American Marketer


Luxury retailers target cycling enthusiasts during Tour de France

July 9, 2014

Mr Porter celebrates Tour de France Mr Porter celebrates Tour de France


Tour de France is underway and luxury brands are latching on to engage race enthusiasts.

The race spreads across most of July, allowing brands to create extended promotions. As luxury brands link themselves to the event July 5-27, a wider audience will likely be reached.

"Tour de France is the industry’s biggest event,” said Chris Ramey president of Affluent Insights, Miami, FL. “Much like America’s Super Bowl, the sport revolves around the event.

“Good health, coupled with fitness, is status,” he said.

Timely promotions

Tour de France begins in the United Kingdom and spreads across to France. The origin of cycling’s premier race sparks a perfect link for London Department store Harrods to run a promotion.

The retailer has a pop-up within the larger department store named Le Tour. This fifth floor store features bikes, clothing and accessories.

7-8 Harrods tour de france

Le Tour pop-up store

The brand also promoted the race through its own history with the event. A Facebook post from the brand explains that in the 1890s there was a cycling craze in the United Kingdom and Harrods offered a cycling track for novice consumers to learn how to bike prior to leaving the store.

7-8 Harrods tour de france history

Harrods' history with race

Mr Porter is also using the Tour de France to engage consumers. The July 1 issue of Mr Porter’s online journal was completely dedicated to cycling.

The issue featured articles about how to patch a tire puncture from an expert, the greatest bike climb routes across the world and how previous winners of the Tour de France have immediately celebrated their win.

7-8 Mr Porter issue

Mr Porter journal issue

Fashion designer Paul Smith teamed with Mercian to create a one-of-a-kind bike for Mr Porter. There is a video in the journal article which has been promoted separately on social media.

The video shows the production behind the bike and the collaboration between Mercian, Paul Smith and Mr Porter.

Paul Smith bike for Mr Porter

The timeliness of the Tour de France offer both Mr Porter and Harrods the perfect opportunity to engage consumers with their bicycling products.

Cycling connections

When luxury brands link up with certain sports, shared values are emphasized.

For example, British automaker Jaguar was taking its social media followers on a historic bike ride from the United Kingdom to France through the Eurotunnel.

Jaguar partnered with Team Sky to cycle under the sea with 2013 Tour de France winner Chris Froome. The brand attempted to circle the ride back to itself and its consumers with the hashtag #KeepPushing, a concept that encourages Jaguar Land Rover and its enthusiasts to continue to push the limits of technology, experiences and goals (see story).

In this case, the connection between the sport and brands may be from the values, but they also stem from the location of the Tour de France and the products sold by brands.

“Mr. Porter brings a unique narrative and broader understanding of cycling,” Mr. Ramey said. “It takes the sport and makes it an art.

“Luxury brands and health possess a natural rhythm,” he said.

“Mr. Porter, by covering cycling, tells its readers what is important to them. Matching values helps to create long term relationships.”

Final Take

Nancy Buckley, editorial assistant on Luxury Daily, New York