How Lacoste became part of the extinction conversation

The world is losing species at an unprecedented rate.   So how can brands be part of the extinction conversation, while building their brand and delivering a profit?

Lacoste may have just found the solution.

Partnering with the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), Lacoste created 10 limited edition polo shirts, replacing its iconic crocodile logo with 10 of the most threatened species in the world.  The number of shirts available corresponded with the number of each species remaining.  Tragically, this amounted to only 1,775.

Unveiled at Paris Fashion Week, the launch created a media storm and a global conversation, praising Lacoste for the initiative, promoting their brand’s value to existing and potential customers, and seeding the extinction conversation. The Lacoste shirts sold out within 24 hours and raised over $325k for IUCN SOS – ‘Save our Species’ program supporting frontline conservation projects.

Increasingly, consumers define themselves by the brands they buy. Neilson reported that 66% of consumers are prepared to pay more for products and services produced by suppliers committed to positive social and environmental impact.

Brands must not only compete on product, price, promotion and distribution; they must also compete on, and effectively communicate, their values.

Lacoste has been committed to saving threatened species since 2009.  However, this campaign has taken their message and brand values to a new level and attracted global recognition.

The key learnings we can take from the Lacoste campaign are:

  • The best partners understand and respect each others values and strategic priorities
  • Choose a cause that connects with your customers
  • Keep your message simple and ensure it aligns with your product
  • If you truly believe – think BIG and make it happen

Congratulations Lacoste  and IUCN on an exceptional global campaign, and thank you for driving the conversation about saving species.