Clubhouse Apparel Brand Landscape
When it comes to sports marketing, premium brands love premium performers. Partnerships on this scale deliver much more than product promotion. They play into people’s aspirations for their own status, performance and lifestyle. With designer labels creating sports collections that look as good in the clubhouse as they do on elite athletes, premium prices might seem a small price to pay to a slice of society who are partial to ‘athleisure’.
Statuesque sports stars at the top of their game make good models for premium apparel, but their power as personalities often lies with the following they bring to a brand. The biggest players in sponsorship have proven the concept choosing traditional sports with broad appeal. For example, football. Hugo Boss are the most active, sponsoring entire teams in formal wear partnerships including Real Madrid, Paris Saint Germain and Tottenham Hotspur. J.Lindeberg are also very active with ambassador sponsorships in Golf and Snowsport.
On the ground sponsorship activations at live sports events are also popular. Ralph Lauren celebrated its 13-year partnership with Wimbledon last year by kitting out every individual involved, from ball boys to umpires and creating a capsule collection in the green, purple and white palate. Ralph Lauren prides itself on reputation within a premium audience. With this Grand Slam’s heritage steeped as much in style and elegance as it is sporting excellence, the partnership is as seamless as strawberries and cream.
Golf is a common link between the brands. The pace of the game ensures every brand a huge chunk of exposure through airtime, but like the game has, premium brands are recognising the need for modernisation. Europe and the USA seem to be the hubs of premium apparel brands, but the rise of the Asian middle class has recently highlighted the region as particularly relevant to premium apparel brands.
2018 saw brands build new sports marketing relationships and turn their hand in recognition of cultural issues to build brand apathy. Gant and Ralph Lauren now make shirts from recycled ocean plastic. J.Crew have introduced a fair-trade denim collection. DKNY went fur-free. With young consumers showing a high regard for values positioning In the quest to be different, market leading brand, Calvin Klein, is undertaking a mammoth re-brand to bring new immersive experiences for consumers. Fresh opportunities with the old guard of premium brands in new creative ways.
- Key Players
- Sports marketing
- Spotlight – Key sports marketing activity
- Rights-holder branded sports products
- Sponsorship activity and major announcements 2018/19
- Brands and values positioning
- Use of social media
- Social media – content/visual examples
For an example of a full Brand Landscape, see our Sports Apparel and Footwear version.