Posted by: gavinstokes | May 19, 2011

The new marketing is no marketing

Jack Willis (“university outfitters”) is a relatively new brand of clothing aimed at the well-to-do teenage market. This company actively shuns advertising in favour of social media and organised events. it has gathered a Facebook and Twitter following of 220,000 fans. It is a rapidly expanding global business, in 2010/2011, it made a profit of £17.4m on sales of £92m, nearly tripling its profits from the previous year (

The key to its viral success is a devoted team which monitors its social platforms and makes a point of replying to 90% of comments online. It backs this up with a catalogue mail shot to 400,000 subscribers which coincides with school terms along organised and sponsored events.

Willis focuses heavily on the grassroots community it has developed and ensures it pays attention to them. Willis manages to develop a sense of membership of an exclusive club by focusing on the allure of “privilege” as a selling point and bottling the idea of what its is to be to be upper class British. By combining this with real world events such as  its sponsorship of Varsity Polo where teams from Harvard, Yale, Oxford and Cambridge universities, and the public schools Eton, Harrow, play against each other with 10,000 fans looking on,  it helps build a tribal feeling.

It also hires young people who seem to be on trend and outgoing and provides them with free merchandise to circulate at events and hosted parties.

It seems to be a wining strategy but teenagers are fickle group and whats in today could be dead tomorrow.

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