I was excited to join Saks Fifth Avenue as SVP Creative Brand Management. Philip Miller who was Chairman & CEO at the time brought me in to update and brighten the customer invitation to the brand. Saks had a chilly and slightly unwelcoming aspect to its brand DNA--but strangely that was part of what made Saks--Saks.

The new direction was to open the door wider to more customers who should have been shopping the brand. Consumer research bared out the facts that many "non-customers" felt if they were not dressed appropriately they might be ignored at Saks. Maybe a bit of that was true--but mostly it was urban legend.

With the help and insight of the incredible market research they had prepared we were able to create the "Live Alittle" campaign. The campaign was to be

more friendly, warmer and slightly whimsical while still being sophisticated and aspirational. It was. Repeated focus groups told us on a monthly basis that both

core and non-customers "loved" the new campaign. In many ways it was the very first "branding" campaign mounted by a department store.

All photography by

Grace Huang. Styling by the

legendary Karin Bereson.

Russ Hardin© 2019