written by: Chan Wing Yee, Wing

The fast fashion brand H&M has launched a series of ads for the Modern Essential Collection for 2016 F/W. H&M claims that David Beckham has involved in the design and development of this men’s wear collection that he endorses.

The collection’s return, “All you need, are the Essentials”

As a follow on to the previous ads for same collection, H&M uses David Beckham and Kevin Hart as the faces for the collection. Beckham is highly popular with his charming image around the world. Using the same celebrities for same collection creates association with the celebrity and enhances attachment and loyalty to the brand. The humor way of story-telling in the ads is attractive and easily accepted by consumers as soft selling execution. The YouTube video has gathered nearly 10 Million view in a few weeks.

In the ads, Beckham and Hart wear a diverse variety of the clothes ranging from sweater to outerwear. It clearly shows that the essential collection could cater for different needs and occasions. This echoes that the H&M brand provides a wide range of products to suit consumers’ need.


Stand out from competitors

Besides, this series of ads is able to differentiate H&M’s collection from other fast-fashion brand. When comparing to the other fast-fashion brands, examples of competitors are Zara, Gap, Uniqlo (The case in Hong Kong). Zara choose not to use celebrities and its marketing expenses are less than 0.5% of revenue. Gap collaborates with the GQ magazine to launch a GQ collection with different designers every year and use celebrities very often. Uniqlo changes the celebrities for every season’s collection and usually has a number of celebrities in one season. There is not much linkage between the products’ and celebrities used in most of the ad campaigns by other brands. H&M stands out from the other brands with Beckham’s participation in design process and makes him a good representative for H&M’s lifestyle. This helps to enhance brand image and collection awareness and at the same time make the ads more memorable.


Dark side of fast fashion

Fast-fashion is frequently labeled with the tags of ‘lacking in design details’ and ‘exploitation in the production process.’ In the YouTube video that attracted million to watch, Hart tries to intimate the style of Beckham by wearing exactly the same clothes but does not seem to be working very well. It is doubtful whether the plot will generate positive consumers’ association. As for the public concern of exploitation of cheap labor behind the production of fast-fashion, despite Beckham’s contribution to various charities, most of them a not related to environmental and workfare. His popular image is not likely to add credits to H&M as a fast fashion brand on the issue.


Credibility of Beckham’s involvement

H&M claims that Beckham’s involvement in the collection’s design makes the brand stands out from competition [1] . Beckham is busy with his endorsement work with a wide variety of brands, such as Adidas, Emporio Armani and Kent & Curwen. The high-end brand Kent & Curwen, also claims that Beckham involves in the designing process. Celebrity’s involvement in the design of fashion products has become a bit of a cliché. It is dubious to believe that one can buy Beckham’s design by paying a few hundred dollars in H&M, while others are paying thousands of dollars for Beckham’s design in Kent & Curwen?

[1]: http://www.hm.com/hk/en/magazine/culture/h-m-inside/2016/01/the-new-beckham-x-hm-campaign