Geoffrey Beene is playing up its philanthropic side for fall.
The apparel brand in September will unveil a marketing initiative that highlights 100 percent of its net proceeds are donated to charity.
The late Geoffrey Beene, who died of squamous cell carcinoma in 2004 at the age of 80, directed his estate to provide support for cancer research and in 2006, the company established the Geoffrey Beene Cancer Research Center at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. Since then, donations have exceeded $144 million.
“We did market research in the spring and found that consumers, from Millennials on up, are interested in companies that give back,” said Merle Sloss, president of licensing for Geoffrey Beene. “And we also found that awareness of Geoffrey Beene’s philanthropic efforts are low. So we hired a new branding and advertising agency to help us with marketing, our logo and advertising to take the brand to the next level.”
That agency, CoolGraySeven, selected Colin Jost, a writer and performer on “Saturday Night Live,” to star in the advertising campaign that will kick off in print, online and outdoor venues at the beginning of September.
Sloss said Jost has “a sense of humor like Mr. Beene had and appeals to a wide spectrum of generations. Everyone from 25 to 55 buys our brand so we wanted someone who could appeal to a broad age spectrum.”
The ads feature a large “100 percent” in the image as well the letters GBGB, which stands for Geoffrey Beene Gives Back. A paragraph that explains the philanthropic efforts is also included.
In addition to the ad campaign, the company has also updated its logo to deliver the same message. Packaging will also be revamped, but Sloss said that will not happen until next season.
Sloss said she hopes to promote the line’s philanthropy at retail as well and will be testing some visual messaging in stores this fall. Macy’s is the brand’s largest customer.
“There’s a lot of sameness in the market at our price point today,” Sloss said. “We needed something to help us stand apart. Knowing that your purchase can hopefully one day help find a cure for cancer can do that.”
Beene has 30 licensees with companies such as PVH Corp., Oxford Industries, Global Brands Group and Randa Accessories for a variety of men’s wear products that generate retail volume between $300 million and $400 million.
Beene’s foundation also funds 40 to 50 charities, including research for Alzheimer’s and heart disease, YMA scholarships, the CFDA Lifetime Achievement Award, programs for veterans, protection of women and children, and protection of animals.