The Gigi Effect?

“We prioritize action and speed over getting it right every single time.”


“There is a mantra today about iterative learning – launch, test, learn, adjust and go back to the drawing board and start again.”


Who am I quoting?


Those statements were from a company that’s enjoying a bit of a renaissance. Things are changing at Tommy Hilfiger, and Avery Baker, their CMO and Tommy veteran of 20 years is leading the way.  On the surface, the answer may be simple—the Gigi Hadid and Tommy Hilfiger collaboration in 2016 was a huge success, but there’s something greater at play than just another celebrity-driven product line.


Avery Baker and Tommy Hilfiger had a long-time vision to make their runway shows more people-focused, democratic and accessible. The “see now, buy now” model deployed for the #TOMMYNOW event made it possible to buy looks from the new Tommy and Gigi line simultaneously as they were shown. No more waiting. But instant gratification came with challenges that needed to be figured out as they went.


“The bigger risk was to stand still.”


"But we needed a process to make sure that we had the safest, smoothest landing as possible.”


“It’s about disruption and ignoring the status quo.”


“Unlocking our entrepreneurial spirit in ourselves.”

“Good ideas can come from anybody, anywhere and we realized that there was talent we didn’t know existed.”

To unlock that entrepreneurial spirit, the company shifted its entire operating model, working closely with wholesale vendors to shrink production schedules, sometimes down to an unheard-of six weeks.The work involved many partnerships in the digital and tech space, including making all social channels shoppable. Getting 4MM products on shop floors all over the world on the floor on the same day required massive collaboration. What once was a relay became a parallel process that required trust, elimination of siloes, and letting go of being perfect.

Avery Baker described the experience as the power of embracing risk again and the rewards that can come from it. The runway show has changed and is now a media platform built around the consumer. One that all measureable and in this case with KPI’s exceeding expectations.

“Throw out the rulebook—if we don’t test and learn, we are never going to move forward.”

“We can all be disruptors.”

What does this mean for our Clients and our Agency?

At HackerAgency, we’ve long searched for inspiration and validation from other categories and this is a perfect example.


1)      Results matter. No matter what business you’re in, you ARE a business and need to deliver business impact. The evolution of the runway show as a media event, driving immediate sales and ROI is a validation of our long-held view on ensuring that the value of work is measureable, resulting in sales, revenue and long-standing customer relationships. Having a measureable goal makes the success of your work objective vs. subjective. That’s defendable and sustainable and leads to long relationships with our clients.


2)      Testing matters and taking risk—succeed or fail—is about being responsible. Whether developing marketing product or building a plan to achieve the seemingly impossible, we hold testing near and dear. We look at patterns that lead to success and validate them in scientific ways. In this testing, we manage risk so that our experimentation is responsible vs. reckless. When our results align with expectation, we can trace it back to responsible testing and experimentation. It’s clear that Avery Baker understood the realities of risk and while doing something new, avoided the temptation to be reckless.


3)      People over process matters. It’s not just what we produce—it’s how we produce it. Tommy and Gigi is a GREAT idea, but execution is everything. The Agile approach to a flawless rollout of the “see now, buy now” event plays a huge role in maximizing sales for this idea. Over the past several years in which we have employed a more Agile approach in the Agency, I have been AWED by the power of a team working together to innovate and deliver for our clients. When people are empowered to make things better, they are more engaged, and the work product is better.


Bottomline—having good ideas isn’t enough. You need to bring them to life, and THAT success depends on the quality of your people to think critically, work together and make the best choices.


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