American Marketer


Ralph Lauren designs polo shirt to support Japan relief efforts

March 24, 2011

Polo hope


In response to the tragic events in Japan, Ralph Lauren has designed a polo shirt whose entire sales will be donated to the United Way Worldwide.

The Ralph Lauren mesh “Japan Hope” polo shirt for women and men will be sold to customers at select Bloomingdale’s, Macy's and Ralph Lauren stores, as well as on, and The shirt will sell for $98.

“This adds value to Polo Ralph Lauren because it shows the sensitive side of the brand,” said Dalia Strum, founder of Dalia Inc. and, New York. “It shows that they are not just a business but rather are deeply concerned about how this disaster is affecting Japan’s society.

“It personalizes their brand by offering their support to help their society recover from this disaster,” she said.

Meshing in

The polo is a trim, modern fit shirt in cotton mesh, finished with the Ralph Lauren embroidered pony on the left chest. There is an applied flag and embroidered “Japan Relief” on the right chest.


Men's Japan polo

It also says “Ralph Lauren” and “United Way Worldwide” logo on the back of the polo. Japanese characters for “hope” are embroidered on the left chest and back.

Consumers can join the ongoing humanitarian effort on the Ralph Lauren site.

All donations collected will assist in long-term recovery needs through the Central Community Chest of Japan, a part of the United Way worldwide network.

Luxury brands such as Ralph Lauren are trying to reach consumers via social media and ecommerce sites to efficiently spread awareness about how to help those affected by the natural disasters in Japan.

Ralph Lauren has spread the word about the Japan Relief polo on its Facebook and Twitter pages.


Ralph Lauren's Facebook page

This is a unique way for Ralph Lauren to give to Japan because this effort displays a selfless endeavor in the Japanese Relief efforts.

Additionally, Ralph Lauren is showing its concern for its Japanese consumers.

“By donating 100% of the proceeds, Ralph Lauren is truly expressing their desire to provide support to those who lost family, friends, homes and possessions,” Ms. Strum said.

“They are also facilitating opportunities for our society to band together and provide support towards these efforts,” she said.


Ralph Lauren's Twitter announcement

Ponying up

Brands such as Bergdorf Goodman, Gilt Groupe, David Yurman, Gucci and Swarovski are also using Facebook and Twitter to encourage consumers to donate money toward the Japan relief efforts.

Bergdorf Goodman uses Twitter to explain different ways that consumers can help, such as buying things that benefit relief victims or Web sites to organizations that are helping those in Japan.

The retailer also devoted a section of its Facebook page to show consumers where they can donate money.

Gucci and Swarovski have offered condolences for those affected and are encouraging their Twitter followers to text keywords such as Red Cross or The Salvation Army to automatically donate $10 to the organization.

“Japan’s market has long embraced luxury goods, so by giving back to their economy and helping their society get back on their feet, this will establish stronger consumer loyalty,” Ms. Strum said. “It’s only natural to show appreciation towards a brand that has provided support during times of need to their consumers.”

Final take

Ralph Lauren Japan Relief Polo