American Marketer


Hugo Boss celebrates 30-year Formula 1 partnership with McLaren

February 14, 2011

Hugo Boss is letting its customers play dress-up


Hugo Boss is running the “Dress Me For the Finale” contest in celebration of its 30-year partnership with McLaren that lets consumers design racing overalls which drivers Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button will wear at the Formula 1 grand finale in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

A contest will be held for each Formula 1 race throughout 2011. At the end of the season, all winners will compete for the grand prize, which is to have their overalls worn at the finale.

“The partnership between Boss and McLaren is the longest ever in Formula 1 history between a sponsor and a team,” said Markus Aller, team leader of online media and corporate communications for Hugo Boss, Metzingen, Germany. “Thirty years is a good reason to celebrate this.

"By giving all Formula 1 enthusiasts and our customers the possibility to design the overalls of Jenson Button or Lewis Hamilton for each race, Hugo Boss offers a unique chance to play a huge part in the team - all done in a very contemporary and modern approach,” he said.

Design details

Consumers will have a chance to design an overall for Mr. Button and Mr. Hamilton for each race.


Details can be found on the Hugo Boss Web site

A final design will be picked at the end of the year from all of the nominated overalls. The winning overalls will be worn by both drivers during the final race.

In addition, the designer will be given two free airline tickets, hotel accommodations and grand-stand admisson to the final race. He or she will also get a chance to meet the racers in person.

The contest for the fifth race in Istanbul, Turkey, started on Feb. 8. Hugo Boss has already designed the first four overalls.

Will this work?

A design contest is undoubtedly an unusual challenge for a brand that usually targets affluent males. However, an innovative and interesting approach to capture an appeal to an untapped audience could be a way to differentiate Hugo Boss from its competitors.

Ron Kurtz, president at Atlanta-based American Affluence Research Center, said that it seemed a little frivolous in terms of reaching the Boss male target.

“I suspect this is more about creating news to attract media attention,” Mr. Kurtz said. “Or, perhaps some of the Boss executives have a personal interest in Formula 1 racing and like to attend some of the events.”

Nonetheless, the brand seems to be targeting a younger audience with this endeavor, and is reaching out them with social media marketing, in addition to press releases, mobile marketing, print and through the Hugo Boss Web site.

Will this challenge add value? That remains to be seen.

“I don't see that it poses any risk, other than spending promotional dollars that don't produce much of a return," Mr. Kurtz said. "Certainly there is a segment of the Boss clientele that is interested in Formula 1 racing, and the design contest may be attractive to some of the younger and less affluent males in that category."

Final Take

"Dress Me for the Finale" trailer by Hugo Boss

Rachel Lamb is an editorial assistant at Luxury Daily. Reach her at