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It is a safe bet to guess that the majority of people over 40 years old have not heard of Marc Ecko or Ecko Enterprises. He was born as Marc Milecofsky and grew up south of New York City in Lakewood, New Jersey. His parents were real estate agents. Ecko has two sisters, one of whom is his twin, Marci. The name Ecko is the result of a family story. When Ecko's mother was pregnant with Marci, the doctor informed her of an "echo" on an ultrasound, which turned out to be Marc.
The world of hip hop belongs to a new generation, one with its own unique form of clothing, known to many as "urban apparel." Ecko Enterprises was formed in 1993 when three friends began creating T-shirt fashions using cans of spray paint. By 2004, the company reported sales of nearly $1 billion. Items from Ecko Enterprises and the Ecko Unlimited brand are sold in more than 5,000 department and specialty stores domestically and in over 45 countries internationally. There are now 30 Ecko Unlimited full-price company annex stores, 16 of which are located outside of the United States. The Ecko Unlimited clothing line often features the stark silhouette of a rhinoceros on T-shirts, baggy jeans, and other products.
Ecko's company competes with firms that rely on the "cred" (credibility) that comes from being a performer, such as the Sean John line featuring P. Diddy, Rocawear from Jay-Z and Damon Dash, and Phat Fashions offered by Russell Simmons. Marc Ecko, in contrast, is simply a fan of the music who grew up living in suburban neighborhoods. Although he is sometimes described as a "former graffiti artist," the reality is that his company was formed while he was studying at Rutgers University to become a pharmacist.
A variety of products are featured through Ecko Unlimited, Marc Ecko Formalwear, and Eckored Kids, including outerwear, footwear, watches, eyewear, underwear, belts, bags, hats, small leather goods, and formal wear. The Marc Ecko Cut Sew brand is a contemporary menswear line consisting of casual and dress separates designed to blend street-inspired edginess with more sophisticated designs and fabrics. Cut Sew offers semi-tailored separates, sweaters, urban spa-inspired active wear, woven shirts, and premium denim.
A newer brand, the G-Unit Clothing Company, is an independent venture operated by Ecko and multiplatinum-selling artist 50 Cent. The G-Unit line includes items for men, women, boys, and girls. It features denim, T-shirts, fleece, outerwear, hats, and sportswear. Also, Marc Ecko Enterprises formed an exclusive U.S. and Canadian licensing agreement with Avirex Ltd. to introduce a sportswear collection. The line carries a full collection of apparel, including fashion denim, tees, knits, and outerwear. Other licensing agreements have been formed with Geoffrey Allen, Skechers, Paul D'Avril, Inc., Kid Headquarters, and Viva International.
The company also offers skateboards and skater-influenced clothing and accessories through the Zoo York label. The brand was launched in 1993 and is now part of the MEE line, which is the East Coast's largest action sports company. Ecko also publishes Complex Magazine , a bimonthly urban lifestyle publication with a circulation of 325,000. Another new venture is Contents Under Pressure, a game developed in partnership with Atari, Inc. The game features stories and characters in a futuristic universe in which graffiti plays a key role.
Ecko Enterprises began by selling its unique form of clothing, known as "urban apparel".
Urban apparel can be viewed as a form of "lifestyle merchandising." Ecko was able to translate his own enthusiasm for hip hop into something new and different in the fashion world. By placing ads in hip-hop magazines such as The Source and Vibe , the Ecko rhino grew based on relationships with a wide range of maverick recording artists, including Talib Kweli and the Beatnuts. Although many retailers feared the urban look, Federated Department Stores, the owner of Macy's and Bloomingdale's, became an enthusiastic seller of Ecko Unlimited.
Russell Simmons, founder of Phat Fashions and the godfather of hip-hop culture, was quoted as saying, "Marc is a very, very creative designer. He's got more edge than most." Simmons describes Ecko's line as having an "alternative" quality or a "more suburban edge." In other words, the Ecko brands were able to gain market among the hip-hop audience. The next issue becomes, as the hiphop generation ages and new fads and fashions emerge, will Ecko Enterprises be able to continue to grow and succeed 44
Which of the models presented in this chapter best explains a consumer's purchase of a fashion product created by Ecko Enterprises Explain.
Examine Ecko Enterprises' Web site at www.marceckoenterprises.com. Pick one of the brands and develop a means- end chain that could be used by a creative to develop an advertising campaign.
Of the seven advertising appeals, which would work best for Ecko Enterprises' products Why Would combinations of appeals be useful for this company If so, which ones
Pick one of the appeals discussed in the chapter and one of the brands sold by Ecko Enterprises and then develop a print advertisement. Describe your target audience in terms of demographics and psychographics.