To celebrate Chinese New Year on February 1, Gucci presents its Gucci Tiger collection: a wide selection of ready-to-wear and accessories for men and women that feature various tiger designs.
Creative director Alessandro Michele has always been fascinated with nature and continues to embrace both flora and fauna with the maximalist dogmas of extravagance and spectacle. And with this dedicated collection, he expresses them through vibrant colors, exquisite prints, and bold silhouettes.
Many fashion houses have incorporated tiger stripes and alternative elements inspired by this animal over the years. So what makes the Gucci Tiger Collection distinct from others, and what can luxury players learn from Gucci’s unique approach to zodiac marketing?
Awakening the sleeping tigers from the house archives
The Gucci Tiger collection features a new print reinterpreted from a late 1960s archival design by Vittorio Accornero — the artist and illustrator who created the house’s signature Flora design. On a backdrop of plants and flowers in pastel colors, the tiger print can be found across the brand’s entire ready-to-wear assortment, from outerwear and denim to shirts and dresses, among other items.
In the 1970s, while the most relevant designers were moving into “art contaminations” and psychedelic prints, Gucci presented an outstanding collection based on animal and floral prints. During that time, the house also rolled out its tiger-head hardware, which also inspired the brand’s signature Dionysus handbag. Over the following decade, tiger prints could be also found on various Gucci accessories, such as umbrellas and silk scarfs.
After Michele took the creative helm of Gucci in 2015, he built up a “Gucci Garden,” welcoming diverse species like bees and snakes, in addition to tigers. Now, to celebrate the most significant traditional festival in China, the house has reintroduced the tiger — a symbol of strength and bravery in the context of Chinese culture. And in drawing inspiration from its archive, Gucci smartly connects its past with its present when sharing its house legacy with its Chinese fans.
Penetrating China’s Gen Z social ecosystems
To better communicate its CNY campaign in the local market, Gucci has opened offline CNY pop-up stores in Nanjing, Shanghai, and Wuhan, while stores in Dalian and Macau will open soon. The Gucci Tiger collection comes to life in a campaign conceived by Creative Director Alessandro Michele and shot by photographer and director Angelo Pennetta. A special Chinese family reunion scene with global brand ambassadors, including Chris Lee, Ni Ni, Lu Han, and Xiao Zhan, is created to develop more narratives about the precious Chinese value of family and gathering.
This campaign also marks the first time that the four brand ambassadors are featured in the house’s CNY celebration, which has become a hot topic on Chinese social media. The dedicated campaign video hits 25 million on Weibo while the viewership of #GucciTiger also reached 430 million as of publication, which marks substantial social traffic for a luxury brand celebrity endorsement.
In addition to campaign videos and images starring these four well-known celebrities, the brand also kicked off its interactive, platform-specific digital initiatives with them. On Douyin, Gucci rolled out a challenge to engage users via a filter that used Gucci tiger and floral prints from the collection design. The viewership of these #Guccitiger campaign videos hit 330 million on the platform in only five days. Meanwhile, on Weibo, the house held a special campaign where users can win complimentary, campaign-exclusive virtual accessories for their profile photos. This campaign hashtag #CuteTigerProfilePhoto has garnered 240 million views on Weibo since this publication.
Elsewhere, Gucci launched a themed WeChat Mini Program where users can access their new-year life predictions and personalized product recommendations based on their horoscopes. Along with this program, the brand also released digital wallpapers that feature the campaign’s themes, available for users to download. The brand also issued limited-edition virtual red packet covers that users can hand out to their friends and family members during the festival. WeChat users can also win complimentary wallpapers, New Year wishes, and red packet covers by tapping the “shake” function and literally shaking their phones on WeChat Moment.
Ingraining sustainability and social responsibility
Gucci has aligned the Tiger collection with its commitment to generating positive change for the planet. Since 2018, Gucci has been fully carbon neutral across its entire supply chain. And in February 2020, the house joined The Lion’s Share Fund, a unique initiative raising much-needed funds to protect endangered species and their natural habitats.
The house also expressed its pledge to wildlife welfare through its product developments of the Gucci Tiger collection. The design of its watches is eco-friendly, from the recycled steel case to the dial and strap — crafted from the brand’s animal-free Demetra material and made primarily from sustainable, renewable, and bio-based raw materials.
Just as importantly, this special product selection comes with exclusive, themed packaging, including a set of coordinated boxes, shopping bags, envelopes, pouches in different shapes and sizes, and a dedicated label adorned with the Gucci Tiger print. Meanwhile, the packaging is made from responsibly-sourced paper from managed forests, the handles contain 100-percent recycled polyester, and the ribbons are crafted from 100-percent organic cotton.
In this age of isolation and digital connection, it has become evident that only the brands putting social responsibility first as Gucci has will win in the long run.