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Marc O’Polo reveals rebranding and FW21 campaign at Paris event

By Huw Hughes

Oct. 12, 2021

Business |Interview

All images: Jonas Lindstroem for Marc O'Polo

Swedish-German premium brand Marc O’Polo has revealed its Fall/Winter 2021 campaign at an event in Paris that also marked the start of a rebranding and internationalisation strategy with a heightened focus on modernity, sustainability and youth.

The campaign was revealed at the Ellia Art Gallery on Wednesday evening to an audience of some 300 guests from the international fashion scene. Entitled ‘It’s On Us’, the campaign video, shot by director and photographer Jonas Lindstroem, is the first in the brand’s history to put sustainability at its forefront, with a focus on outerwear such as iconic puffer styles with Responsible Down Filling.

The campaign captures a young cast running through an expanse landscape across a backdrop of vast forests, raging rivers and soaring mountains. The entire image campaign is CO2-neutral, with all production emissions offset in cooperation with ClimatePartner.

It comes after Marc O’Polo earlier this year announced a target to be climate neutral by 2025. Currently, the brand says 70 percent of its products are sustainable. It aims to increase that to 100 percent by 2023.

International focus and new store concept

“This is very much an international rebranding,” Marc O’Polo’s director of marketing and growth Sandro Schramm told FashionUnited. “Everything we’re doing has to contribute to brand desirability while focusing on a younger target group and making us more international. That last point, in particular, is really key to us.”

The company aims to become “the leading modern, casual and sustainable lifestyle brand in the global premium segment”, Schramm said. “We’re already at that point in some markets, but not all.”

To help in its efforts, Marc O’Polo has upped its media budget by 40 percent for the year as it looks to bolster its awareness in other countries, such as the Netherlands, another key market where the brand currently has over 200 points of sale (POS) for both its menswear and womenswear categories.

For the first time, Marc O’Polo has launched a major media campaign in the Netherlands. Up until now, that’s been reserved primarily for the Germany, Austria and Switzerland (DACH) region.

“The main media investment in the past has always been in the DACH region, but starting from the FW21 season we’re switching that around,” Schramm said. “Today, DACH is our biggest market and we still see huge potential to grow in terms of menswear and for Marc O’Polo Denim, but we’ve reduced the media budget there and shifted it to international markets where we see huge potential.”

Other markets the brand is increasing its media budget in are France, Poland, Russia, Austria, Belgium, Romania, Switzerland and the Czech Republic.

Marc O’Polo is taking this same international-heavy approach with the expansion of its new store concept. “We’re opening shop-in-shops really quickly, especially on an international level,” Schramm said. Just last week, Marc O’Polo opened a new shop-in-shop in Galeries Lafayette in Paris, for example. By the end of the year, the brand will have more than 7,500 square metres of new store design.

While the company still has no physical presence in the UK, Schramm said it is “definitely a market we are looking into” but there is not yet a timeline in place. “We’re taking a close look at the distribution possibilities and trying to find out who might be the perfect match for a partnership,” he said.

Younger target consumer and menswear makeover

The company has also revamped its menswear design following a major desirability study of its DACH customers. “We did a lot of strategic homework, and we’ve changed the design strategy,” Schramm said. “We’ve focused more on increasing product attributes such as contemporary casual, Scandinavian simplicity and sustainable innovation.”

The brand kicked that off with the spring-summer 2022 menswear collection and is now working on the same for womenswear and Marc O’Polo Denim.

Another key focus for the brand is to attract younger customers, between the ages of 20 and 44. One way of achieving that is through working with influencers, which the brand said was of “key importance”. That was evident at the Paris event which was bustling with young content creators. The brand said it has increased its budget for influencers by around 20 percent.

Marc O’Polo’s rebranding follows a wider corporate strategy launched at the end of last year, in which the company set out a target to double its annual sales to 1 billion euros, and the majority of those sales to come from international markets. A timeline for those targets hasn’t yet been set.

Concluding his thoughts on the new campaign, Schramm said: “This is the first time we’re running a marketing campaign of this dimension. We’ve increased the media budget, and now it’s the right time because we have adjusted our product-, marketing- and distribution strategy with the new store design. This is the moment to really get out there with the huge marketing campaign to tell people: ‘This is the new Marc O’Polo.’”