Welcome to Will It Stick? podcast, where hosts Melissa and Alexis cover creative advertising campaigns, PR stunts, and marketing activations that brands of all shapes and sizes pull, and dive into the research and data to understand if it worked.
So, today we are going to talk about Gucci. How could we not – when everyone is talking nonstop about the new movie House of Gucci. This brand is iconic for so many reasons. Let’s start at 1923, and picture yourself on the streets via del Parione in Florence. This is where Guccio Gucci opened one of his first small shops, the House of Gucci selling leather goods. Guccio Gucci was born into an entrepreneurial family, he was born in Florence to a humble family of Italian leather craftsmen.
In 1899, when he was old enough to contribute to the family funds 18 he started working as a bellboy at the prestigious Savoy Hotel in London. There he became fascinated and almost star-struck by the jet setters from all over the world carrying their luggage in and out of the hotel. I mean, he was born into a family of craftsmen so he knew he could provide these upper-class people with better crafted higher quality luggage. So, he knew being a bellman wasn’t his calling, so he went back home to work for an Italian leather company called Franzi and sharpened his skills, and after a few years, he decided to break off and pursue his entrepreneurial dream of creating his own luggage company creating luggage. Shortly after starting his business, in 1930s, leather was in short supply due to the League of Nations embargo against Italy. So, Guccio was forced to become an innovator and explore other available textiles and canvases, which led to the creation of the iconic Gucci GG interlocking diamond pattern canvas. In 1938, Guccio expanded his business to a second location in Rome. He also employed his sons, Aldo, Vasco and Rodolfo to hold the reins down while the business boomed. The business was booming so he decided to branch out into equestrian equipment and other leather goods. Hence, where the famous horsebit symbols originated. The word began to spread across the world about the famous Italian leather goods company House of Gucci.
Gucci became an internationally known luxury brand after World War II and over the next two decades, the company flourished. With the business’s success, Rodolfo Gucci was able to open the third store on Via Condotti, Milan, in 1951, before expanding outside of the nation. Then in 1953 Guccio Gucci died. He wanted to keep the business within his home country. However, two weeks before his passing, his three eldest sons opened their first international boutique in New York.
Despite Guccio’s untimely death, the House of Gucci bloomed in the USA thanks to American celebrities who doted over the luxury label’s designs. This is how they really began to become famous. The old-school influencer way. Their main marketing tactic in the begging was just word of mouth. They produced high-quality leather goods that everyone around the world wanted. And when they started distributing in the US and opened their first store in NYC, it was over, celebs went nuts. They expanded into fashion and began renaming and naming bags after celebrities, like in 1961, when they renamed their bag known as “ Fifties Constance” to “Jackie”. This was after Jackie Kennedy, the then-first lady of the United States of America wore the bag, giving it insane popularity. I mean everything Jackie wore, people were infatuated by. She is one of America’s fashion icons.
Later on in 1966 Gucci made a special flora scarf print for Grace Kelly, the then princess of Monaco. And this just exploded the brand. 1975, Gucci released its first fragrance. The fragrance is now a huge success and is sold in Gucci stores as well as other stores. It gets really crazy from here.
We talk about:
- How Tom Ford added sex to the brand in the 90s and totally elevated it
- How Lenny Kravitz made Gucci an adjective … That’s gucci!
- How Gucci utilizes celebs and influencers in the brand, after they prove they are already a Gucci superfan
- How Gucci CRUSHES the game when it comes to targeting Gen Z…something many other luxury brands are not even attempting.
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Check out some of the great articles we sourced to gather all the facts for this episode.