How to Relaunch a 90-year old South African Clothing Brand

Article from BizCommunity


Edgars, the 90-year old South African clothing brand is back on the fashion radar. The once aspirational icon of the local fashion industry, has had some well-publicised ups and downs over the past few years, but new leadership and a fresh approach to customer engagement has seen a complete turn-around for the brand, making it relevant to local shoppers all over again.

VML South Africa has been integrally involved in the creative relaunch of Edgars – from designing the new logo and evocative adverts to developing a fully integrated brand connection between Edgars and its customers, both current and new.

It’s all about a renewed focus on the celebration of self-expression, inspired by South African trendsetters, culture creators and custodians, who are admired by hundreds of thousands of South Africans regardless of age, culture or race. And now the new Edgars story puts real South Africans at the centre of its narrative.

Ryan McManus, chief creative officer at VML South Africa, gives five important facts about how a new feel for an old brand is going to create renewed excitement.

1. What is a connected brand?
A brand is not just a logo or a clever and well-crafted advert. A connected brand ensures that where ever its customers find it, it offers a consistent application of look and feel and emotion, whether in-store, through advertising or digital channels like a website or social media. Being connected to your customers is really the only way for a brand to succeed in this day and age, because consumers are clever and connected and demanding of consistent quality experiences, and if a brand can’t deliver on this, it’s failing.

2. So how has this played out for Edgars
We’ve refreshed the logo, and designed new-look stores, with the flagships already running in major centres – shoppers can expect an exciting in-store experience, from window display to the check-out. The concept spans fashion, beauty and home stores. We’ve also created an advertising campaign inspired by:

  • What does South Africa look like from a style perspective
  • How South Africans express themselves through their wardrobe, makeup and home environments
  • How the brand can inspire self-expression from its customers

The most exciting part of the campaign is that we’re working with well-known local personalities across all communication touch points. But instead of having influencers endorse the brand (which is the typical influencer marketing model), we’ve shifted the focus to endorsing and collaborating with local trendsetters like:

  • Sho Madjozi (dynamic rapper, writer, actress and fashion icon)
  • DJ Arch Junior of South Africa’s Got Talent fame
  • Siphokazi Veti (writer and female activist)
  • Jonathan Boynton-Lee (Top Billing presenter)
  • Kay Ngonyama and Jessica van Heerden (online make-up mavens)

The collaboration takes Edgars and its products into the lives and homes of all South Africans, making it clear that everyone can and should #ownthelook by making the most of the cool content available in all of Edgars’ range of stores.

3. What attracted you to the brief?
Edgars is one of those truly iconic South African brands that has changed and evolved over the years and we had the opportunity to go back to its origins to celebrate its unique South African-ness and reconnect with customers throughout their brand journey.

Edgars is an important client for us as they’ve always worked with Y&R, and in early 2018 when Y&R, Native VML, Labstore and Native Media merged to create the fully integrated company we are today, it gave us the perfect opportunity to showcase our integrated approach to brand strategy, including above-the-line, below-the-line, shopper and digital experiences that create that true connected brand experience.

4. Beside the store experience, how do South Africans get the feel for the new Edgars?
All of our brand custodians are talking about how they use Edgars’ products on their various social channels, blogs, shows, etc.

The above the line campaign is live and can be viewed online here:


And anyone who knows Sho Madjozi (and she has hundreds of thousands of South Africans fans) would know that her latest release, Don’t Tell Me What To Do, was written to support the Edgars campaign, and is the track used in all TV adverts. She has also launched a new clothing range available only in Edgars stores.

5. So what is your 5-second pitch?
At VML South Africa, we understand the fundamental human need for connection and know how to help brands re-imagine the entire connected consumer experience by inspiring connections at every touchpoint.