Hugo Boss shifts gears with major rebranding

Linda J. Dodson

Dive Brief:

  • As part of its ongoing “Claim 5” growth strategy, Hugo Boss on Wednesday announced logo updates and the launch of “two simultaneous star-studded global campaigns” for the Hugo and Boss brands. Along with forging new brand identities, the company revamped its Hugo Boss e-commerce site, according to a press release.
  • The spring/summer 2022 #BeYourOwnBOSS campaign, launching Wednesday, was shot by fashion photographer Mikael Jansson. The brand has enlisted models Kendall Jenner, Hailey Bieber and Joan Smalls; rapper Future; TikTok star Khaby Lame; South Korean singer and actor Lee Min-ho; British professional boxer Anthony Joshua; Italian tennis champion Matteo Berrettini; and German runner Alica Schmidt to participate in a social media effort that includes “podcasts, behind the scenes, stories, and reels.”
  • The #HowDoYouHUGO campaign, also shot by Jansson, features South Sudanese model Adut Akech; rappers Big Matthew and SAINt JHN; American dancer Maddie Ziegler; and TikTok creators including Vik White, per the release. In addition to content via TikTok and other social media, which includes a dance challenge choreographed by Big Matthew and White, the effort features “guerilla marketing, painted murals, and bus and tram coverage in several cities across the globe.”

Dive Insight:

Hugo Boss is launching these campaigns with the wind at its back. According to a preliminary report on its fourth quarter and full-year 2021 results released earlier this month, the company’s sales last year rose 43% year over year, down just 1% from 2019.

That was thanks in part to a strong fourth quarter, when currency-adjusted sales grew 51% year over year and 12% from 2019 to 906 million euros, with 20% of that coming from e-commerce, the company said. That followed an “impressive Q3,” according to a Jan. 18 research note from GlobalData Retail Analyst Louise Deglise-Favre.

The brands’ momentum was sustained globally, across regions and key markets, with particular strength in Europe and the Americas, the company said. That was true despite rising COVID-19 cases in many areas, thanks to the brands’ pivot to more casual merchandise, increased demand for its more formal assortments at the holidays, “improved consumer sentiment and increased relevance of both brands,” Deglise-Favre said in that report.

The company’s new tactics were actually apparent last year in Milan during its Russell Athletic x Hugo Boss fashion show, Deglise-Favre said by email Wednesday. “The show garnered an impressive amount of social media impressions at the time thanks to the presence of many supermodels and influencers (Gigi Hadid, Irina Shayk and Chiara Ferragni). It also sported the blend of casualwear and relaxed formalwear that was unveiled in this morning’s campaigns, effectively acting as a test for their wider rebranding.”

The campaigns unveiled Wednesday continue that strategy, which clearly targets younger consumers and continues the shift to more casual assortments, she said.

The company’s shift to more casual fashion boosted sales last year, according to GlobalData.

Courtesy of Hugo Boss


“Regarding the choice of influencers and celebrities to feature, it is clear that the brand wants to appeal to Gen-Z and late millennials,” she said. “The diversity of origin of these celebrities also indicate it wants to be a global brand appealing to consumers in all regions.”

In a statement, Hugo Boss CEO Daniel Grieder echoed that, saying the rebrands are designed “to excite new and younger target groups and turn them into fans of our brands. Both campaigns are therefore an important step in further boosting brand relevance and in reaching our goal to become a top 100 global brand in the years to come.”

The company is on its way, according to Deglise-Favre.

“Overall, I believe that Hugo Boss is going in the right direction and that the rebranding has all the elements to be a great success, with great designs featuring the key trends of the past few years (sportswear and bold logos) and a high-budget star-studded campaign with relevant ambassadors to support it,” she said.

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