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Sending A Message

A look back at Coach's advertising through the years.

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Appeared In
Special Issue
WWD Milestones issue 09/26/2011

Coach has been advertising its handbags for the past 50 years, but the message has always remained consistent: The product is the star. Even as advertising has swept overseas, with celebrities such as Gwyneth Paltrow holding the bags in European magazines or Kate Bosworth in Asia, the brand has stayed true to its American style, and to keeping the product front and center. Here’s a look at Coach’s ad campaigns throughout the decades.

 

This story first appeared in the September 26, 2011 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

THE BEGINNING

1960s: Before taxi cabs and billboards, Coach was advertising in Playbill. A New York brand to the very core, Coach’s first foray into advertising its handbags can be traced to 1962, when its first campaign was introduced to theatergoers who visited the city, during the brand’s Bonnie Cashin era. Cashin famously introduced the brass toggle to Coach bags, an innovation that has continued for decades.

 

 

THIS IS A COACH BAG

1980s:  Coach’s advertising, throughout the Eighties, focused a campaign on the Coach bag itself. The tag line “This is a Coach Bag” was adapted from the registration stamp on the inside of all Coach bags. It’s still used today.

 

 

AMERICAN LEGACY

1994 – 1996: To reinforce Coach as a classic American brand, this campaign celebrated individuals who contributed to the American heritage by featuring their descendants in an environment associated with their ancestors — and carrying Coach bags.

 

 

LIVING LEGENDS

1997 to 2001: This campaign was developed by Reed Krakoff when he joined Coach, to support the evolution of the classic Coach brand from “one look, one leather” to a modern brand with multiple product platforms. This campaign featured contemporary celebrities of all ages, including Milla Jovovich, Alek Wek, Katie Holmes, Julianne Moore, Holly Solomon, John Irving, Noah Wyle and Eddie, the dog from Frazier. The campaign was photographed by big-name photographers, including Peter Lindbergh, Mario Testino and Mikeal Jansson.

 

MODERN LIFESTYLE

 

2001 – Present: Each season, the campaign evolves and features the new collections either through fashion imagery or as a still life. Most recently, craftsmanship photography has been incorporated, reinforcing its heritage as a classic American brand.

 

 

MEET THE STARS

The famous faces appearing in Coach advertising over the years.

Gwyneth Paltrow
Milla Jovovich
Ruby Aldridge
Jessica Joffe
Jaime King
Elisa Sednaoui
Joan Smalls
Lily Aldridge
Carolyn Murphy
Lara Flynn Boyle
Julianne Moore
Candice Bergen
Iris Apfel
Kate Bosworth
Monet Mazur
Peggy Lipton
Kidada Jones
Olivia Wilde
Bijou Phillips
Emily Mortimer
China Chow
Leelee Sobieski
Jennifer Jason Leigh
Gretchen Mol
Elisha Cuthbert
Irina Lazareanu

 

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