will browse through the magazine before buying it, and therefore initiate a positive attitude for it. Thus, it is an optimistic assumption that this initial enjoyment of the magazine paired with the small price tag for 9 more issues will encourage readers to subscribe in a majority of cases. Source:

Packaged Facts: Generational Market Research Bundle: Baby Boomers, Gen X and Gen Y, December 2008 Web Media Brands How to Pitch: NYLON, 2010

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+ Conclusion: Opinion of Effectiveness With the shift towards online presence and social media, it is a common assumption that printed literature, like the magazine, is dying. Although that may be true for most of the market, Generation Y consumers still read magazines especially when they focus on fashion and/or music. Fortunately, both Guess by Marciano and NYLON Magazine focus on these two aspects of their target market’s lifestyle. By placing a Guess advertisement within NYLON Magazine, the companies are creating a partnership centered on these two passions that their markets both possess. Simply by general demographics, both target markets have similar characteristics – single Generation Y women in and around college towns with a college education. These consumers are at a ripe age where they embody the youth culture and 47% of them are spreading their influential knowledge of fashion and beauty that they acquire from magazines to their friends. They are the fashion forward individuals that create the trend within their social groups. They are the women discovering music with both old and new sounds and passing it along. They are the women aspiring to be the most they can be in their careers. This match of demographics, values, and overall likeness is a successful operation for both companies that is captured by the singular Guess ad placed in the beginning of the October 2010 issue of NYLON Magazine. Source:

Magazine.org Handbook, 2010

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Message Analysis Plus Target Market Analysis  

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