Friday, October 24, 2014

Hang Tag Review #20 - Banana Republic "Petite" Hang Tag

This specialty hang tag is from prep brand Banana Republic. This is a special hang tag for their Petite sized items. The front is a soft pink with black text in all caps. It is simple, the only words are the brand name and two uses of petite, one on what would otherwise be the gift receipt space. There are also three diamonds used to set the space.

The reverse is where the action is. It contains a slim paragraph describing the Petite Collection. It quickly outlines that products marked petite are not just smaller, they are reduced proportionally to fit petite bodies. Every inseam, sleeve, hem and rise is adjusted individually. 

This paragraph is a disaster. Petite Collection is written in Victorian Caps, perhaps in an effort to demonstrate trademark use, or perhaps to really let you know what Banana Republic thinks is important. Petite is later used by itself but capitalized, as a proper known, which makes one wonder if Petite is perhaps being used as a class, such as a race or medical disability. Labeling customers as a separate class seems like an odd choice. "Style" appears twice in the four lines, which is predictable.

Just beneath the text is the same text in Faux French. It is obviously designed to call to mind a bespoke French fashion designer, creating one of a kind clothing for the petite woman, imported specially here for you. Except that this is the only French that these items will ever encounter. It is not a labeling requirement as the two passages are slightly different. Interestingly, "Petite" is capitalized but "collection" is not. Trademarks should generally not be translated but should be consistently used as trademarks. The marketing team won out over the legal team here, weakening a (potential) trademark at the expense of faux authenticity.

This hang tag is a great specimen. It uses "Petite" as a size, which is great for the smaller woman, but also really undercuts the idea that the clothes are specially sized. "Customized for you, as long as you are the one size that Petite fits." I give Banana Republic points for courage and direction though, they label their ideal customer as Petite with a capital P, a proper class of people. This is a bold choice that clearly says to a lot of potential buyers "Not for you." It is great to see them pick a direction and go for it, even if the copy needs some work in other areas.

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