American Marketer

Events / Causes

Gucci appeals to young consumers with music-focused philanthropy

July 25, 2013


Italian fashion house Gucci is attracting young consumers through its Timepieces & Jewelry Music Fund that is giving students in China, Britain and Japan a chance to participate in the Grammy Awards Foundation 2013 Grammy Camp in New York and Los Angeles.

This initiative is part of Gucci Timepieces & Jewelry Music Fund’s three-year partnership with The Recording Academy. Gucci is likely aiming to draw in younger consumers with its music-themed, charity partnerships.

“Sponsorship of an international music competition for students is a good approach to create brand affinity with younger audiences,” said Ian Foley, a Portola Valley, CA,-based digital marketing strategist.

“The challenge for Gucci is to create an ongoing relationship with music so that there is a more natural brand association in the minds of consumers,” he said.

Mr. Foley is not affiliated with Gucci, but agreed to comment as an industry expert.

Gucci declined to comment directly.

Time for tunes
This year, the brand launched its Music Fund in Britain, extending its previously established presence in China and Japan.

Each Music Fund exists in conjunction with a musical institution that supports young musicians through scholarships and opportunities in the industry.

The label’s Music Fund selected two students from World Heart Beat Music Academy in London, two students from Kunitachi College of Music in Tokyo and five students from Xi’an Conservatory of Music in Xi’an, China.

Students from Britain and Japan attended Grammy Camp July 13-22 in Los Angeles, while students from China will attend Grammy Camp Aug. 11-14 in New York.

Both camps allow students to write and perform music, meet with industry professionals, attend events, visit studios and host a concert at the end of the week.

Grammy Camp 2013 in Los Angeles

As a part of its Music Fund and Grammy partnership, Gucci created the I-Gucci Grammy digital watch collection, the Interlocking Grammy Collection and the Gucci Grammy Jewelry Collection.

I-Gucci Grammy watch

In addition to its Music Fund, Gucci has made music the centerpiece of its watch promotions.

The brand is targeting young music enthusiasts through a Myspace page dedicated to its new unisex Gucci Sync timepiece.

In Gucci’s Sync campaign, the word “Sync” stands for “Social young network community.”

Gucci established the music-focused Myspace profile to allow consumers to connect and share ideas (see story).

In addition to promoting philanthropic causes, Gucci is likely attracting the attention of younger consumers with the music component to its watch promotions.

“This makes Gucci relevant to a new generation and music is cool,” said Marie Driscoll, CEO and chief consultant at Driscoll Advisors, New York. “The philanthropic piece of helping to develop new talent is another plus.

“Shoppers can justify an otherwise unjustifiable purchase with the right philanthropic association, but they aren't necessarily willing to pay more for it,” she said. “They want to feel good without an incremental cost.”

Giving back
Gucci has previously been involved in a number of charitable campaigns.

For instance, Gucci pushed its global philanthropic campaign called Chime for Change through a live concert June 1 that featured big-name performers such as Beyoncé and Ellie Goulding.

Gucci announced The Sound of Change Live concert that is part of its larger Chime for Change program to help women that launched earlier this year at the TED2013 conference. Consumers who bought tickets to the concert were able to choose a charity to support with the proceeds (see story).

Additionally, the brand pushed its international appeal and seven-year partnership with the United Nations Children’s Fund by marketing a line of country-specific handbags, accessories and T-shirts for which a portion of the proceeds to go the organization.

Items in the GG Flag Collection featured an enlarged double-G logo in a flag pattern and 25 percent of proceeds went to UNICEF’s “Schools for Asia” initiative that gives disadvantaged children in Asia- Pacific access to quality education. Gucci raised awareness for this collection with a dedicated email campaign and other digital efforts (see story).

Luxury brands should look to be involved with philanthropic efforts that resonate with the brand’s core values.

“Being involved with philanthropy keeps criticism at bay regarding the hefty prices and superior profits,” Ms. Driscoll said.

“Brands have to choose philanthropic causes wisely,” she said.

Final take

Erin Shea, editorial assistant on Luxury Daily, New York