American Marketer


Hugo Boss targets sailing enthusiasts with the Barcelona World Race app

February 2, 2011

Hugo Boss has a sailing partnership


Hugo Boss has launched a mobile application to let consumers follow the brand’s journey during the Barcelona World Race 2010/11 via videos, images, blogs and tracking the voyage on a map.

Consumers can follow the Hugo Boss boat as it races to the finish line at Barcelona, Spain. The Hugo Boss Sailing application can be downloaded for free in Apple’s App Store and is available for both the iPhone and iPad.

"The application helps [Hugo Boss] a lot because the problem with many events, particularly ones around the world, is that consumers can't experience them because they're on different time zones or they’re not on major networks and getting access is in many ways a problem," said Laura Ries, president of branding consulting firm Ries & Ries, Roswell, GA.

"Having sites and apps gives people a great way to be a part of the events and leverages connection to them," she said.

Navigating the application

The application on the iPad is divided into sections on one canvas, while the iPhone’s components are split into different sections by page.

The sections consist of news and updates, videos, Hugo Boss’ current location, rankings and images.


Screen grab of the application

News and updates are in the form of blogs written by the two men sailing, Wouter Verbraak and Andy Meiklejohn, as well as video and picture updates from the Hugo Boss team on land.

A second section literally tracks the boats as they make their way on their journey with a tracking line that shows each particular boat's course. The Hugo Boss boat is trailed by a blue line while the others are in red.


Hugo Boss' course in the race

The application shows a map of the course and then lists the rankings of the participants.

There is also an updated video section with race updates from team members both on the boat and on land, footage of the boat launch and a Hugo Boss regatta watch.

An additional section shows updated photographs that Mr. Verbraak and Mr. Meiklejohn take from sea and pictures of the race.


Shot taken from the ship Feb. 1

The application also features a live podcast every Friday, where consumers can listen to the two men from the boat as they update listeners on Hugo Boss' progress.

A live call from Mr. Verbraak and Mr. Meiklejohn from Friday

Setting sail

The Barcelona World Race is from Barcelona, around the world and back to Barcelona, via the Cape of Good Hope, Leeuwin and Horn and Cooke Strait, and is approximately 25,000 nautical miles.

The race started on Dec. 31, 2010, and is forecast to be completed at the end of March.

Former skipper Alex Thomson raced for Hugo Boss in the first Barcelona World Race and placed second.

Mr. Thomson was supposed to have raced Hugo Boss’ boat this year, but had to undergo unexpected surgery and then decided to remain at home following a family emergency.

Many luxury brands are taking interest in sport partnerships.

Whether brand executives enjoy watching or participating in sports, or have clients that do, sailing, golf and tennis seem to be heavily associated with luxury brands.

For example, Rolex sponsored US Sailing Rolex Miami OCR Olympic and Paralympic championships in January (see story).

"The idea is that you want to associate your brand with a high level event," Ms. Ries said. "Boating and yachting is very exclusive and prestigious and clearly something that very wealthy individuals are drawn to and follow.

"While football and tennis have a huge mass market, yachting and boating do not have that," she said. "It's important to a small number of people, and having an application like this is a great way to reach a very targeted audience."