Why Prada is the Most Thoughtful Marketer in Fashion Insights The Impression header image with Prada photos

The Secret Behind Prada’s Marketing Mastery

Key Lessons From Prada’s Multifaceted, Cross-Cultural Approach to Marketing Communication

By Mark Wittmer

Miuccia Prada inherited her grandfather’s small leather goods store in the 70s and, pivoting to introduce ready-to-wear, quickly set about building the business into one of the world’s most prominent fashion houses. While this success is first and foremost thanks to her design practice’s brilliant fusion of contemporary minimalism and traditional elegance, the brand’s continued relevance and prestige through the brave new world of the 21st century is also attributable to a multichannel marketing strategy that centers creative collaboration, cross-cultural conversation, and digital velocity.

Key Takeaways

By teaming with a small circle of like-minded collaborators, Prada consistently generates campaigns and marketing content that translates Miuccia Prada’s – which has been further elevated by her partnership with Raf Simons – exacting and progressive design vision. But this visual world is just the beginning, as the brand brings this insight to life through cross-cultural conversations and a high-velocity approach to digital communication.


  1. Campaign Collaborators
  2. Thinking Beyond Fashion
  3. Digital Strategy

Campaign Collaborators

They begin from a basis of excellent fashion design, but the major component that makes Prada’s campaigns so consistently strong is their ongoing partnerships with creators who understand the designers’ vision and how to bring it life – primarily creative director Ferdinando Verderi and photographers David Sims and Willy Vanderperre (who was also a frequent collaborator for Simons’ namesake label). From slickly minimal portraits that put an alien twist on the classical notion of the language of flowers to campaigns that made excellent use of text (something of a forgotten art in advertising), each project is at once a world of its own and an elegant extension of the Prada universe.

Echoing Prada’s and Simons’ enigmatic, minimalist yet expressive design vision, the team’s artfully crafted campaigns take on further meaning through their smart approach to casting. In recent seasons, Prada has favored film actors, whose presence blurs the lines between persona and performance, creating a layered exploration of what it means to see and be seen.

As with all major fashion houses that recognize the opportunity and importance of strong accessories campaigns to highlight the products that make up the vast majority of their sales, Prada also wisely extends a distinct focus to its accessories campaigns. An emblematic example of this practice is the house’s recent Galleria handbag campaign that saw Scarlett Johansson return and made full use of her acting chops.

The film was directed by Jonathan Glazer, who had worked with Johansson before on Under the Skin, and was fresh off an Oscar win for his incredibly powerful and relevant film The Zone of Interest. Glazer’s narrative continues to mine the dichotomy between performance and reality so mysteriously embodied by a talented actor that has long been a central tenet of Prada’s cinematic campaigns, and has especially found new vitality in recent seasons. It’s common to see talented actors cast in fashion campaigns, but rarely do we see a campaign that makes space for an actor to really showcase their craft. Here Johansson’s skill is on full display. Furthermore, this actor is paired with a great director, and Glazer’s ability to blend nuanced realism with a sense of the transcendently uncanny perfectly complements her performance.

That would make for an excellent and unique campaign on its own, but it feels even more effective in conversation with the first Galleria campaign in which Johansson appeared. That campaign was all bright colors and whimsical poetry; this one is intense, grounded, and flirts with darkness. It’s a duality that fleshes out the persona of the actor that Prada has been exploring, embodying the way these enigmatic artists can inhabit such a broad spectrum of emotions and intents – yet anchoring it all is a singular human being. The campaign is multifaceted, intellectual, and enthralling, and effectively communicates that these are qualities Prada and its Galleria bag also share.

Thinking Beyond Fashion

While Prada is of course first and foremost a fashion house, the brand does great work to integrate its vision of intellectualism and elegance across other cultural categories, with the Prada universe meaningfully encompassing arts, athletics, and cuisine.

Fondazione Prada Milano photo
Fondazione Prada

The brand’s creative headquarters and show space in Milan, the Fondazione Prada, also doubles as a world-renowned art museum. Designed by leading architect Rem Koolhaas, the space is home to a celebrated permanent collection and rotating exhibitions that highlight artists past and present. The partnership with Koolhaas and his firm OMA is also the driving force behind the house’s spectacular runway sets.

This practice of cultural celebration is not just limited to the brand’s home of Milan, but takes shape as an international conversation – from supporting the restoration of a historic residence in Shanghai (also the home of the Pradasphere II exhibition) to become the center of the brand’s cultural activations in China to ephemeral installations in Seoul, the American west, and more.

Perhaps the only luxury brand that is taken seriously in the world of sports, Prada brings craft innovation and expertise to its Linea Rossa line, which creates connections with various sporting disciplines. The house has been a longtime sponsor of a successful sailing team in the America’s Cup (which spawned an iconic sneaker of the same name) and has been partnering with Red Bull athletes in the world of action sports. An excellent level of consistency and investment is brought to the line’s slick and stylish seasonal campaigns as well, carving out a new creative world where fashion and athleticism intersect.

Along with Dior, Prada has been one of the first major houses to push into the culinary space. While the café attached to the Fondazione Prada museum was already putting an elevated spin on the classic Italian caffé, the house took it to another level with the Prada Caffé within Harrods London. Through this partnership, Prada offers both fans of the house and passing shoppers a unique way to experience the brand, extending its intellectual approach to design across a creative menu and beautiful space featuring original and exclusive furniture and tableware.

Prada Cafe in Harrods Spring 2023 photo

Digital Strategy

While each of these areas of creative exploration and collaboration are valuable on their own and work to flesh out the entity that is Prada through aesthetics and experiences, just as – if not more – important is their simultaneous function as fuel for the brand’s digital content engine.

It’s a story that’s all too familiar now – as traditional print media loses its foothold and we entered the age of digital channels and social media, brands have had to become their own press, and are tasked with both creating and distributing content at the breakneck pace set by social media and contemporary attention spans.

Prada’s approach to this endless digital dance hasn’t been particularly different from its competitors who are making the same push, but the thoughtfulness and expansiveness it brings to its aforementioned creative endeavors mean the brand is in a good place for being able to consistently share stories that resonate and drive interaction and engagement. While its beautiful main campaigns have a deserving home in the high-gloss world of Instagram, Prada is especially adept at leveraging the unique landscape of TikTok. Whether it’s intricately edited clips that elevate the mystery and anticipation leading up to the Pradasphere opening or more off-the-cuff backstage videos that let us take in the details of a collection and get to know the front row, the brand’s team makes excellent use of the kind of bite-sized video series that thrives on the algorithm-driven platform.


Pradasphere II follows the trajectory of Prada, exploring the impact of its endeavors in fashion, art, architecture, athleticism, event-making, and hospitality. Follow Prada Ambassador #LiXian for a closer look at the grand opening at the Start Museum in Shanghai. #Pradasphere #Prada

♬ suono originale – Prada


A holiday reprieve at Harrods in London: the expertly architected Prada Caffè is a reflection of a timeless identity.  #PradaCaffe #Prada

♬ suono originale – Prada