Peroni’s fashion venture aims to raise the brand’s stylish profile

Peroni%20fashionPeroni Nastro Azzurro beer has collaborated with designer Antonio Berardi to create its first-ever fashion accessories range, which will be sold from spring 2009.

The SABMiller-owned brand has stepped outside its traditional brewing expertise to launch a leather travel bag, which is shortly to be followed by a further range of goods called Peroni by Antonio Berardi.

The Italian-made, limited-edition range will go on sale in some of Britain’s high-end stores, although it has not yet been confirmed which retailers will stock the goods. More ranges will be developed for other global markets in a global five-year deal between the beer and Berardi.

Peroni already has some form in the fashion world. It has previously sponsored London Fashion Week and opened a pop-up boutique in central London called Emporio Peroni to support the beer. Berardi has also worked with Peroni on its advertising in Russia to help launch the brand there. But now the collaboration has gone further than ever before.

Peroni Nastro Azzurro’s group international marketer Pierpaolo Indelicato, says that Berardi will help the beer differentiate itself from mass-market rivals. He explains: “Beer has been so far marketed in a very classical way. This positioning has allowed us to charter the territories of champagne and spirits, not usual beer territories.”


High profile partnership

The likes of Victoria Beckham and Gwyneth Paltrow have been spotted wearing Berardi’s creations, but the designer himself believes that his work with a brewer can only mean good things for his reputation. He says: “It aligns my brand with a world premium beer which is extremely chic. This partnership makes perfect sense to me.”

But Lida Hujic, a brand strategist who specialises in fashion, says this kind of partnership deal has become quite common. Like fashion, she suspects that the accessories range may not last beyond one season and doubts it will have much of an impact on the apparel world. She says: “The principle of ‘collaborations’, which had always existed, has become a de rigueur marketing tool over the past few years. We live in age where advertisers are having to spend increasingly more for increasingly less consumer attention, so they are resorting to media attention.”

Stefano Turconi, senior strategist at Wolff Olins argues that the collaboration is likely to fill column inches rather than increase revenues for the beer. He predicts: “Peroni is fast to understand the big worth of style, fashion and glamour; the associations of Italy. The collaboration between Peroni Nastro Azzurro and the emerging fashionista Mr. Berardi is designed to be short-lived.”


Style over value

Indelicato admits that the accessories are not designed to generate lots of money but communicate its brand values about being more stylish than other beers. He claims that Peroni Nastro Azzurro has grown 25% year on year following this strategy.

Euromonitor analyst Paul Curran points out that even though accessories may not become a top-earning sub brand for the beer, it could still benefit the bottom line in the long term. He argues: “SABMiller’s promotion of its brands in tough times could be useful. Evidence shows brands that have been heavily promoted in downturns tend to show an above average performance in good times.”

For now, Peroni is clinking its bottles in celebration of its jetsetter bag, which has been announced ahead of London’s next Fashion Week, starting on February 20. Whether or not its foray into apparel will fall out of favour as quickly as some of the catwalk clothing is yet to be seen.


Jo Roberts


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