Talbots’ New Campaign Rewrites What it Means to Be a ‘Lady’

By: Melissa Campanelli

How do you feel about the word “lady”?

Does it make you think of a sisterhood of modern, real, confident women? The Beyoncé song “Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)? How Michelle Obama reinvented what it means to be a First Lady? Ladies’ night out?

If the word lady sparks any of these thoughts or images, it would appear that it’s actually pretty cool to be a lady in 2017.

Well, Merriam-Webster has a different take on the word. It defines a lady as “an old-fashioned term used to describe a polite woman.”

Kind of a different meaning, huh?

Women’s apparel brand Talbots is making it its mission to redefine the definition of lady to reflect what it really means today via its new, nontraditional brand campaign, #BecauseImALady.

“We set out to bring light and dimension to the ongoing conversation of what it means to be a lady today,” said Deborah Cavanagh, senior vice president of marketing at Talbots, in this interview with Adweek. “As a brand, we’re challenging perceptions and social conventions, and illuminating universal themes and truths that connect with all women. Like fashion, which evolves over time, so must definitions and beliefs.”

A cornerstone of the marketing campaign is Talbots’ efforts to change the current definition of lady. As such, the retailer is inviting ladies around the world to join it in petitioning Merriam-Webster to update the definition in a fun, authentic way, culminating on Oct. 16, which is National Dictionary Day.

“We intend to create real talk value around the campaign,” said Cavanagh. “We’ve commissioned a national poll with polling firm Wakefield Research to see what women and men think it means to be a lady in 2017, which should spark a lot of interest from TV, print, digital and social outlets.” Cavanagh added that Talbots also has 1,500 influential bloggers on board, helping to amplify the cause.

Talbots is relying on video, too. For example, it produced eight original short films highlighting some relatable moments real ladies face. The ads can be viewed across various social networks and will also be streaming on NBC Universal shows appearing on NBC, Bravo, USA and Oxygen. What’s more, Talbots is working with Ellen DeGeneres to curate video content from her talk show that features high-profile ladies.

Finally, Talbots is inviting all ladies to share a photo, video or story that they believe redefines what it means to be a modern lady with the hashtag #BecauseImALady.

“Let’s evolve what it means to be a ‘lady’ and celebrate the modern classic women redefining it,” said Cavanagh, adding that at Talbots, “we appreciate and celebrate women every day. This campaign is dedicated to all of those fun, confident, funny, smart, modern women who proudly call themselves ladies.”

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