French Connection : advertising & marketing assignments

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British fashion retailer French Connection reinvented itself in the late 1990s by relaunching as FCUK, with attention grabbing shock tactics apparently borrowed in equal measure from punk rock group the Sex Pistols and rival clothing retailer Benetton. Emblazoned on T-shirts and giant poster sites, that "accidental misspelling" was an enormous though controversial success for several years. While many mainstream fashion brands such as Levi's and Gap struggled to reinvent themselves for a new generation of shoppers, French Connection was firing on all cylinders through the late 1990s and early 2000s, with record profits and rapid expansion worldwide. Yet however daring its marketing may have been, French Connection's clothes were in fact considerably less interesting than those stocked at faster-growing rivals Zara and H&M, and the truth finally caught up with the company in 2004. That year, sales began to slow significantly, encouraging the company finally to drop the FCUK slogan from its advertising. That tactic failed to arrest the steady decline in performance. Revenues for the year ending 2018 were £154m. Founder Stephen Marks, who turned 70 in 2016, remains chairman and chief executive of the group, as well as controlling shareholder.

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