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Mark Cross Holiday 2017 Ad Campaign

The Impression spoke with the President and CEO of Mark Cross, Neal J. Fox, and Creative Director David Lipman of Lipman Studios, about the story behind the new campaign and how the collaboration came to be.


Neal J. Fox, President and CEO of Mark Cross:
Neal, can you share with us a little about the campaign and how you and David came together?
I decided it was time to begin the process of building a marketing campaign after living without one since we relaunched our brand. I spoke to a few others before deciding that David Lipman was the right talent to deliver an exciting campaign that resonated and broke through the clutter, but still stayed within the confines of our brand DNA. He did an extensive amount of research into the remarkable heritage of Mark Cross, which provided him with the inspiration to build the campaign.
Why did you feel that it was the right time to shoot a campaign?
We felt that we had built a foundation of global distribution which now warranted the implementation of a campaign.
What was the overall message that you wanted the campaign to portray?
We wanted to let the world know that Mark Cross is once again a player at the top of the global luxury leather goods market.


David Lipman, Founder of Lipman Studio:

David, What did you discover about Mark Cross along the way?
When we started the exploration of Mark Cross, we quickly realized the great heritage of the brand, dating back to 1845… We had very limited archives; almost zero access to a legacy that only a handful of American brands can claim. I immediately engaged Michael Handis and employed him to start digging into this rich history. He spent two to three months piecing together the story.

From Henry Cross’s invention of his company he named after his son Mark, with its Bostonian roots, the rich history of leather goods and everything luxury equestrian… From horse and buggy, to hunters and jumpers. Then the emergence of Patrick Murphy, the visionary he was, to the international expansion of the brand – setting in motion its second home in England. The discovery of logos that read “Mark Cross England” was a breakthrough and a huge turn on, making us dive deeper into the layers of this brand’s story.

Mr. Murphy’s vision of the motor car as a form of transport was the creative catalyst, expanding Mark Cross beyond the horse; the early 1900’s into the roaring 20’s; the marriage of Patrick’s son Gerald to Sara Wiborg. Their love for art and the invention of the original “jet-set”… The times in Antibes and their home, Villa America. Gerald and Sara Murphy brought art, culture and fame into the brand. Gerald’s relationship to Alfred Hitchcock and his wardrobing catapulted Mark Cross into the pop-culture spotlight with Grace Kelly in 1954’s Rear Window, with what would ultimately become the coveted small box bag referred to as “The Grace.” 

These were the building blocks for the campaign.

What is the story behind the new narrative?
When starting to create the new vision of the brand, I wanted to pay homage to the equestrian age of Henry and Mark Cross and the vision of the Murphys. There was glamour and an abundance of living, a decadence only read in a Fitzgerald novel.

The ultimate challenge was to create a bag campaign in which a model is not just holding a bag close to her face getting her picture taken. Hence the black; black horse, black background, black clothes – or none at all. This allowed our small colorful bags in celadon and red, brand colors with a strong presence in our history, to communicate the air of confidence that I inherited from the Murphys and the Cross family.

I enlisted Patrick Demarchelier and Marie-Amélie Sauvé to bring a “Frenchness” reminiscent of Gerald and Sara’s love for the country. Stefan Beckman found the perfect equestrian references with wit, illuminating our English roots. I stumbled across Grace Hartzel one afternoon and thought she embodied everything I was searching for… and fittingly her name was “Grace”. Grace delivered the image perfectly. 

This all comes to life in an arresting campaign that takes all our brand codes in a modern expression – never feeling 1845.

Agency | Lipman Studios
Creative Director | David Lipman
Photographer | Patrick Demarchelier
Model | Grace Hartzel
Stylist | Marie-Amelie Sauvé
Set Design | Stefan Beckman

Hair | Didier Malige
Makeup | Dick Page