Sarah Jessica Parker B&N Private Brand Diva

America’s largest book retailer, New York City based Barnes & Noble has enlisted iconic Sex and the City star Sarah Jessica Parker to as the spokesperson for its Private Brand NookColor eReader in launch TV commercials which began airing nationwide today. The ads were created by New York based agency Merkley + Partners.

The campaign for the e-reader is revolutionary for the Private Brand world, which is accustomed to brands and products with little or no ad budget. The creative commitment and financial investment to the brand by a retailer is impressive, Miss Parker certainly does not come cheap. The campaign will focus on TV. Print advertising, featuring the reader displaying an array of materials — from books to newspapers — positions the tablet as “The Ultimate Reading Experience.”

According to an article in Brandweek:

“At Barnes & Noble, we’ve taken all we know about reading and put it here,” says the actress in the first commercial as visuals take viewers zooming through a B&N store to focus on the new eReader with a full-color screen.

That spot, “Love of Reading,” then shifts to a montage of lifestyle images. Women are seen using the Nook “anytime, anywhere,” such as in the kitchen, at the hair salon and reading kids bedtime stories.

B&N is predominately targeting women “who really love reading everything,” said Sasha Norkin, vp, digital marketing at the chain. “It’s really a product for the voracious reader. This ad was meant to capture this excitement.”

Parker was enlisted for the voiceover “because we think she’s perfect,” especially as a mom, Norkin said. “She is smart, loves reading everything — she is engaged and enthusiastic. She brought a special spark to the advertisement.”

“We really wanted to capture the amazing content and the features you can get on NookColor, but also [show] how the device fits into people’s lives,” said Jean Batthany, creative group head at Merkley. “It was about balancing the technology and the humanity.”

The commercial opens with images of a B&N store to fuse the brand equity of the retail chain with the delivery of the eReader, added Joanna Jacobs, group account director at Merkley. “The only people that can bring you such an amazing reading device are the reading people who are Barnes & Noble,” she said.

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Christopher Durham
Christopher Durham is the president of My Private Brand and the co-founder of The Vertex Awards. He is a strategist, author, consultant and retailer who built brands at Delhaize-owned Food Lion, and lead strategy and brand development for Lowe’s Home Improvement. He has consulted with retailers around the world on their private brand portfolios including: Family Dollar, Petco, Staples, Office Depot, Best Buy, Metro (Canada), TLW (Taiwan) and Hola (Taiwan). Durham has published five definitive books on private brands, including his first book, Fifty2: The My Private Brand Project. In 2017, he will debut his newest book, Vanguard: Vintage Originals, a visual tour of innovation and disruption in private brand going back to the mid-1800’s. Dynamic in his presentation while down to earth and frank in his opinions, he has presented at numerous conferences, including FUSE, The Dieline Conference, Packaging that Sells, Omnishopper and PLMA’a annual trade show in Chicago. Durham lives in Charlotte, NC with his wife, Laraine, and two daughters, Olivia and Sarah.