Narco Fashion Marketing

The Mexican Drug Lord, Edgar Valdez Villarreal, aka “La Barbie” was arrested and presented to the media on August 31, 2010, using a green Ralph Lauren Polo shirt.

When Jose Jorge Balderas, aka "El JJ", was arrested and presented to the media on January 18 2011, he was wearing a blue Ralph Lauren Polo shirt. “El JJ” was also a drug dealer and is the alleged shooter of the Paraguayan soccer player Salvador Cabañas.

In jail, "La Barbie" was also photographed wearing the same blue polo shirt model as "El JJ".

The question is, why Ralph Lauren Polo shirts? Is it just a coincidence? Sure it is a well known brand that is also considered a luxury, or at least expensive, here in Mexico (about 125 USD per shirt). It is also copied quite often by piracy. But there is one more thing. I would also think the image of the "big Polo logo" has something to do with it. The big logo, opposing previous small-minimalist logo trends, is very "in your face". In a society that has recently been affected by crime and where no one wants to show off luxury brands, you have to be someone “important” or “connected” that is not afraid of getting mugged in order to wear them. Luxury brands can become a power status more than ever.

The big Ralph Lauren Polo logo also affects due to the fact that it made us notice the brand’s presence in both cases. Think of it this way, even being a trend topic in Twitter, nobody is talking what brand where the pants or jeans the criminals were using.

The crazy fact to analyze is that, although no actual data exists for being informal markets, Ralph Lauren Polo shirt sales in Tepito (the Mexican market for piracy and illegal purchases) have increased due to the fact that the drug lords were wearing the shirts. You would have thought it would be bad image for the brand, when in fact it helped in sales, at least in the piracy markets. Who is buying them? Rising criminals that want to imitate or pretend to be like the drug lords? Those who want to live the life of luxury as drug lords do? An interesting thing would be to analyze what are the actual sales of the original shirts, was it also positive for them?

If you were the brand, would you make a statement about this “coincidence”? It could be a PR opportunity.

If these guys are societies role models and are influencing fashion, then we are worst than I thought. I made some modifications to the original logo, more apt for the situation.

1 comment:

  1. Well it wasn't derogatory about the brand, so no turn-off there. I guess the massive exposure across Twitter was the really helpful.