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Any woman will tell you that the search for ‘the perfect pair of jeans’ is pretty similar to an Indiana Jones movie (… what sort of person, for example, actually fits into those skinny jeans that seem to hang around your knees, without the benefit of a rope, a few pulleys and probably a local guide with a monkey…).  So, when you happen upon a brand that just nails it, you stick to them like glue.  For me, that brand is Long Tall Sally.  I can’t tell you the revelation their jeans were to me… even my husband noticed the improvement.

Having signed up for their mailings I, yesterday, received their Summer collection catalogue, through the post.  I’m not normally terribly keen on these sorts of brochures.  I flick through them and occasionally look online, as a result, but most of the time I’m a purist… a ‘go to the store’ kind of girl.

But on this occasion something was different.

The catalogue looked the same from the outside but as I was about to stick it on the side and allow it to

fester under a pile of bills, a small red flyer dropped out.  It said “We are sorry!”.  Intrigued, I turned itover and read all about their disaster with trying a trendy uncoated stock… how they weren’t happy with the finish… not up to their usual standard…  But then I read on about how they felt sure their loyal customers would rather see the new collection on time and that they hoped we’d all forgive the poor print quality.

Some observations:

  • I don’t know if this was intentional or not but the outcome is very, very clever
  • I suspect that few customers had any idea when the Summer catalogue was due out and wouldn’t have noticed a week’s delay in mailing
  • By sending out the note they’ve demonstrated their brand values of personal approach, quality, caring and attention to detail – lovely
  • I wonder how many more people flicked through the catalogue as a result of seeing that note… and the knock-on effect on sales figures

I’m loyal to the brand anyhow but I have to be honest… it gave me a wake-up call. What a clever way of turning a marketing disaster (and let’s be honest, we can all imagine the fall out when they opened the boxes that first time, with excitement… and then saw something they didn’t like…) into a real communications success.  Brava, marketing ladies at Long Tall Sally!

Written by Helen Hammond, Managing Director of Elephant Creative.