Co-Founder & Managing Partner
What Every Brand Can Learn From Gucci And Gosling About Selling In The Luxury Market – Or Any Market
Luggage is not inherently sexy. It certainly plays a functional role in our lives, but it’s a category about which people don’t get all that excited. “Low interest,” is how it’s referred to by marketers. Ryan Gosling, on the other hand, is sexy. And cool. At the risk of dating myself, this movie star falls into the same category as Don Johnson in Miami Vice, Paul Newman in The Hustler, Cary Grant in To Catch a Thief, and Sean Connery in, well, just about anything. Irrepressibly naughty-but-nice guys with very good looks. More than this, extremely talented and compelling actors known for bringing special magic to the roles they play.
Given all of the above, it made perfect sense to me that Gucci recently teamed up with Gosling to star in its new Valigeria campaign, featuring the Gucci Savoy collection of luggage and accessories. Knowing that facts about functionality were not going to suffice, let alone entice consumers to buy luggage as high-end as Gucci’s, the luxury brand wisely turned to a celebrity. Not to play by the traditional “Celebrity 101” rules for selling products, mind you, but to play a role. That role being an irrepressibly naughty-but-nice guy experiencing some rather fantastical travel adventures. In other words, the strategy was to forgo product features, forgo typical endorsement tactics and, instead, tell an intriguing story about how the brand fits into peoples’ lives. (Or, at least, how they’d like to imagine it fitting into their lives!) Rather than use Gosling to simply tout product function or pose passively for the camera, Gucci tapped him to be exactly what he is– an actor able to engage an audience and take them into another realm.
From my perspective, this is a great example of what it takes to break through in the luxury market, or any market for that matter, especially wherein social media is the essential medium, and sharing messages is the critical currency. Tell a compelling story. Alessandro Michele, the brand’s creative director, put it this way. “Travel for Gucci was never purely physical. Gucci is the brand that accompanied the artists, writers, actors and directors of Hollywood on their journeys. That is why I wanted the advertising campaign to recount a dimension where the protagonist traverses a “non-place.” In the campaign, envisioned by Michele and captured by British photographer, Glen Luchford, Gosling traverses time and space, setting off from a motel to the beach, and coming across the unknown. Brought along are vintage and contemporary Gucci hard and soft suitcases, duffle bags, trunks, hat boxes and beauty cases made from the brand’s iconic fabrics.
In one image, Gosling is pushing a Gucci luggage-stacked bellboy trolley, reminiscent of a scene from a Wes Anderson film, while sporting a 70’s-style, waist-cinched suit. In another, he’s seen in a Hawaiian shirt from Gucci’s Spring 2022 collection, and elsewhere sitting on the back of a Chevy in a striped suit and a retro-infused skinny tie. That the brand campaign is aptly set to Heart’s hit “Magic Man” is spot on. That Gosling is known in Hollywood for his fashion-forward style, lauded for his sartorial savvy on red carpets around the globe, adds authenticity to the campaign. If you’ve perused social media recently, inauthentic is definitely a non-starter.
Obviously, the luxury market is unique in many ways. Its price points, its badge brands, and the audience it hopes to realistically attract. That said, given that we’re in a marketplace where social media rules, I believe, as I said, that there is something that transcends all categories, and that all marketers can take away from the Gucci-Gosling partnership. Don’t get bogged down in functionality. People don’t share facts. People don’t share photos of celebrities posing with products. People don’t share ordinary in any of its guises. Savvy marketers know that, whether what you’re selling is low-interest or high-end, people are more likely than anything else to share a compelling story about how something fits into their lives. (And, if you can get Ryan Gosling as a star player, that’s pretty cool.)
This article originally appeared in Forbes.
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