This is Part II of Case Loewe.
*** Note: As the analysis of Case Loewe is becoming too long, it is currently organized in three parts. This is the structure of the three posts in this blog.
Loewe Collection Oro Message: Loewe, did you say traditional and outdated?
Measuring the extent of the negative reaction to Loewe’s video.
Viral Diffusion Process: Measuring the Evolution of Video Views
How serious are 500.000 video views with negative reviews for Loewe brand equity in Youtube?
Part II: Loewe Is Dead. Long Live Loewe!
1. Measuring the direct negative impact of the campaign. An update.
2. About the target of the marketing campaign
3. About the channel used to present the campaign
4. About the genre chosen in the commercial.
5. Communications Crisis at Loewe: Crisis, What Crisis?
1. The value for Loewe of a negative rating
2. The value for Loewe of a positive rating
3. Monitoring the reaction of viewers after the crisis.
4. Reaching the desired target, as never before
5. A substantial increase of people loving Loewe (+39% or +157%)
6. New targeted customers discovering old Loewe products… and loving it
7. Reaching International Markets, As Never Before
8. The role of parodies and spoofs: parodies of a parody
9. Tangible Benefits: Increase of Twitter Followers of 21% in one day
10. Tangible Benefits: A Sharp Increase Of Loewe Followers’ Engagement in Twitter and The Social Media
11. New Dimension of Loewe in Social Media Brand Visibility
12. Sharing My Loewe Experience. Photos Upload By Twitter Users
Part II: Loewe Is Dead. Long Live Loewe!
This post is the Part II of our analysis of the ‘Case Loewe’. Based in our measurements on social media impact and content analysis, we are trying to tackle the reputation impact for luxury brand Loewe of the crisis created by the company launching an ad designed as a viral marketing strategy that turned tremendously negative in terms of reaction by viewers of the video.
We will try to prove in this second post that Loewe will gain a lot of benefits from this apparently devastating campaign. As always, our analysis and conclusions are driven by data analysis, more than following my own feeling and perceptions about the case.
The controversy emerged when a Youtube video created by Loewe to present the new Madrid Oro Collection 2012 bags reached viral status becoming a Twitter Trending Topic. There was a negative consensus among viewers, accusing the young models appearing in the ad as stupid, naïve and pathetic. The controversy lasted for days and the videos reached extraordinary number of views. Many people and experts consider this marketing campaign as a disaster and a tremendous mistake by Loewe.
You can watch here the controversial video. You can follow the statements made by the models, as they are subtitled in English.
Loewe has made available the commercial in its short version. This edited and shorter version version becomes a more conventional fashion video, as it consists in a combination of images and music. The controversial comments and remarks by models have been excluded in this new version. You can watch it here.
Stating at this point that Loewe has something to win after the massive negative impact of this terrible video may sound ignorant, stupid, pretentious, just provocative or a combination of all of them.
I assume that I am taking in this post a very minority position, and that I at this point of the reading I am facing a natural opposition from readers familiar with this case that consider it a complete branding mistake. I am playing the role of a contrarian, and I am conscious that I have the charge to demonstrate that I count with tangible evidence to support my position.
I have tried to prove in the previous post that I am not ignorant or unaware of the catastrophic negative impact of the campaign. On the contrary, we have shown data and figures that reflect an extraordinary and probably unprecedented negative reaction to a marketing campaign.
1. Measuring the direct negative impact of the campaign. An update.
As a way to summarize the results, we present the basic facts concerning the measurement of the impact, updated with current numbers. In our previous post we showed results right in the aftermath of the campaign, with data after two days the emergence of the crisis. Now we count with information covering two additional days.
In our first post we showed that views of the controversial video reached the half million mark. Now, it has exceeded the 1 million mark, by far. This refers solely to the official video about Collection Oro 2012, plus the complementary videos presenting the models individually. But in the meanwhile have grown substantially parodies and spoofs based in the original video. We distinguish between parodies of the original video that modify the sound but maintain the original images, and spoofs that are critics created by video bloggers that don’t use the original images and Loewe bags. All together, these videos linked to Collection Oro 2012 make more than two million views in Youtube.
New content does not modify greatly the picture obtained previously concerning the share of positive-negative ratings by Youtube viewers: 93% are negative. This is a rare unanimity of people disliking a video content.
Total number of views sounds quite impressive for a diffusion of a commercial. How relevant they are for Loewe as a brand? We have a perspective of it if we estimate their weight compared to all videos about Loewe in Youtube.
The updated data shows that currently the videos linked to the current controversy represent 65% of all content about Loewe. 44% corresponds to the content created by Loewe, and 21% are the parodies and spoofs. As previous content is almost all positively rated and almost all new content receives negative votes, the distribution shows also the present share of positive-negative reviews of Loewe’s content in Youtube.
The verdict of the direct negative impact of the campaign is unquestionable: devastating. This was in fact the title chosen to present the Part I of this reputation crisis case.
Our goal now in this post is to respond to the question about how harmful this negative impact is for the brand equity of Loewe. Our answer is that, paradoxically, we feel that Loewe brand value has increased… if Loewe assumes coherently its newborn brand profile.
There are some people and even experts praising this marketing movement on the common ground that ‘it is good for a brand if all people it talking about you, even if they do not say nice things about you’. This is not at all our reasoning and assessment of this case. It is true that in some cases (political leaders) this may be a strategy to easily reach your goals. It is much more difficult to admit that it apply also to luxury brands in the fashion industry.
The way to find the positive branding impact of the ‘catastrophic’ campaing is twofold: to assess first how are the perceptions about Loewe brand among the targeted customers, before and after the campaign. Secondly, to evaluate how this campaign has affected loyal Loewe customers.
2. About the target of the marketing campaign
We disagree here also with the diagnostic made by a vast majority of observers who have already commented the case. With almost no exceptions, experts or journalists consider that Loewe has decided to enter into the market of young fashion victims, like the twelve models presented in the video. This choice is the basis of the position taken by each expert to then attack or applause the strategic decision taken by Loewe or, more correctly, by group owner LVMH.
No, my perception is that the targeted group by this ad are no young people in their twenties. I am convinced that the new target chosen by Loewe is active people, mainly women, in the range of ages 30-45. People with a powerful professional career or being part of a wealthy family. People active, ambitious, loving culture, trends and innovation. Loving fashion products that incarnate these values. These people are not those represented in the ad. But these people are not either the ones that people used to associate to the brand Loewe before this ad. Loewe products were associated before the crisis to an elegance always based in quality, tradition and discretion. This profile was highly appreciated by ladies with a conservative fashion approach, and also by aged people. Loewe was typically associated to ‘señoras’, distinguished mature women.
We have shown how Loewe takes the audacious move to use their own models to tarnish Loewe’s own reputation as being ‘my mother’s brand’ or even ‘my great grand mother’ brand. This apparent branding suicide is converted into a shocking paradox by the fact that these statements are made by young trendy models.
As we explained in the previous post, we understand that this is the main message and goal of this marketing campaign: to tell all buyers of luxury fashion products that now Loewe is a trendy, creative and innovative brand. The creative and provocative campaign based in contradictions and extravagance is the tangible proof that Loewe is really calling all people loving ultimate and fresh designs to consider Loewe as the perfect choice. The campaign breaks the schemes of classicism and fashion conservatism, because the products shown in the campaign also create a divorce with the perception of traditional products. Loewe is presenting a collection of bags that are provocative and extravagant by themselves, as they combine the tradition of their ‘Amazona’ bags with these new aggressive fluo colours.
This message is clearly addressed to these active and successful professionals willing to show their personal values with these kind of new products. These professionals are only by exception people in their twenties. It is addressed directly to people above 30 years old, but who do not want to be associated by their wearing as being traditional and moderate.
If this diagnostic was correct, why then choosing very young and inexperienced models, instead of people similar to my suggested target of 30-45 years old people? Because if they had chosen established models they kill all the shocking effects produced in this video. If you eliminate the shock, you block the viral diffusion.
The target was 30-45 years old, active, wealthy, loving the newest fashion proposals, and that were not customers of brand Loewe because they considered it suitable for older people with more traditional approaches, being thus unfit to manifest their own values.
Young between 20-35 are not the main target of the campaing, but are nevertheless an interesting segment for Loewe new brand position. They are not main target because the proportion of young that have the personal financial ability to buy Loewe luxury products is lower (consider that the bags appearing in the ad are sold for 1,600 euros (2,100 US$). They may become costumers more via gifts. They are nevertheless an interesting target segment for Loewe, as each young using a Loewe Oro bag is confirming elder customers that Loewe is a trendy brand loved by luxury fashion victims.
Youger teenager people are not direct target of the marketing campaign, as they are not the natural users. It is interesting for Loewe to attract them not directly as customers, but as brand followers. This increases the aspirational profile of the brand, and increases the desire of being a Loewe user when reaching the appropriate age.
What about people older than 50 years? They are not of course the target searched with this campaign. Loewe assume that they can even become the victims of the new brand positioning. Some traditional and loyal Loewe customers will feel shame with this new extravangant approach and will feel uncomfortable by using in public a bag that has changed its public perceived values. Some of them will stop buying Loewe products, at least in the short term. But we cannot exclude –at all- that many other mature and aged Loewe users will love the new reputation created around Loewe (once that the strong direct negative reaction of the ad passes away). They will become the users of a luxury product that now is also accepted and appreciated by younger customers. They will find that their tastes and fashion choices are now recognized as trendy. Nevertheless, Loewe does not want that mature customers wear products designed for younger segments, in order to ensure that opinion see in practice that Loewe is not anymore the brand for old wealthy people.
Loewe is now (20 March 2012) starting to expand the use of the Oro collection 2012, now that the social media enters into more clam waters. They have included a selection of photos of the models. They have proposed also a collage of photos that provides the interpretation of what Loewe considers is the lifestyle of a Oro 2012 bag owner. It represents the profile of someone with extremely wealthy conditions in a classy but young atmosphere. We still mantain our key of lecture of the marketing campaign.
You can contrast our diagnostic with the official statements by Stuart Vevers, Loewe Artistic Director, concerning his views for the luxury brand for the next decade:
As ostentation is replaced with a taste for the refined, Loewe will continue to focus on its core values of creativity and craftsmanship exemplified by the most sumptuous bags, prestigious leather and suede clothing for men and women, silken scarves carrying tales of Spain and, of course, all the promise of its famous gifts in beautiful packaging. Retail design, starting with the Marqués de Dos Aguas store in Valencia, is now the responsibility of international architect, Peter Marino. “This is a great time to reinterpret the DNA of a noble House to which so many Spaniards have a deep emotional attachment”, says Stuart Vevers. “There’s a pulled together, almost aristocratic sexiness to Spain that I’m trying to do a provocative take on. I want people wherever they are to say, ‘That’s really Loewe!’ “Everything starts with a delight to the senses. Loewe – where one touch tells the story”.
Stuart Vevers, Loewe site
Loewe had different options to reach the desired main target of customers (30-45 years old), selling a credible message. The option chosen was through social media channels.
3. About the channel used to present the campaign
If Loewe wanted to reach specifically the segment 30-45 female and male interested in luxury fashion products they may have considered fashion and women’s magazines. This choice had two incovenients. The first one, is that it circumscribes the impact of the campaign and the new brand proposal to local Spanish newspapers. We will come back later to this point, but it is also clear that one of the strategic goals pursued by LVMH is to build Loewe Madrid as the brand of the group with strong Spanish flavour, but with international reach and awareness. Launching an international campaing in fashion magazines in several countries presenting a Spanish brand with limited visibility would be extremely costly and probably poorly effective. The second inconvenient of using the natural channel of specialised magazines is that they are also bought by women older than 50 years. Those are the traditional target of Loewe, and is the one that could feel more dissatisfaction and perplexity by a rebranding movement that imply a modification of the secular brand values. If the marketing strategy can also limit the exposure to their loyal traditional customers, it is better, and this is not possible going to fashion magazines.
The option of a short commercial to be aired in TV suffers from similar shortcomings. The 20 seconds format imposes a lot of creative limitations for sending in an effective way that now Loewe is a trendy luxury brand non anchored anymore in discretion and tradition. If this is made using a shocking message in order to capture attention, thi may affect adversely current loyal but old fashioned customers.
And there was the option finally chosen, to tell all the story exclusively using social media platforms. The content was perfectly designed to always stay in the social media sphere. By creating a more than three minutes commercial, Loewe prevents that the entire ad goes to television in TV News. It obliges all interested people in watching it to access it through the YouTube platform. This ensures that the natural medium of diffusion remains in the social media world, mainly by Facebook and Twitter comments, reactions and recommendations to view it and to enter into the debate about its content.
The benefits of maintaining the diffusion of the marketing campaign in the social media world is that, if successful, it ensures that it will reach all the desired new target, as Twitter and Facebook is predominantly used by people in the range 15-50 years. Also, the active successful established professional who are the main target are heavy users of all these social media tools. Finally, social media is the platform that prevents the more its access by older people with traditional values who are the main asset as current consumers of the brand. In conclusion, Loewe made the perfect choice of the platform to present the new collection, and designed properly the commercial in order to ensure that it remained always in this social media platform.
Once the platform to communicate the new collection of bags is made, the marketing or communication department is asked to propose the best way to ensure that it actually reach the target objective.
4. About the genre chosen in the commercial.
We have the target, the channel, and now we need to consider the genre chosen by the marketing department to explain the story that Loewe is from now on a luxury brand perfectly suited by active and professional successful women and men loving trendy and quality fashion proposals.
The choice of the genre required two main components: it needed to provoke bold reactions (positive or negative) in order to engage the viral process to ensure that the new main target is reached. The second element of the genre is that once the main target is reached, their ability to appreciate the brand values linked to the luxury product that they are discovering (the bags) is not punished by the characteristics of the envelope (the ad).
There are many companies that have exploited directly social media virality as direct and unique channel for a marketing move. Those are the marketing campaign based in Youtube videos that are longer than one minute. These videos can be watched only in the social media platforms (in Youtube or in embed formats in Facebook, Twitter or blogs) and cannot go off-line. If the videos produce strong reaction, talking and sharing social media platforms (Twitter, Facebook, sms, whatsapp) ensure the viral diffusion, ‘for free’.
Loewe could consider different genres when designing the campaign with the mission to reach the 30-45 years old audience.
In any case, the genre chosen, either through positive or negative responses, require the following reactions:
· I have seen an incredible video. I am under shock
· Hey, watch this video, it’s simply amazing
· What’s going on with this story that all people is talking about?
· Hell! I have not yet watched the video! Please tell me where I can watch it.
· I thought that you all were exaggerating, but now that I have watched the video I see that it is true.
First option is to create strong a positive reactions.
Motivational and inspirational videos
They create personal positive emotions, that people want to share with friends.
The problem with this approach is that attention and ractions are all focused in the story itself as a whole. The product or the brand never enter into the story as one of the leading protagonists. This is a suitable strategy for creating an association of values to strenghen the perceived values of a brand. But they are not useful for presenting a rebranding strategy willing to present a divorce with previous brand values.
See for instances the cases of Nike and Pantene.
Videos showing extraordinary performances and talent
These videos produce admiration and amazement. In some cases, the brand can be used as theme of the story, and is used as a way to stress one of the brand values. In other cases there is no clear connection with the company brand values, and the viral diffusion simple enhances brand visibility and awareness, linked to something viewed as positive.
This strategy could be followed by Loewe. But the problem of using ‘an amazing video’ is that there are clear risks that the main goal pursued by the luxury company could be lost: its is difficult to design an amazing positive video telling the story that Loewe is no more an old fashion brand.
There is here a couple of examples.
First one is by Honda, and it finds a perfect match between the video content and brand values.
There are two other cases, with weakest relation with corporate brand values. One if them refers to a luxury brand.
GM Sonic with OK Go
Second option is to provoke controversy by generating natural negative reactions combined by some positive reactions by others. Here the debate ensures the viral diffusion. If negative reactions strongly prevail, calls for a company amendment and retirement of the controversial ad also work as activators of the viral diffusion.
We can consider the following options:
Controversy by scandal
Designing a campaign directly tailored to create outrage by many viewers, selecting for instance sexist or obscene, making spoof of a respected and cherished personality or institution
This is an option followed by companies that suffer from inherent bad or poor reputation due to the fact that the sector industry itself is poorly considered (gambling, low cost products and services, sex related industry). It is followed also in some cases by companies whose main target is young costumers and chose a brand strategy based in transgression and provocation.
This strategy has been followed in many cases by companies like Ryannair, Bennetton, Ashley Madison (infidelity contacts).
This option was not suitable for Loewe. It needs to maintain its luxury brand status. Also, a scandalous commercial would not be perceived as a credible proposal coming from a brand perceived as a traditional one. Finally, Loewe is not looking for young customers, but for well established people.
Controversy by extravagance
We have explained in the previous post that we identify extravagance as the option clearly chosen by Loewe with its commercial. All the components of the commercial script are grounded in creating an atmosphere of extravagance.
Extravagance is a reasonable option for a brand in the fashion industry or in the arts. It is a common practice, specially in the haute-couture catwalks presenting season collections of fashion firms. Even if extravagance is shocking, it is considered coherent for a fashion brand, and it is well appreciated by many fashion lovers, even if common public uses to react negatively to extravagance.
The interesting thing of extravagance is that it is always linked to the brand profile of the product or the artists. Extravagance is made by using the brand in an unexpected way. Using extravagance implies that reactions to the ad will all be linked to Loewe and to values connected with extravagance. This option ensures that the controversy will be focused in the brand and in the brand values proposed in the ad.
We have plenty of cases of firms and artists using extravagance. The first artist using extravagance in a systematic way is probably Spanish surrealist painter Salvador Dali.
One of the current references in extravagance is Lady Gaga. Here some of the well know extravagant proposals.
In both cases, extravagant personal branding are coherent with their artistics values.
Showing the models with the bags over the head is a soft Dalí-Lady Gaga strategy.
As explained in detail in the previous post, extravagance is the key of lecture of all the content of the commercial. It is extravagant that a company depicts itself as old fashion, and it is extravagant that these statements are made by young models wearing Loewe products. It is extravagant that modern looking models (piercings, half skinhead) do not say scandalous or provocative comments, but instead very naive and banal comments about love and life. It is extravagant that the music chosen for a fashion ad is a circus-like rithm.
Extravagance is designed to create controversy. There will be negative reaction among people that see is as pure provocation and lack of good taste and moderation, which corresponds in some cases with people attached to traditional aesthetic values. Extravagance will be appreciated by those seeing behind it values like innovation, creativity, audacity, authenticity, independency, courage, exclusivity. Those people loving extravagant proposals don’t care or are event motivated by the opposition and negative reaction of the majority.
All this reflection lead us to conclude that extravagance was the perfect match chosen by Loewe to announce a dramatic shift of brand values.
Extravagance is an aesthetic genre. It can be used by designers, artists and actors. Playing extravagance is simply a role, not the reality. This is why I was so amazed to see so many observers reacting to Loewe ad by insulting directly the models accusing them of being stupid, immature, subnormal or cretins. This naïve reaction is like insulting the actor playing the role of an assassin. I was really surprised to find this kind of reactions in newspapers and professional blogs.
It is sure of course that even if Loewe was looking for creating controversy as means to create viral marketing, they did not expect to create unanimity against the ad. There was only one camp in the controversy, as only a really small share of viewers manifested publicly that they liked the commercial.
5 Communications Crisis at Loewe: Crisis, What Crisis?
Loewe publicly disclosed the long video presenting the Oro 2012 campaign by 13 March late in the evening. By 14 March early in the morning it became Twitter Trending Topic. It was soon evident that it would become viral as the immediate reaction of almost all people watching the video was a call effect to all personal contacts ‘Hey! Look at this. Incredible!’. It was soon clear that the reaction was almost unanimously negative. Loewe Corporate Communication and/or Reputation team had time enough to execute the ‘Contingency Plan’ for an ad designed to become controversial that was becoming too controversial and negative. If Loewe had not planned the ‘Plan B’ ex ante, it had all the day to design it, as Loewe was the issue concentrating all social media attention, and soon after also traditional media.
How did Loewe react to the reputation crisis? by doing nothing.
Before showing you the communications crisis strategy followed by Loewe, I would like to refer to some examples of communications crisis cases that we have considered in this blog.
Case FIFA. Bribery in Bidding Process: – FIFA took some weak disciplinary measures against top FIFA officials alleged of corruption. Instead of acknowledging that FIFA structure suffered from governance problems, they defended that their standards were good enough. Our measurement of media reaction shows that FIFA lost reputation.
Case Grand Resort Pigeon Forge, TN – The Dirtiest Hotel in America according to Tripadvisor. Grand Resort denied the validity of Tripadvisor’s users reviews. The Hotel management tried even to show that their cleanliness standards were excellent. They eventually sued Tripadvisor. We show in our analysis that Grand Resort was missing the opportunity to improve quality service by discarding the valuable information provided by angry customers.
Case Bankia. Becoming a Twitter TT due to a Housing Eviction– Activists succeeded in showing to Twitter users the problems of a family about to be evicted from a house with a unpaid mortgage to Bankia, creating the hashtag #HoyEsBankia. Reaction by Bankia was to stop the judicial order execution. No comment at all to this event was made by the bank. Bankia succeeded by its decisions, more than with declarations, to stop the viral social media crisis.
Case FedEx. Reacting to video of a worker throwing a computer – FedEx showed an incredible fast reaction, as they upload a video by a top representative from FedEx presenting excuses to customers. The video was positively rated by viewers and reaches half million views. Complete analysis of the impact of this communications crisis is pending.
Case AFLAC. Disgusting jokes about tsunami in Japan by your ‘voice’ (or download pdf version)– The actor giving voice to the duck, the mascot of AFLAC published some tweets with awful jokes about tsunami in Japan. Reaction from AFLAC was bold and immediate. They fired within hours the actor. Our media content analysis shows that the reputation of the company and the duck was preserved.
Case Blackberry. Outage November 2011. We show that the poor communications crisis management repeated the same mistakes made in April 2007 outage.
Case McDonalds. #McDStories or how to create a Bashtag – We commented this case within the analysis of a special promotion made by Telepizza. A Twitter conversation launched by McDonalds become soon a viral conversation against McDonalds. McDonlads stopped the promotion of the hashtag within two hours. McDonals official acknowledged that they were learning how to use social media.
Case Mourinho Real Madrid. Press Conference Accusing UEFA. Real Madrid lost the first leg of the UEFA Champions League 2-0 at home, against FC Barcelona. Real Madrid coach Mourinho considered that the red card for Pepe was determinant in the result. He accused UEFA to complot in favour of FC Barcelona interests. Real Madrid increased worldwide media impact of this affaire by launching new accusations against FC Barcelona. Our media content analysis shows that this controversy was damaging international brand reputation of Real Madrid. Later Real Madrid took a communications crisis of silence after Mourinho was sanctioned by his statements.
Case Saxo Bank. Using a sponsoree scandal to strengthen your brand values (or upload the pdf version). Alberto Contador was condemned to two years ban of competition for consuming doping substances. We show that his naming sponsor took advantage of this crisis to present themselves as a financial institution supporting its customers in both good and bad times, as they were doing with the cycling team. We show how this strategy has been praised, specially in Spain.
We learn that in general, communications crisis based on denial or in inaction tend to unsolve the crisis and tarnish corporate reputation.
This inaction seems to be the strategy followed by Loewe management. There were no statements at all during the two days when the social media controversy peaked.
We have mentioned in our previous post that things went not exactly as expected, as Loewe took some decisions in reaction to the crisis. It decided soon to disclose the access to comments in the videos of the campaign located in their official Youtube channel. They also decided to withdraw a video commercial about the perfume ‘Aire’ that was initially upload in the aftermath of the crisis. Finally, they moved the controversial video away from the main page of the Youtube channel.
El Mundo was able to get comments by the artistic director of the video campaign, Luis Venegas. He manifested surprise that people reacted shocked by ‘spontaneous’ and very candid comments about love.
Sobre las opiniones de los chicos de la campaña, Venegas cuenta: “Son frases que han dicho ellos. No hay un guión, pero me sorprende que pueda crear problemas que alguien manifieste que es guay sentirse enamorado. ¿Alguien opina lo contrario?”. El Mundo, 14 March 2012
There was an additional statements, revealing: my task and the command I received was not to create a sociological study about Spanish youth, but simply to show bags from a fashion firm. He felt happy and proud with the results obtained.
The models were apparently no allowed to comment about the design of the campaign. El País got some comments from the majority of them amateur models.
Maria Rosenfeld pointed out that ‘they have obtained what they were looking for, and well more than expected, as all people is talking about this ad’ She ads, ‘this was a joke. I am never combed like this, I don’t speak like this. It was funny. Martín Rivas said that ‘the result of the campaign is excellent, as it is for Loewe products’ (El País, 14 March 2012)
The critics continued during the following days. As all jokes and insults were addressed to the models and their comments, some analysts commented that Loewe was lacking of sense of responsibility by the absence of official reaction.
In accordance with this approach, the media confirm that Loewe refuses to provide an statement judging the results of the campaign (El Economista, 15 March 2012). There was no retraction or signs of attrition from the company.
Of course, this absence of reaction in the midst of a severe crisis has been criticised as another corporate mistake.
There is only a reason that may you to choose corporate silence: the denial of the existence of a reputation crisis. It is hard to accept this if you are a luxury brand and the commercial that you have just launched receives 95% of negative rating. But if the company plan the strategy a controversy by extravagance, rejection and ridicule is the price to pay for reaching your strategic goals. It is clear that these days are uncomfortable for all people working at Loewe. But if all was planned, you do not need to react and try to change the movement of the social media waves.
Then came the first official reaction linked to the controversial campaing, again by using social media platform.
Loewe posted a new entry about Oro Collection 2012 in both Twitter and Facebook official accounts.
This is the message and the content:
— Loewe Madrid 1846 (@LoeweMadrid) marzo 16, 2012
When I saw it, I personally considered (and tweeted it) as a brilliant communication crisis statement.
What was Loewe telling as communication crisis with this message?
My understanding is that after their silences Loewe was confirming that the social media tsunami and its impact in Loewe brand was not a reputation crisis but a rebranding desired crisis. And than the new brand emerging after this crisis was not a provocative brand oriented to young consumers. The new Loewe aspires to become a trendy brand to be shown by customers and that all people identify it: ‘Look, it’s a Loewe’. And that the ones using proudly Loewe products are neither old women, not young alternative people, but active women professionally succesful, loving fashion, trends, elegance and quality. This is a brand for Angelina Jolie, Leighton Meester and Kylie Minogue, and by all other people in their age (not in the tweenties) admiring these role models.
Some top members of Loewe management were obliged to answer some questions to journalists when the firm presented the new refurbished flagship store in Barcelona.
Accepting this interpretation of the message provides a strong confirmation of the hypothesis and basic lines of analysis proposed in this post. Loewe has decided to take a ‘once in a life’ decision concerning the brand position of Loewe, and this required to destroy many (not all) well established perceptions about Loewe brand values. This taks could be reached only by creating a tremendous controversy.
This is Lisa Montague, CEO at Loewe. According to El Mundo, Montague confirms that loewe is in a process of creating a new brand profile; there is a strategy of rebranding, and there is a viral marketing strategy. They do not come yet to conclusions about the impact of the campaign. ‘Time will tell us’. (El Mundo Orbyt, 21 March 2012).
There is another statement by Stuart Vevers, Artistic Director. He commented that even if not having Twitter, he knows all things that have been said about the campaing. ‘Loewe is changing. Of course I have an opinion (about the impact of the campaign), but my mouth is closed’ (El Mundo, 21 March 2012)
If the communication strategy, top managers and the Twitter message shown tell us that Loewe does not see any particular problem in how the campaign is affecting its brand reputation, this imply that even after the terrible attacks by social media users, Loewe considers the marketing strategy not as a complete failure, but probably as its opposite.
So, let’s start proving with facts that this risky marketing decision was not a complete failure, but it contains all the seed to become a tremendous and brilliant success.
As this Part II was getting definitively too long, I have moved the analysis on how we measure the positive impact of this crisis to a new entry in this post. Please visit