Phillips-Van Heusen Acquires Hilfiger for $3 Billion

March 16, 2010Sparxoo

Can the Van Heusen Breath Life Back into Hilfiger?

Phillips-Van Heusen, an international fashion conglomerate that owns Calvin Klein and Izod, announced Monday it would buy Tommy Hilfiger for $3 billion. The New York Times and others have emphasized the opportunities of Hilfiger’s sizable European distribution channels: “[Van-Heusen] will seek to take advantage of Tommy Hilfiger’s strong European distribution channels for its own products,” writes the NY Times. Beyond the merits of its geographic expansion strategy, Van Heusen could leverage its portfolio of fashion know-how to revitalize the “once a leading purveyor of colorful preppy clothing” (NY Times).

The creative leaders behind Calvin Klein and Izod will be tasked with reinvigorating Hilfiger’s brand for “young American aristocrats at play.” Our team at Sparxoo believes that Van-Heusen’s team should gain inspiration from leading brands that appeal to Hilfiger’s target audience as they seek to re-establish the brand. To effectively appeal to “young American aristocrats at play,” we suggest learning from:

Polo / Ralph Lauren — This high-end, yet accessible fashion brand sponsored the American spirit at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. What else typifies “young Americans at play” than the Olympics?

Sperry — Sperry’s tagline, “A Passion for the Sea,” illustrates the iconic shoe brand’s dedication to fun and discovery. Nearly every page of Sperry’s website features teens and young professionals jumping off a dock or taking day trips in yachts (talk about aristocratic).


Oakley — What says “young Americans at play”? Yes, Shaun White and his Oakleys. The luxe / sportswear sunglass brand speaks to its audience through heroes that appeal to risk-takers:

BMW — If Mercedes and Lexus are for your parents, Audi for your mid-thirties professionals, the BMW is for young aristocrats. BMW’s innovation and performance focus speaks to the young aristocrat. The play? Have you driven a Z4? The car brand’s tag, “We don’t make cars. We make joy.” isn’t just marketing. It’s an experience.


What is the red thread that ties together Hilfigers audience? If there were one way to describe aristocrats at play, using the above brands, it would be risk-takers. Polo broke records at the thrill-junkie Mecca, the Olympics; Sperry takes sail aboard Azimut-Benetti yachts; Oakley speaks to risk-takers through their idols; BMW spins its colorful wheels in a auto version of Pollock. Hilfiger made a resurgence in the 1990s by appealing to rap culture. To reignite the brand, Van-Heusen should leverage its team of talented designers should take a risk and appeal to thrill seeking risk-takers.