Carhartt: Living Authenticity

Originally published on Warc

Carhartt, the workwear manufacturer, believes only featuring real “hard-working people” in its marketing is as important for its brand as sports companies using actual athletes as their official ambassadors.

Tony Ambroza, Carhartt’s svp/marketing, drilled down into this subject at IEG’s 2015 Sponsorship conference in Chicago.

“You don’t use a fake athlete to market to athletes,” he said. (For more, including details of an unusual brand extension that boosted the firm’s position, read Warc’s report: Carhartt: from workwear brand to craft brewer.)

“Why on earth would I use a fake worker – who’s going to hold the hammer wrong, use the wrong sledgehammer or do something maybe that wouldn’t meet certain standards – for the way that we want to tell our stories?”

The traditional Carhartt customer, he asserted, enjoys the “4Bs” – namely, “beef, barbecue, buddies and beer” – and is resistant to disingenuous marketing.

And as a brand focused on construction workers, loggers, welders and other people engaged in the demanding jobs that keep America moving, authenticity is a fundamental part of the organisation’s core proposition.

“Our conviction is simple: we believe in hard work. And that belief is what inspires us. It’s what drives our creative,” Ambroza said.

“We capture the real essence of what our consumer is doing in our beliefs and everything we create.”

Such a conviction informs Carhartt’s underlying mission, too – that is, becoming the “uniform for any man or woman that chooses to take on any rugged corner of the earth”.

And, Ambroza suggested, various trends observable in the wider consumer marketplace have brought Carhartt’s ideals back into fashion – both attitudinally and when discussing apparel.

“We talk in a way about our consumer that’s reverent. And the beautiful thing that we’re learning is more and more people are embracing this,” he said.

“People are celebrating the craftsmen. And fortunately Cahartt’s been doing it since Hamilton Carhartt founded it.”

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