How Hugo Boss made itself ‘me too’

Going back to my ad agency days in the 80’s, there was a brand that I aspired to be able to buy as for me, it encompassed all the attributes of great design, style and kudos.

By the late 90’s and the early new millennial, I was fortunate enough to be able to visit their stores and enjoy wearing the brand.

I remained a Boss fan for may years to come until I saw their new brand ‘identity’ launch at the start of this year.

It left me feeling completely underwhelmed and worse, for me it was devoid of all the attributes that collectively create a powerful brand.

This was dumbing down at its worst.  A slab sans font completely without distinction which appeared solely to rely on ‘making the logo bigger’.

And this has been implemented to such an extent that many items in their range look like the cheap, imitation brand knock-offs that they have fought so hard against in recent years.

In their press release they described the rebrand rationale as creating ‘two brands for two young demographics through a radical rethink of direction focused on a much clearer targeting of its two brands with Boss aimed at millennials, aged 25-40, with Hugo targeting Gen Z’s, aged under 25.’

This seems an extraordinary move. Not only is their demographic targeting for both brands young, but it’s dismissing the very audience who had historically been their core consumers, responsible for elevating it to the aspirational label that it had become.

Their strategy also suggests that the only way to attract younger consumers is by dumbing-down, by removing all the intrinsic attributes that make a logo distinctive and valued and replacing it with a monolith devoid of all character.

A very sad rebrand indeed.

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