Kate Spade turns to Tinder exec for CMO | #tinder | #pof

Dive Brief:

  • Kate Spade has a new chief marketing officer as of Tuesday, the brand said in an emailed press release. Jenny Campbell joins the brand as it works to execute a turnaround.

  • Campbell most recently was CMO at dating app Tinder. She replaces Mary Renner Beech, who held the post from 2013 until last year, according to Beech’s LinkedIn page. Campbell takes on “all aspects of brand marketing, with a strong focus on direct-to-consumer strategy and engagement, as well as digital community-building,” the brand said.

  • Before Tinder, Campbell spent seven years in global marketing on Nike Women’s, Brand Innovation and in the Nike+ tech space, per the release. She also previously held leadership positions at advertising agencies Wieden+Kennedy and 72andSunny.

Dive Insight:

Analysts have been keeping a close eye on Kate Spade, which hasn’t managed to replicate the Coach turnaround as planned.

After the company released its first-quarter results late last month, MKM Partners Managing Director Roxanne Meyer said analysts there “will look for ongoing improvement” and would prefer “more tangible improvement/greater inflection at Kate Spade.”

In its most recent quarter, the brand’s net sales fell 21% to $240 million, including the impact from “a strategic pullback in lower margin wholesale disposition sales,” parent company Tapestry said last month. Gross profit tumbled to $154 million from $192 million in the year-ago period, while gross margin expanded to 64.1% from 62.7%.

The “strategic pullback” reflects an effort that was successful at Coach. Before a series of acquisitions expanded Coach into the conglomerate dubbed Tapestry, Coach had managed to climb out of a sort of brand purgatory where markdowns proliferated. The brand regained its luxury luster by pulling out of many outlets, off-price retailers and even department stores. Then-CEO Victor Luis, who had spearheaded the turnaround at Coach, said the same strategy would be applied to Kate Spade, which Tapestry acquired in 2017 for $2.4 billion.

It’s been a bumpy road, however, with mixed results at Kate Spade since that purchase. Parent company Tapestry shook up Kate Spade leadership earlier this year, but any momentum may have stalled when Tapestry CEO Jide Zeitlin abruptly resigned in July.

In a statement, Campbell called it a “pivotal year” for the brand, which she said, “is synonymous with joy.”

“[W]e are invigorated by the opportunity presented right now in our industry to take a fresh look at the way we, as Kate Spade, create, market and sustain momentum,” she said.

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