I surprised myself by spending two years commuting to Kohl's in beautiful Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin. Doubting friends thought I'd last about six months. Part of
my successful stay was the familiarity of having grown up in Wisconsin--but that was 30+ years ago. Kohl's had never made it on my "gotta work there" list. It was this
$22 billion entity that I was aware of but it created no particular image in my head--like other retailers do. However, I had a great two years. Worked with marvelously
talented people in my area and grew to love many of them. Beyond the in-house team of writers, art directors, graphic designers, production artists, photographers,
retouchers and so forth there were gifted talent bookers and wonderful hair and make-up artists as well. And of course stylists. And our broadcast agency TripTENT.
My work was focused mainly on updating and upgrading Kohl's fashion "quotient" and image that had become wobbly over the years as the company based
almost everything on savings, savings and more savings events; Kohl's Cash; and a myriad of additional discounts. The first year yielded beautiful images, typography
and design that significantly upgraded the brand across print, online, broadcast, in-store and packaging. After year two I returned home to Connecticut.
The CEO of a large printer once said to me that my "portfolio" should really be what happens to the work after I leave--not so much what I accomplish while I'm there. Hmmn?
Design Nation (above and below) was a series of capsule collections with important new designers.
I worked with Derek Lam and Catherine Malandrino shooting with Michael Janssen and Greg Harris
respectively. Their programs consisted of print, magazine, broadcast , collateral and packaging.
I had the distinct pleasure of shooting Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony for their namesake brands at Kohl's. Working with the great Tony Duran and legendary Paolo Roversi were two of those amazing lifetime experiences you hope to have.
(L to R) "The Dress Shop" created with the Kohl's in-house team lead by Roberto. An extraordinary spot for Catherine Malandrino with Chandelier and the Derek Lam launch spot with
Berger & Wild, Michael Janssen director.
TripTent delivers intelligent charm, great style and delightful wit--even with Kohl's Cash. Plus ,a brilliant (yet never used) spot by DeVito/Verdi that featured FaceBook Fans hawking their favorite bargains.
Consumer research showed management that the brand needed to be more FUN. Imagine that. Kohl's had built tremendous success on their DISCOUNTING prowess but customers wanted more. Imagine that. Kohl's needed to let customer's know that shopping the brand WAS actually a lot of fun. The graphics below show that nod to the end user. Color. Spunk. Big graphics. Whimsey. Even Kohl's Cash got a lift.
Russ Hardin© 2020