Fifty Shades of Grey in an affair with KappAhl

Bulls Licensing received the nordic representation for Fifty Shades of Grey in January 2013. As the licensing for Fifty Shades of Grey is limited to the type of products present in the story of the books, the strategy was to look at a partnership rather than a straight forward licensing deal.

In close co-operation with Bulls and the brand owner, KappAhl planned and developed a major collection to be launched in time for Christmas sales 2013.

The collections was kept secret to all, including KappAhl’s staff, only very few people including MD, PR and head designer knew that the planned collection was actually Fifty Shades. 

KappAhl has been struggling in the market and needed a facelift to refresh and renew their image.

KappAhl’s objectives were to re-position themselves as a modern and updated chain of stores. Bulls objective was to find a long-term partner to build brand awareness as well as a strong licensing business. 

“We are always looking for new ways to interest our customers and this is the first time that KappAhl has entered into a collaboration of this type. It gives us an opportunity to offer our customers a feeling of luxury and frivolity in their everyday lives. The end result is better than we could have ever hoped and we are very happy with the enthusiasm and commitment shown by Bulls Licensing and E L James from start to finish. we are now awaiting with interest the response from our customers.”

Carina Ladow, Vice President. Range and Design, KappAhl. 

With meticulous media planning Bulls and KappAhl tied up celebrities and writer EL James to the launch of the underwear collection. In October 2013 the news of the collaboration was ”leaked” to the press. A few weeks later key celebrities were sent samples of the collection, which kept the media buzz going. 

Selected Swedish media was flown to the UK for interviews with writer EL James on the collaboration. End of October – a mysterious invitation was sent out to celebrities, bloggers, press and key partners to the launch and fashion show at Grand Hotel in Stockholm, hosted by Swedish PR guru Michael Bindefeldt. 

The press has shown enormous interest in the collaboration. E L James has been inter- viewed on TV and the collection and brand partnership discussed in fashion magazines as well as in business media. The awareness of Fifty Shades of Grey as well as KappAhl’s revamped image has soared. 

As the launch of the Fifty Shades products took place in early november 2013, it is too early to talk financial figures yet. However, KappAhl has confirmed that the media spend on the campaign has been the biggest investment in the history of the company, founded in 1953.


Fifty shades of Grey