Retailers Flog About Their Own Wares, Biased Blogging Becoming Commonplace

The Wall Street Journal has an article detailing a type of flogging that is becoming more commonplace, the retail fashion flog:

Ken Downing might look like any other reporter at the New York shows. But he’s the fashion director at Neiman Marcus, the Dallas-based department-store chain that caters to well-to-do shoppers. Starting today, Mr. Downing will post his reviews of around 18 shows at New York’s fashion week on the Neiman Web site….
Unlike other media covering the shows, these commentators are in the awkward position of reviewing their own suppliers — and their aim is more to boost sales rather than offer impartial critique.

Does it work? Absolutely. When Downing links his comments to specific merchandise the store sees a “sales bump” that exceeds expectations, according to a Neiman Marcus spokesperson. As shady as Ken is, least he’s honest about his identity and job function as he lavishes his purple prose on nearly everything he sees.

Not like Dawn Fox, Marketing Manager:

“We all agree on our love of the sequin stripe sweater dress,” said a commentary on Nanette Lepore’s fall collection posted yesterday on the Web site of Olive & Bette’s, a chain of four trendy Manhattan boutiques. The anonymous blog is written by the store’s marketing manager Dawn Fox, who presents herself as one of “Olive & Bette’s Shop Girls.”

We’re on to you, Dawn. No one could ever love a sequin stripe sweater dress. Even Ebay is in on the fun:

“EBay Style Director Constance White, who posted her first fashion-week blog on Friday, acknowledges being “pretty gentle because we still do want to have great relationships” with designers.”

Maybe Constance should worry about having a “great relationship” with customers. —MEGHANN MARCO

The New Fashion Bloggers:Retailers Review Own Wares [Wall Street Journal]