Tiffany & Co. is courting controversy, and it is not mincing words in the process. The New York-headquartered jewelry stalwart very unambiguously announced late last month – via an ad campaign that swept Instagram and found a home on the sides of buildings and barricades in New York and Los Angeles – that its new products are, well … “Not Your Mother’s Tiffany.” The response to the campaign was as swift as it was fractured. Many longtime Tiffany & Co. customers expressed feelings of exclusion and frustration as a result of the new millennial and Gen-Z-centric push. Some called the new positioning ageist; others characterized it as lazy, uninspired marketing – a “cop out” even. “There is nothing unique or special about claiming that a brand is contemporary,” branding and marketing consultant Leigh George stated. Even some young consumers – i.e., the ones being wooed – were put off by the tone.
At the very same time, other consumers did not appear to be quite so dismayed, either approaching the campaign in a more light-hearted manner, maybe? – and/or simply not feeling targeted by the new “not your mother’s” message.
The campaign is one of the first major marketing moves since Tiffany & Co. assumed its position under the expansive ownership umbrella of LVMH in December 2020. And it comes as part of a new multi-prong, multi-year repositioning project being spearheaded by newly-installed EVP of Products and Communication Alexandre Arnault, 29, who is fresh from a successful revamp of German luggage brand Rimowa, and Tiffany’s new creative director Ruba Abu-Nimah. Ultimately, it is part of a “super aggressive change,” as former Amazon executive creative director Anthony Reeves put it, aimed at modernizing the brand that got its start almost two centuries ago and has been readily waning in relevance.
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