An ad from Aubade's fall 2018 campaign

PARIS — French lingerie label Aubade is gearing up to celebrate its 60th anniversary next year with a change of communications strategy that will encourage its consumers to talk back.

With the “Parlez-vous Aubade?” tagline and the #SpeakAubade hashtag, the brand is seeking to internationalize its footprint, especially in Western Europe, and modernize its way of connecting with its clients.

“I arrived two years ago with the mission to take this beautiful diamond and internationalize it,” explained Aubade deputy managing director Martina Brown at a recent event for trade press that included a presentation at the company’s Paris headquarters and a visit to the Paris Opera to see a performance of Mozart’s “The Clemency of Titus.”

Similar events, intended to highlight the brand’s Parisian heritage and outline its new positioning, will be hosted for consumer press in April next year and for digital influencers next September.

Since Brown joined the company, owned by Swiss company Calida, Aubade has diversified its offer by introducing a broader range of cup sizes and more basic items. A collaboration for fall 2016 with Christian Lacroix was a particular success.

“We are working to modernize the French look, to modernize the comfort,” Brown explained. “Comfort and sexiness shouldn’t be a contradiction.” Given the more than 20 components involved in making a bra, she said, this represents a significant challenge in terms of innovation.

While two years ago, Brown said, the brand’s bestsellers were the same in France as in international markets, this is no longer the case, testament to its expanded offering. A tulle line, Nudessence, was launched this year and will be expanded for fall 2018 in new colorways, for example. “Everyday seduction is a big pillar to expand for us. That richness for a basic line is really our positioning, especially for international markets,” said Brown.

The concept of seduction remains key, however. “It would be a mistake to change our positioning and try to appeal to everyone,” said Brown. Part of Aubade’s success in France, which still represents two thirds of the brand’s sales, has been down to its “lessons in seduction” ad campaign, which for 25 years has been seen across billboards throughout the country.

While a generation of French women grew up with the ads, “it wasn’t very modern anymore,” said Brown. “‘Parlez-vous Aubade’ opens a complete new world of communication for us. We can invite people to talk to us.” The new ads feature similar visuals to those used in the “lessons,” with a woman’s lingerie-clad torso in black and white.

Aubade saw net sales up 6.3 percent to 26.8 million euros, or $29 million at average exchange, in the first six months of 2017, a result parent company Calida said was down to the payoff from its investment in marketing, products and innovation of the past couple of years. The French lingerie market, meanwhile, sank 3 percent in the year to May, according to IFM data.

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