After a year that has shaken up the apparel world, Uniqlo is introducing a new campaign for its LifeWear, hoping to help it stand out from its fast-fashion competitors. While the ads include tennis ace Roger Federer and graffiti artist Futura, who have appeared in campaigns before, they offer a new take on the company’s “Design for all” positioning.
In an email interview, Marketing Daily asked John Jay, Uniqlo’s president of global creative and former executive creative director of Wieden + Kennedy, to explain the thinking behind the new work.
Marketing Daily: Can you explain the brand positioning?How do you describe Uniqlo to someone who has never been in one of its stores or seen its clothing?
John Jay: I have had the pleasure of working with some of the greatest brands in my career, but Uniqlo is arguably the most unique and one that is constantly evolving.
The concept of evolution is important. Remember, our starting point is casual apparel, a Western invention, while Uniqlo comes with Japanese DNA, enabling it to see clothes through a different cultural lens. It emphasizes a deep respect for all people and their everyday life.
Through our wish to perfect casual apparel, we have gained a special touch that thrives on simplicity and function, which inspires us to pursue the idea of “simple made better.” Simple is never the endpoint -- it is where we start. We are never afraid to improve upon our simplicity.
Marketing Daily: The last year has been brutal for many apparel companies. While you introduced LifeWear some years ago, how relevant is it now, as people wear more casual attire and less business clothing, and have more financial worries?
Jay: The current shift in our lives and how we must adjust to a new way of working and living is a blessing, in some ways. It forces us to respond to new ideas on the role of clothing, its function and style.
More than ever, people are responding to longevity, quality and a sense of self-identity. We have built our brand with no visible logo or pattern. The philosophy behind Uniqlo’s LifeWear is to meet people in their everyday lives, to be the foundation building blocks for translating each individual’s style.
Marketing Daily: Uniqlo is a competitor to H&M and Zara. How does this new campaign help explain the differences?
Jay: The critical difference in making clothes is finding inspiration through people’s needs. But LifeWear is also our commitment to improving lives through diversity, inclusion and improving communities wherever we do business.
We strive to be good citizens of the world. The “Made for All” campaign sheds light on the global groups we affect. It is about our day-to-day staff in every store, local partners to impact social good in our communities, support from worldwide customers and dedication from our brand ambassadors. Together, we work to deliver Uniqlo’s purpose of positive values, innovation and action through the power of clothes.
Marketing Daily: Did you work with an agency on this?
Jay: The campaign was created in-house by our Global Creative Lab offices in Portland and New York City, in collaboration with Must Be Something, a talented strategic and creative team in Portland.
We wanted to show consumers our story as a brand, that LifeWear is always much more than clothes. It is our deeper expression of values and hopes.