Bottom Line: Brand it like Beckham and see the sales flood in

Elizabeth Fournier

HIRING a 10-year old with no experience to front a multi-million dollar ad campaign might not be an obvious choice for a luxury brand that relies on its British heritage branding to pull in wealthy Asian clients.

But against the odds, Burberry’s choice of Romeo Beckham to plug its spring/summer collection is looking like a stroke of genius.

Despite a broader pull back in Hong Kong and China’s booming luxury sector, Burberry’s sales across Asia Pacific have continued to swell, with online shoppers more than picking up the slack left by declining footfall on the high street. The 18 per cent rise in total sales it reported yesterday made Burberry the FTSE’s darling – adding an extra five per cent on the 35 per cent it has already gained since an unexpected profit warning last September sent investors running.

Burberry’s brand power is becoming just as significant as its products which, while modern and fashion forward, remain based around the traditional image of check trenches for which the firm is known. It’s an astounding turnaround considering eight years ago the group struggled to break free from a damaging popularity among football hooligans.

Which brings us back to Beckham. Romeo’s family brand – a clean-cut football legend dad and a fashion designer mum – give him the perfect credentials to make an 156-year-old outfitter appeal to a new generation of wealthy Asian shoppers. Burberry’s creative chief has said that Romeo has “impeccable taste”.

The retailer’s smart branding and commitment to the Asian market means no one could accuse Burberry of anything less itself.

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