Case Studies - Brand & Marketing

The Tiffany Turnaround

As the iconic luxury brand delivers record results in 2023, we piece together its script for success

Tiffany Yellow Store Front Pop Up April Fools joke

When Bernard Arnault, Chairman, LVMH bought Tiffany in 2015 for $15.8 billion, he was accused of ‘overpaying.’

The storied jewellery brand had stagnated, and revenue was falling even though the industry was growing. Fast forward to 2023 and last week’s earnings call, where the group announced that Tiffany was the largest contributor to LVMH’s growth over the past two years, with a 23% growth in sales.

We broke down the pillars of the turnaround, which is being credited largely to 30 year old Alexandre Arnault, who became Tiffany’s Vice-President of Brand & Communication after the acquisition.

#1. Target a new audience

Tiffany’s sales came from an older, affluent segment and tourists. It was no longer aspirational for a younger audience. The new playbook specifically targeted GenZ and Millennials.

#2. Bold, new communication

When Tiffany launched the ‘Not Your Mother’s Tiffany’ campaign in July 2021, there was widespread outrage. The company also gave up its Page 3 ad in the New York Times, which had run since 1896, opting instead for more digital media.

Tiffany billboard saying Not your mothers tiffany
The ‘Not Your Mother’s Tiffany’ created widespread outrage but established the brand’s new direction

Note: The campaign was disruptive, but not entirely original. Automotive manufacturer Oldsmobile ran ‘Not Your Father’s Oldmobile’ in 1988, also to appeal to a younger generation. That idea was a disaster, and has been blamed by many for hastening the brand’s demise.

#3. New brand ambassador

Perhaps the biggest impact on the brand was the appointment of Beyonce as brand ambassador and the series of ads that have delivered billions of impressions in the last two years.

It started with a campaign called ‘About Love,’ featuring the singer and her husband Jay Z photographed in front of a rare Basquiat painting in Tiffany’s iconic robin-blue colour.

Since then, there have been music video-like ads, whose vibe could not be further removed from Tiffany’s previously staid image.

beyonce and jaz in tiffany ad
The first Tiffany ad with Beyonce and JayZ also felt like a modern redux of the classic film, ‘Breakfast at Tiffanys.’ It featured the painting ‘Equals Pi’ by Jean-Michel Basquiat, acquired by LVMH. It created a social media storm about the link between the brand colour and the background of the painting.

#4. New products

All of the communication would not move sales, if the product portfolio did not keep up. Tiffany launched its first all-gender line called Lock, a series of bracelets that swivel open and snap into place, available for $10,000-$20,000. The website says ‘No rules. All welcome.’

KPop star rose in tiffany Locks ad
The new Tiffany Lock campaign features K-pop superstar ROSÉ from girl group BLACKPINK

#5. Experiments

Under Arnault, Tiffany has experimented with everything from NFTs to TiffCoins (a limited drop of physical gold coins that give the holder access to exclusive events.)

An April Fools joke in 2021 nearly broke the Internet, when the brand tweeted that it was abandoning its blue colour for yellow. Riding the moment, a bright yellow pop-up store appeared on Rodeo Drive.

tiffany box and storefornt in bright yellow
When an April Fools tweet saying Tiffany was changing its brand colour went viral, the company followed it up with a bright yellow pop up on Rodeo Drive

Arnault has delivered on this shock and awe playbook previously with luxury luggage brand Rimowa. In a recent interview, he said ‘brands need to be part of the cultural zeitgeist.’ Advice that all of us should take to heart.

2 Comments

  1. The idea of ‘ play’ taken to a level that is so street ! Love the reinvention of its image from iconic to accessible

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