Tommy Hilfiger puts Gigi Hadid behind the wheel with Formula One racer
- Tommy Hilfiger has named Lewis Hamilton, British Formula One racecar driver and four-time Formula One World Champion, as the spring 2018 global brand ambassador for its men's line, including Hilfiger Collection, Tommy Hilfiger Tailored and Tommy Hilfiger Menswear, Underwear and Swimwear, a news release announced. The effort features video teasers, print, online, out-of-home media placements and consumer activations.
- Hamilton, regarded as one of the greatest Formula One drivers in history, has more than 17 million followers across his social media channels, where he gives fans a look behind the scenes of Formula One racing and his personal life, according to the release.
- The men's campaign will run alongside the brand's women's advertising, which features brand ambassador and supermodel Gigi Hadid. Tommy Hilfiger created a one-minute video featuring Lewis and Hadid driving a Mercedes-AMG GT S at Pocono Raceway and using a dash cam to show their reactions to each other's driving skills.
By tapping Hamilton as a brand ambassador, Tommy Hilfiger is likely hoping to leverage his millions of social media followers and clout in the racing world to make an impression on consumers. The "Driving School" video is of a type that frequently nets a lot of viewer interest and sometimes goes viral. Hamilton created a similar video featuring James Corden for Puma in 2014, which has racked up nearly 2.5 million hits on YouTube.
Hamilton might make a good fit for Tommy Hilfiger given the fashion house's associations with luxury and sport, which both fit the Formula One mold. When deciding on what celebrities ambassadors or influencers to work with, 85% marketers say those with relevant audiences and strong followings are critical, per Celebrity Intelligence research. While fashion brands like Tommy Hilfiger use famous faces in their marketing strategies, celebrity partnerships may not be the best way for marketers to reach younger consumers like millennials and Gen Zers. Seventy-eight percent of millennials reported disliking or being indifferent to celebrity endorsements, and 27% said they "disagreed" when asked if they would make a purchase based on a celebrity endorsement, according to research from Roth Capital Partners.
Tommy Hilfiger and Formula One have a history of working together. Recently, the fashion brand announced a multi-year partnership as the "Official Apparel Partner" for the four-time World Champions Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport. The brand also sponsored the Lotus Formula One team in the '90s, and was the first non-automotive brand to sponsor Ferrari's Formula One team in 1998, according to the release.