LAUREN TRIMS AD DEPARTMENT: Ralph Lauren Corp. has restructured its advertising department in an effort to put a greater emphasis on digital. According to the company, Lauren’s print and digital teams have been consolidated under one advertising group, and they have eliminated duplication of roles. Responsibilities are being reassigned. About 40 positions were eliminated as a result.
“The way people consume media and shop is changing radically, so we are evolving our approach to marketing to reach consumers in new ways and to appeal to a new generation. Our reorganization sets us up to do that — with a focus on digital first campaigns and new ways of telling our story on the platforms that matter most to consumers,” said a Ralph Lauren spokeswoman.
Last February, Jonathan Bottomley joined Lauren as chief marketing officer, charged with “evolving Ralph Lauren’s brand voice.” He continues to lead the global marketing team and develop marketing strategies across the company. Prior to joining Lauren, Bottomley was a strategy officer of Virtue, a Vice Media Co., and before that was chief strategy officer and managing partner in the London headquarters of Bartle Bogle Hegarty.
The majority of Lauren’s advertising is created and executed by the company’s in-house creative and advertising agency. The company uses a combination of print, outdoor, digital and social media platforms, and to a lesser degree, TV and cinema, according to the company’s 10-K. Lauren’s digital ad programs focus on high-impact and innovative digital media outlets, which convey key brand messages and lifestyle positioning. Featuring a wide array of video and social media content, as well as RL Magazine and RL Style Guide, these marketing and advertising initiatives are communicated through online, mobile, e-mail and social media.
Advertising and marketing expenses amounted to $219.9 million, $280 million, and $274.6 million in fiscal 2017, fiscal 2016, and fiscal 2015, respectively, according to the company’s 10-K. In fiscal 2017, reductions in promotional programs, store count, and marketing staffing drove substantial savings in comparison to the prior fiscal year.
During the company’s second-quarter earnings call in November, Patrice Louvet, president and chief executive officer, said, “In marketing, we are leveraging new channels and partnerships, especially in digital and social media, that will help the brand reach and acquire new consumers.” He spoke about Lauren’s September show at his garage in Bedford, N.Y., which the brand leveraged as a media event with a specific focus on Instagram, Facebook, Tmall, WeChat, Youku and RalphLauren.com. “The show generated over 1 billion social media impressions, more than double our February show, through an expanded list of global social live stream hosts and 24 hours of Instagram stories,” he said.
In addition, Louvet noted that in the U.S. alone, Lauren had three major magazine covers over the past several months featuring the designer’s collection dresses. “These included: Angelina Jolie on the cover of Harper’s Bazaar 150th anniversary issue, Jennifer Lawrence on the cover of Vogue for its 125th September anniversary issue, and J.Lo on the cover of Vanity Fair this month,” he said.
Further, he noted that in Asia, the company has increased its digital efforts and engagement with local influencers. “We are tailoring social content to the Chinese consumer and dressing many Chinese celebrities with social followings nearing one billion in total,” he said. He added that in September, the company had over 12 million Chinese views of its fashion show, and has ramped up its presence on digital platforms.
According to Louvet, the company has been evolving its product and marketing “to increase our reach and appeal with new consumers; expanding our digital and international presence; and working in new ways to drive productivity and agility.”