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Rimowa Revives Its ‘Pilot’ Style Suitcase

Rimowa produced an aviation-themed campaign to mark the product re-release, which includes still images as well as four films shot in the European Transonic wind tunnel located in Cologne, Germany.
rimowa luggage wind tunnel
Rimowa is reviving its Pilot case, which became a "cult" classic, its CMO said.

On Jul. 7, LVMH-owned luggage and lifestyle brand Rimowa is reviving its “cult” Pilot style, an €1,140 (about $1,485) hard shell case, four years after discontinuing it. Rimowa produced an aviation-themed campaign to mark the product re-release as well.

While customers just coming around to Rimowa’s marketing may better know its best-sellers — like its classic hardshell aluminium luggage — the new launch represents a renewed focus on engineering and functionality after two years of trying to sell consumers on aspiration, according to CMO Emelie de Vitis.

“It’s really tying in the functional with the aspirational … versus maybe the past few years where we’ve been very geared towards more aspirational communication,” she said.

Last year, Rimowa enlisted Rihanna, Roger Federer, Lebron James and Patti Smith as brand ambassadors to star in its “Never Still” campaign, the brand’s first major marketing moment since the beginning of the pandemic and a concerted effort to position it as a “mobility brand” rather than simply a luggage maker, CEO Hugues Bonnet-Masimbert told BoF at the time.

To amplify the campaign for the Pilot case, Rimowa is spending less than it has before. The budget for this project was devoted mainly to creating the creative assets, which include still images as well as four films shot in the European Transonic wind tunnel located in Cologne, Germany. De Vitis said Rimowa is also focused on driving organic media — press mentions and appearances on the brand’s owned social media channels — rather than spending money on paid marketing for this campaign.

“We’re not a brand that can invest millions into product launches like this,” de Vitis said. “I think the result that we’ve achieved is very cinematographic … and to me, it looks like a million dollars.”

This campaign follows on two recent releases, including a collaboration with Porsche that de Vitis called “extremely successful,” while noting that the brand is on track to outperform its 2019 sales. Rimowa’s next major campaign will come in September, she said.

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