How Tommy Hilfiger was almost too embarrassed to succeed

I was watching this documentary about advertising agencies on Netflix the other day.

Called Art & Copy, it was like Mad Men. But real.

These ad guys sure are creative.

One example is the original ad that launched the career of fashion designer Tommy Hilfiger.

The ad was very simple. It said…

The 4 Great American Designers for Men Are:





Then it had a picture of the Hilfiger logo, with text next to it that said: this is the logo of the least known of the four.

This was one ballsy ad.

At the time, Tommy Hilfiger was a nobody. But there he was, stacked up against Ralph Lauren, Perry Ellis and Calvin Klein.

Hilfiger himself was totally embarrassed and didn’t want it to run.

But run it did – on a giant billboard near Times Square.

And, of course, it worked.

People noticed and bought his clothes. And loved them.

Tommy Hilfiger became a megabrand and made billions.

Of course, if Hilfiger’s clothes had been bad and people had hated them, his career would have been over.

A good ad can’t save a bad product.

But to the people who bought the clothes, Hilfiger deserved to be on the same list as Ralph Lauren and Calvin Klein.

There’s something you can learn from Hilfiger’s embarrassment and subsequent success.

If you have the goods, it pays to get out there and prove it.

It pays to position yourself as the go-to guy or gal.

It pays to have the guts to put your name out there and claim your territory.

So that’s why I urge people to do that with their newsletters.

Claim what is yours.

If you’re an expert at something, say so.

Don’t worry that others might appear to have been there longer or are more famous.

If you have the goods, just go ahead and do it. Even if it makes you feel uncomfortable.

Because if you don’t, you’ll always be playing catch-up.

With our newsletters, you can edit them to prove you are an expert.

Or you can just leave them as they are. After all, 99% of your competitors are doing nothing and claiming nothing.