Kipling builds its US brand with celeb-designed purses

To increase awareness and distribution throughout the US, Kipling, better known internationally for its luggage, sought to promote its handbags.

To increase awareness and distribution throughout the US, Kipling, better known internationally for its luggage, sought to promote its handbags.

In 2005, Kipling hired Formula PR as its AOR, but the agency wasn't gaining the traction in fashion editorial necessary to spark interest among the company's female audience.

In 2007, the PR team decided to partner with a celebrity who could position Kipling as a fashion-forward, relevant brand; garner credibility with fashion magazine editors; and spark sales.

Strategy
The PR team tapped singer Fergie to design two "Fergie for Kipling" collections, deciding to expose it to the media and retailers via extensive outreach and events. "We chose a co-branding route and a celebrity because of the nature of the way celebrities are captured," says Chris Fuentes, VP of marketing for Kipling North America.

Michael Olguin, president of Formula, adds that Fergie's name gives the agency license to speak to certain editors. "Fergie is about what's relevant," he says.

Tactics
To kick off the launch, the team threw a party in New York with an appearance by Fergie. Formula reached out to consumer, trade, and online media and blogs via a media tour and giveaways. Through trend pitches, it communicated how Fergie implemented the latest trends in her first collection.

The team also organized a number of in-store bag signing events with Fergie.

Results
Fuentes explains that "Fergie for Kipling" resulted in 750 million media impressions and sparked editorial interest in other Kipling collections. "It gave us credibility to expand and have authenticity with editors," Olguin says. He adds that it generated unanticipated broadcast coverage.

Future
Formula will continue to work with Kipling on other PR initiatives to build brand awareness and gain credibility in the fashion category.

PR team: Kipling North America and Formula PR (both New York)

Campaign: Fergie for Kipling

Duration: August 2007-present

Budget: $168,000

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