EXCLUSIVE: Fossil Embarks on ‘Revitalization Strategy’ With New Campaign and Elevated Product Line

Fossil is embarking on a new strategy, which is launching in conjunction with its 40th anniversary.

The heritage accessories label is looking to revitalize the brand after several years of sales declines through a new campaign and elevated product line, which are both launching Sept. 5. The “revitalization strategy,” as the company refers to it, is meant to modernize the heritage brand and offer a more cohesive, lifestyle approach across its accessories categories.

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“We really wanted to look at the relationship that the consumer has to the brand — what they think and feel about Fossil today and how is that different from who we want to attract tomorrow and what are those value sets that we feel are critical to building more of an emotional connection,” said Lisa Pillette, the global chief marketing officer of Fossil Group. “We’ve always been very product-centric, but we hadn’t really spent a lot of time looking at best ways to connect more emotionally [to customers]. So we identified what I’d say is a fresh consumer target base and uncovered a lot of insights about them and about their interests, their values and how those overlapped with ours.”

A major way Fossil aims to connect more deeply with customers is through the brand’s fall ad campaign, which is called “Made for This.” The brand looked to its 40-year heritage for the campaign, focusing on the role it has played in customers’ daily lives over the last four decades and how it can continue to do so for the next generation of consumers.

Models are seen in the campaign sporting accessories styles from the upcoming fall collection in images with taglines like “Made for Getting Together and Staying That Way” and “Made for Making Every Part of the Trip Your Own.”

Fossil's "Made For This" campaign
Fossil’s “Made for This” campaign.

“This could be a reflection of both post-COVID[-19] times and the times that we’re in, but how people spend their time is important,” Pillette said about the campaign. “Our consumer is very focused on how they influence their community and how they influence their relationships, so this idea of time well spent in a way is part of our brand’s DNA. It really felt like this was a way to modernize that story and create that cultural and personal connection, because that’s what’s enduring.”

Through Fossil’s “revitalization strategy,” the brand is looking to target a younger consumer, which Pillette described as a younger Millennial who is “optimistic, ambitious and engaged,” as well as “not just style-centric, but motivated by their community and by brands that have a point of view.”

Fossil aims to connect with this consumer base through the latest campaign, which will be conveyed through a ramped-up social media presence, TV commercials and the brand’s largest influencer initiative to date.

Another major component of Fossil’s “revitalization strategy” is the “premiumization” of its product line for the fall 2023 season. The new collection offers a wide range of offerings across bags, watches, jewelry and other categories made in new silhouettes and higher quality materials, like leathers and suede.

“The Fossil brand is rooted in innovation and inspired by vintage and that will never change,” said Melissa Lowenkron, chief brand officer at Fossil Group, about the new product line. “The inspiration still remains, it’s just that we’re taking more modern techniques and modern designs and looking at trends today and mixing that with vintage inspiration to make timeless, classic products.”

Fossil's Lennox handbag
Fossil’s Lennox handbag

Some of the key pieces in Fossil’s fall collection include the new Lennox handbag, which is a leather crossbody bag that comes in multiple colors and leather finishes. There will also be variations of the new Harwell hobo bag, which debuted this past spring and has already become popular with customers.

For watches, Fossil is introducing the Carraway, which is a brown leather watch with a rectangular face. The collection will also include styles Lowenkron explained take inspiration from Swiss luxury styles.

“We really wanted to have a more consistent point of view across categories,” she said. “So, between watches, jewelry and our leather business, to make sure from a seasonal inspiration perspective that the color palette and our brand codes were really consistent and the Fossil brand was showing up as a lifestyle brand versus just different categories within a brand.”

While the company has experienced repeated years of sales declines — Fossil Group most recently reported that in the first quarter net sales fell 14 percent — Pillette is confident that the new positioning, campaign and product line will help give the brand a sales boost.

“We’re going through our own self-discovery process and we’re a brand that’s played an important role in peoples’ lives and in culture,” she said. “I think it’s just a matter of recognizing that we probably haven’t been sharing those stories and amplifying them in a way that people really see it.”

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