By Kenneth Richard | The Impressionist
Time heals what reason cannot.
One of the most difficult hurtles in brand management is turning around a brand that has recently lost its cache, as exemplified by the current plight of Juicy Couture.
We all know the tale of Pamela Skaist-Levy and Gela Nash-Taylor, the founders of Juicy Couture, who built a colorful empire and sold their business to Liz Claiborne for $53.1 million in 2003. They later parted from the brand in 2010 after disagreements with chief executive Bill McComb. The brand then went on to be sold to its current owners, licensing company Authentic Brands Group, who bought Juicy for $195 million in September 2013.
Authentic Brands Group did what licensing companies that own brands do, they shuttered the expense side of the business, sans marketing and licensing, and signed a license with Kohl’s. Meanwhile, they worked to have their cake and eat it, too, by renaming the upstairs business “Juicy Couture Black Label” and looking for licensees to sell the upstairs while marketing the halo business to trickle downstairs. The short-term result is a steady income stream from Kohl’s and an upstairs line that is only available online in the US.
Meanwhile, Skaist-Levy and Gela Nash-Taylor went on to release a co-authored tell-all last June, The Glitter Plan, How We Started Juicy Couture for $200 and Turned in into a Global Brand, as well as speak to press about how difficult it is to watch the brand they founded fall.
The result of all this changing of the guard drama is a brand that, while iconic and making money, has lost its cache in the US market. Which brings us to the delicate topic of timing. When is the right time to revitalize a brand? Does strong marketing overcome a dramatic distribution shift from premium to mass?
For The Impression, the answer lies in the wisdom of a philosopher born in 4BC, Seneca. All of the reasoning, thought, and well-crafted work from the Juicy Couture marketing team is an uphill battle if it isn’t the right time for the US customers to be open to the idea of a revitalized brand. That isn’t to say the work is in vain and won’t impact the amount of time it takes to heal. Nor is it to say that the work isn’t timed perfectly for China, the Philippines, or any other territory where the brand had yet to make its mark.
For Spring 2015, Juicy Couture leveraged the gifts of their go-to creative director Roi Elfassy, who enlisted photographer Hans Feurer and stylist Carlyne Cerf De Dudzeele to shoot model Edita Vilkeviciute in Palm Springs. Of note is the short film directed by Tarik Malak & Timothy Douglas. The duo seems to have a cosmic sense of timing, putting the brand in reverse, which is fitting as Juicy Couture needs to go backward before moving forward. Sometimes a brand needs to give the customer a moment to breathe because the key ingredient to revitalizing a brand isn’t its economic engine or distribution, it’s the timing.
Creative Director | Roi Elfassy
Film Direction | Tarik Malak & Timothy Douglas
Photographer | Hans Feurer
Model | Edita Vilkeviciute
Stylist | Carlyne Cerf De Dudzeele
Hair | Ward Stegerhoek
Makeup | Fredrik Stambro
Casting | Anita Bitton (Establishment Casting)
Production | Blackrose
Post-Production (film) | SWELL Post
Location | Palm Springs