Last year he had a double face for the men’s fashion brand Brioni, founded in Rome in 1945 by Italian tailor Nazareno Fonticoli and businessman Gaetano Savini. According to the Kering group, to which the tailor shop belongs, in its annual report in which it does not break down data by subsidiaries, Brioni was one of the brands that suffered the most from the impact of the pandemic. The French luxury conglomerate ended 2020 with a turnover of 13,100 million euros, 17.5% less than in the previous year, and profits of 2,150 million, 6.9% less than in 2019.
In addition, the Covid caught the brand in full strategic transformation, after the hit it suffered in 2016, when the firm hired Justin O’Shea, former fashion director of Mytheresa, as creative director, who joined the house with little training in tailoring, and with the aim of attracting a younger audience, it contracted an advertising campaign with the Mettalica group. It is clear that the idea of launching skinny pants and too much modernity was not well received among a clientele that is committed to sobriety. However, the signing of new design director Norbert Stumpfl, little given to innovations, and Brad Pitt’s as ambassador they have brought the brand back to its former splendor.
Despite the containment of expenses, Brioni ended the year in the red, with an improvement in the last half of 2020. Ahead, they say, they have a promising year, in which they contemplate the launch of a new fragrance, the impulse of the digital channel, the opening of new store networks, such as aflagship store in Chengdu, China, the introduction of a new format called Brioni atelier, which will debut in Frankfurt in order to increase the in-store customer experience, as well as the second-year renewal of Brad Pitt as brand ambassador. All this, they assure in the firm, “will reinforce the image of Brioni as one of the most desired luxury men’s fashion brands in the world.”
It is clear, says Irene Montón, strategic planner at PS21, that the signing of Brad Pitt connects with the image of the man of the future, modern with classic overtones, and that has a positive impact on the brand. “Many times customers are lost by innovating, and what it is about is to maintain the codes of the brand and add other attributes, which also have to be in tune with those of the ambassador”, explains Montón, who believes that, in this In any case, what it represents is the image of an elegant, classic, brave and daring man, although it also clarifies that this advertising campaign does not seek to sweep sales. “It is not a mass consumption firm that needs a familiar face to sell and sell out a product, here what they are looking for are other impacts, brand recognition, although sales may increase, given that Brad Pitt is an iconic image in Asia, and this can mean increased sales and high brand awareness. ” In any case, Montón points out, it is a positive face lift and it will be of great help.
It is also believed by Marta Aguilar, director of Executive Education programs at Deusto Business School, who assures that brand ambassadors, especially with the development of digital business, are increasingly relevant given that the impact is greater and faster. The important thing is that the character is well chosen. “In this case, the actor has empathy, connects with both men and women, has style and a lot of personality, always correct, both formal and informal dress, and all this contributes to rejuvenate the firm,” explains Aguilar. It also helps the ambassador to have credibility and values in line with those of the firm he represents. As an example, he cites the case of the golfer Tiger Woods, one of the highest paid athletes by brands, whose image fell apart as a result of several family scandals. Despite the impact that an advertising campaign may have, it will not be effective if it is not accompanied by a strategic plan. “It is a tool that must have a business plan behind it,” says Aguilar.
What Brioni also intends with the signing of the movie star is to reinforce the connection with Hollywood, as it had in its beginnings, and which had been lost, as the professor of artistic drawing at the ESNE school, Cecilia Calamandrei, recalls. “We want to recover that youthful and fresh image, for the day-to-day of the man with purchasing power, and convey that image that casual, subtle and elegant garments can be worn daily, all this far from the more classic image that can give Donald Trump wearing Brioni ”, details this expert, fascinated by the good work of a brand that manufactures artisan garments, with 80 external and internal ironings, which favor the fabric’s drape, or the fact that all fabrics are baked. steam so that they do not shrink, or that each employee receives four years of training to know the techniques of exquisite tailoring. They are details that make each garment unique. But this seems that nowadays it is not enough to sell, due to the rise of a more disposable fashion consumption. “We must bet on sustainable fashion, less consumption and higher quality,” says Calamandrei, who also believes that the image of Brad Pitt is powerful and with pull, even to penetrate that message of circular economy.