Izod is on a mission to convince customers that the brand is fresh, of the moment and can be purchased year-round—not just during the warm summer months and golfing season, but in fall, winter and the holiday season too. As a result, the brand just launched a major marketing effort, with some help from SNL head writer Colin Jost and Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers. Izod hopes Jost and Rodgers can help the brand convince consumers that Izod is always relevant, no matter the season.
“The brand is uniquely strong in the spring and summer, around golf and around the beach holiday, summer holiday vacation. We have a really great strength in those businesses,” said Mike Kelly, CMO, PVH Heritage Brands Marketing and chief innovation officer, PVH. “I want to make sure that we are seen year-round and that we get our due in the fall as well. Aligning with football, aligning with evening parties and get-togethers helps us do that.”
So what was the strategy to cut through the clutter and convince younger, active males to buy Izod? Making a meta ad where the spot’s star, Jost, knows he is in an ad campaign for Izod. In the spot, Jost plays into all the typical menswear ad tropes. He joins in a game of pickup football (where Rodgers makes the “obligatory MVP cameo”) and makes the perfect catch, after landing some crazy flip, to win the game.
Izod hopes that by going meta with its marketing it can forge deeper relationships with viewers. The thought being, if the brand is honest and upfront that they’re trying to get people to buy their product (but in a funny, endearing way) it will gain them trust among consumers. There have been a string of brands using a similar meta tactic recently—starting back with Tide’s 2018 “It’s a Tide Ad” Super Bowl campaign and most recently, Esurance’s brand refresh with Dennis Quaid starring as the Hollywood star who knows he’s in a commercial—and it seems to be a good approach.
“I think in all areas of life right now, people just really want honesty. They just want to cut through the fake and what’s not true and dishonest,” Kelly said. “I think trust levels are at an all time low. We did this ad campaign to cut through the b.s. of advertising, but to still get our name out there and do our job.
“I’ve watched all the decades of creating all these big fantasies, and some brands need to do that and should do that but I don’t think our customer responds to that. You create this big fantasy that if you buy this shirt you’ll get the blonde and the dog and the chalet in Switzerland. This is not true,” he added.
Jost and Rodgers were the perfect stars for the ad, in Kelly’s mind, because they fit into the story Izod was trying to tell. Jost attended Harvard, plays golf and has what Kelly described as a “preppy background” that fits nicely with the Izod brand. His job on SNL as an anchor of Weekend Update also served the brand well with its meta approach. “On SNL, Jost cuts through the b.s. in the world, and he’s got that wry smile in the way that he does it,” Kelly added.
As for Rodgers, Izod cast the Packers quarterback because they found him to be likable and loved by a lot of players and fans of the NFL. “He’s really comfortable with his place in the league and what we found was he was super comfortable doing comedy,” he added. “He brought it and when you see some of the things that come socially, like him acting kind of like a nut at the DJ booth, it was more than we could have imagined or asked for.”
The campaign, “Advertising Clichés,” is a major effort for Izod. According to Kelly, the brand is “spending more on this campaign than we ever have.” It will run in TV, digital and social, with big help on the social front from Jost and Rodgers in the coming weeks.