NEWPORT BEACH — Newport Center Fashion Island--best known for its designer boutiques and well-heeled shoppers--is planning a new advertising campaign to showcase its inexpensive and mid-price stores.
The ad campaign, which debuts in May, aims to show the range of merchandise--from "deck shoes to diamonds"--that are available at the center's stores, mall officials said Monday.
"We don't want to forget about who shops us now, our loyal customers. We want to reach customers who have not been here before," said Susie Plummer, the mall's marketing director. "I think we're going to be educating everyone."
Fashion Island traditionally has aimed its marketing at more affluent shoppers, even though it has many stores that are not that upscale, such as Jay Jacobs, Wet Seal and McDonald's.
The new campaign, entitled 'Everything Under the Sun," will include direct mail, print and cable television advertising. Plummer declined to say how much will be spent on the campaign.
Some merchants have complained in the past that the center has cultivated its image as a shopping haven for the rich, overlooking those merchants whose stores have broader appeal.
In recent years, the Irvine Co.'s Fashion Island has undergone a $120-million renovation that transformed the center into an outdoor courtyard with fountains and ponds. The only major enclosed portion is Atrium Court, a central square of specialty shops overlooking a gourmet grocery store and food court.
The new campaign will position Fashion Island to compete better with the much larger South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa, where Gucci and Chanel peacefully coexist with Sears and Del Taco.
Both malls started 25 years ago and cater to roughly the same market, but South Coast Plaza had more than triple the sales of Fashion Island in 1990--$692 million compared to $220 million--the most recent state figures available. However, Fashion Island's sales grew 13.5% in 1990, the most of any Orange County mall. South Coast Plaza's sales grew 3%.
Some merchants said they believe that the campaign will help sales.
Suzanne Coons, owner of the Ultimate Invitation stationery store in Atrium Court, said that the campaign is necessary and that the center needs to show off its range of stores, "not just show our high-end stores."
Scenes From a Mall
People who shop at Fashion Island are generally better educated and have higher average household incomes than the average shopper in Orange County. A profile of Fashion Island patrons contrasted with the average shopper:
Fashion All Island Shoppers Average household income $61,000 $47,000 Percentage of college graduates 47 30 Percentage of professionals, managers 36 26 Average age 35 36 Average monthly number of visits 3.2 2.4 Average traveling time to mall in minutes 17.3 13.5 Average number of hours spent there 2.87 2.69 Average number of dollars spent 111 68
Source: Los Angeles Times Marketing Research
Researched by DALLAS M. JACKSON / Los Angeles Times