Actor Shawn Yue will appear as the first local brand ambassador for Tommy Hilfiger men’s wear in China, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan for fall 2017 and spring 2018.
The exclusive partnership reflects Hilfiger’s continued commitment to expand in Asia, its fastest-growing region. The campaign goes live Friday.
“We’ve seen exciting growth in both the overall business and brand awareness in China over the past few years. Our partnership with Shawn will solidify our position in the market and introduce our men’s wear business to a new consumer,” Tommy Hilfiger said Wednesday.
“He is at the center of pop culture in China, known for his incredible talent and is celebrated by young fashion followers across Asia for his cool, sophisticated style. He truly is a reflection of today’s Tommy Guy,” he added.
Asia is a key market for Hilfiger, which it entered in 2002 as one of the first premium designer brands. The company’s overall business in China, including e-commerce and stores, increased 14 percent in 2016. The brand has expanded its current store count to 357 from 100 stores in 2011. By year-end, Hilfiger expects to have 405 stores. Having launched e-commerce in China in 2012, Hilfiger became one of the first international brands to directly launch and operate e-commerce successfully in China. E-commerce sales rose by 49 percent in 2016.
Hilfiger’s brand awareness in China has grown from 35 percent in 2010 to more than 55 percent in 2016. In 2015, Hilfiger re-created its American football-inspired fashion show in Beijing, a first for the brand, when the company celebrated its 30th anniversary. Last fall, Hilfiger toured Shanghai with Gigi Hadid, which was the company’s most engaging celebrity campaign to date. Content trended on the Tmall homepage for 96 hours.
For fall, Hilfiger’s print and digital campaign featuring Yue was photographed by Lachlan Bailey. The lifestyle campaign includes videos where Yue applies his twist to Hilfiger’s classic American style through the lens of his many personal passions, from basketball and sports cars to acting and music. The campaign launch will include video, print, online and out-of-home media placements.
“Tommy Hilfiger’s cool American spirit and unexpected twists have always inspired me,” said Yue, praising “the brand’s unique campaigns and innovative experiences.”
Avery Baker, chief brand officer of Hilfiger, noted that Yue is extremely influential in China, especially with Millennials. “He’s incredibly talented as an actor and a musician, and a race car enthusiast. He has great style. He has a zest for life and has achieved a lot in his career,” she said. She described Yue’s role as “the face of the brand in China,” and said he was photographed wearing the global men’s collection.
“We really wanted to put the spotlight on the men’s business. We have a strong men’s wear business already to date, but wanted to use this opportunity to bring new fans to the brand and reach that Millennial customer,” Baker said.
The 35-year-old Yue has more than 13 million followers on Weibo and over three million on Instagram. He began his career as a model before garnering fame in Hong Kong cinema. He was awarded “Best Actor” at the South Korea Bucheon International Fantastic Film Festival in 2008, and most recently starred in “Love Off the Cuff” and “The Tales of Wukong.” He ha also gained international fame for his music career, winning “Best New Male Artist” at the RTHK Top 10 Gold Songs Awards in 2002.
In recent years, Hilfiger has had partnerships with Rafael Nadal (which just ended); Hadid (which runs through spring 2018), and DJ/producer duo The Chainsmokers, who will appear in Hilfiger’s global campaign (including China) and will be attending the designer’s upcoming fashion show in London. Yue’s campaign is specific to China and “will be an extra level of investment,” Baker said.