With a high-spirited new global ad campaign, Fossil hopes to re-engage with the older millennial crowd, repositioning the heritage brand as a fun-loving playmate.
It’s the company's largest campaign since 2019, built on insights gathered worldwide. It’s also the first big push under Lisa Pillette, chief marketing officer, who joined the company a year ago.
“We had been looking closely at the values and behaviors of our core consumer,” she says. “Often, these efforts start from a negative place. What was interesting about this research is that consumers had a fond place for Fossil in their lives.”
Customers remembered wearing Fossil watches on specific job interviews, for example, or getting them as graduation gifts. “Some even save the tins,” she says. “There’s a cultural connection.”
Pillette, who has worked for such brands as Casper Sleep, Lacoste, Ralph Lauren and Levi Strauss, tells Marketing Daily the new campaign is an effort to modernize and solidify Fossil's reputation.
“We call this group the Feel-Good Collective, and these new ads aim to engage with someone who isn’t as familiar with us -- and not alienate those who were Fossil fans in the past.”
Mekanism conceived the global campaign strategy, consumer-facing platform and launch media. In the U.S., ads are running on CTV, social and programmatic channels, with plenty of out-of-home spots in New York, Chicago, Houston, Dallas and Atlanta. Media partnerships include HighSnobiety, TikTok, Amazon and YouTube. Fossil’s content series features partners in fashion, music and travel.
Pillette says she chose Mekanism because of the agency’s holistic approach. “This isn’t just an ad campaign,” she says, but a global media effort with many pieces of content. “It’s an omnichannel experience, and we’re focusing on how we tell stories in all our channels and our stores.”
Watches still represent most of Fossil’s revenues, and jewelry is a fast-growing segment. But the mix varies widely by region. Leathers, for instance, do better in the U.S.
And while plenty of consumers have long since ditched wristwatches for smartwatches, “for many people, they are still a fashion accessory and a way to express your style,” says Pillette.
Besides boosting sales, the new marketing approach aims to “drive a level of reappraisal and a sense of urgency. A lot of people know Fossil. But we want to make sure that we are in consideration as a brand they need right now.”