The Ralph Lauren Gang set out to charm American Moms

For the past two years, my office pod wall has been adorned with a quotation from Ralph Lauren, torn from a magazine advertisement for fashion website Brand Alley:

“I don’t design clothes, I design dreams”

Ever since I first came across it, this kernel of an idea has formulated my interest and belief in the power of brand communications. Marketing that goes beyond the product, that can trigger and play on emotion and aspiration – now that is powerful.

So it was with interest that I came across the latest development in Ralph Lauren’s marketing of their children’s wear. ‘The RL Gang’ has been created as a group of fictional child ambassadors for the label’s kids range, living for the most part online on a dedicated micro site. Visitors watch the video story unfold of Hudson, Willow and friends having fun and getting up to mischief in the schoolroom.

And all the while looking sensationally adorable, kitted out head-to-toe in the latest Ralph Lauren Kids back-to-school fall season range.

There’s no denying it, the film feature is beautifully produced. Traditional children’s book illustrations in fine-line ink and watercolour are interlaced with live action from the exceptionally cute child models as they run around their animated school yard. Added kudos is given by narration from Hollywood’s Harry Connick Jr.

The impression is a warm glow of child-like imagination and adventure, strongly conveying the sense (illusory or otherwise) that Ralph Lauren loves your kids as much as you do. The idea, of course, being that Mom logs on, watches how delightful Willow looks in her Cotton-Cashmere Sampler Jacket and thinks how cute her own offspring would look similarly attired.

Naturally, the route to purchase is instantaneous. Via links embedded throughout the film, Mom can hover over each of Willow’s garments and ‘shop W’s look’, taking her straight to the online store for purchase.

If a particular role model strikes a chord, Mom can even peek inside the little one’s ‘closet’ to skip through their personal style and view their particular collection – be it Oliver’s country-gentleman-in-the-making or Zoe’s more rock chick vibe. Mothers of wannabe Suri Cruise‘s can shop the Mae look.

But that’s not all. As a nice addition, RL has produced a kids storybook (yes, a real old-fashioned traditional paper page-turner) to go alongside the digital campaign that captures the story in an offline platform. In ten different languages no less. And a percentage of the proceeds from each $18.95 book sale go straight to charity. It’s a cute idea, and whilst the marketer in me thinks the book reads like a slightly more engaging version of the kidswear fall catalogue, essentially it’s a well-presented children’s story book that just so happens to dress all its characters in Ralph Lauren.

Because the production values are so strong, the video is highly watchable and I should imagine any Moms logging on do watch it in its entirety and that the click-through rate to the online store is high. It beautifully captures the brand values and presents them in a way that Moms can relate to – a visual representation of child-like imagination.

So to return to Ralph’s principle, The RL Gang sees the brand staying true to its guiding light. If it were just about the clothes, the brand could simply post a digital catalogue online. Ultimately, Moms hope for and dream of the very best for their kids, and The RL Gang has brought this to life perfectly.


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