Advertising drive featuring bruised rugby players to cut through ‘pretty boy’ smart casual images

House of Fraser has hired advertising agency BMB to help drive brand awareness for Howick, one of the department store’s own casual and formal menswear brands.  In a brave brand statement, House of Fraser aims to build brand equity and capitalise on the popularity of rugby amongst its core audience and recruit new customers through this campaign.

From early September, a series of giant posters featuring Howick’s “Man’s Wear” campaign will appear in selected locations to target rugby fans, including London Irish’s home stadium.

As part of a sponsorship deal between Howick and London Irish, the new advertising campaign will feature photographs of battered and bruised players.  Four of the Premiership Rugby club’s first team Topsy Ojo, Blair Cowan, Andrew Fenby and Shane Geraghty will model Howick’s new season collection.

The campaign has been created to cut through images of unrepresentative ‘clean cut’ models that adorn the adverts of other smart casual tailoring brands.

Tony Holdway, Director of Brand at House of Fraser explains, “The Howick brand takes heavy inspiration from rugby and with a fantastic new collection we felt that a new and refreshing campaign would give it the recognition it deserves. We’re keen to convey a message that resonates with the Howick target audience but also represents House of Fraser’s commitment to supporting the sport throughout the UK and Ireland. Our insight has shown that many of our Howick customers are rugby fans who are searching for authenticity, rather than a brand that promotes a pampered and Photoshopped perception of the modern man.”

Matt Waller, Executive Creative Director at BMB comments “The “Man’s Wear” campaign is designed to force a re-appraisal of menswear advertising. In an age where brands are creating aspirational “pretty boy” images who’d run a mile from a crunching tackle and have little relevance to customers’ lives, we want to show that the Howick man is a real guy who’s not afraid to get his hands dirty and who wears his battle scars with pride.”

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