Coach Launches AI-Created 'Find Your Courage'

Coach is breaking new ground with an AI-created ad campaign, introducing a computer-generated character to star in a virtual campaign with real human Lil Nas X.

Called "Find Your Courage," the effort builds on the story-driven brand awareness the luxury leather brand introduced last year, with Lil Nas X showing off his “Courage to be real.” This new effort also features Camila Mendes, Youngji Lee, Kki and Wu Jinyan, who all appear in other Coach ads.

The Gen Z-focused campaign launches the spring collection, blurring the lines between physical and virtual worlds.

The company says the inspiration for the effort stems from the way young people are also blurring those lines, looking at their concept of self through multiple lenses.



In this first chapter, Lil Nas X follows Imma on her search for courage, stopping to visit brand ambassadors in their distinct virtual worlds.

Each one tells Imma about their superpower, such as using humor to overcome doubt or learning to evolve and love every version of herself. The idea, the company says in the release, is to encourage Imma to “discover what makes her real in her own way."

Vallée Duhamel directed the campaign, with photography by Charlie Engman.

"'Find Your Courage' is meant to inspire our consumers to seek out all possibilities for who they can be, despite the tensions and expectations in life they might feel," says Sandeep Seth, Coach’s global chief marketing officer and North Americas president, in the press release. "For us, Imma is the perfect ambassador to tell this story because she challenges the notion of what we consider 'real' today. Her journey in our campaign takes us into a new world that pushes the boundaries of self-expression and inspires us along the way."

The new work comes as Coach outperforms many of its luxury competitors, in part because of improved efforts to win with younger shoppers.

Last week, parent company Tapestry announced record sales and raised its forecast for the months ahead. For the second quarter, revenues rose 3% to $2.08 billion compared to $2.03 billion in the prior year. Coach’s sales rose 7% to $1.54 billion, up from $1.45 billion in the year-ago period. At Kate Spade, however, sales dropped 6% to $460.4 million; at Stuart Weitzman, sales fell 4% to $82.2 million.

Companywide, D2C sales notched a 4% gain.

Tapestry’s operating income rose to $448 million on a reported basis, compared to $418 million in the year-ago period.

In a conference call webcast for investors, company executives say the switch to brand storytelling is paying off, adding 1.5 million new Coach customers in North America.

“According to U.S. brand tracking work fielded during the quarter, Coach saw a lift in unaided awareness versus the prior year led by gains with Gen Z consumers, underscoring that our investments in brand building are working,” said Joanne Crevoiserat, Tapestry's chief executive officer.

Financial results don’t yet include any numbers from Capri Holdings. That acquisition, which includes Michael Kors and Jimmy Choo, is expected to close some time this year.

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