As the former Australian of the Year and famous AFL star, Adam Goodes got a new role after retirement in October 2015, being appointed one of six brand ambassadors of Australia retail giant David Jones. He would feature in the new campaign of David Jones “It’s In You”. This news almost caused a national debate. There were both lovers and haters. The Facebook page of David Jones was flooded with various racism comments and boos within a short time (ABC, 2015). Facing the online negative comments, David Jones was very disappointed but still insisted on this great decision to support Adam Goodes as a brand ambassador. And David Jones also gained many important positive feedback from internal employees, customers, suppliers and other stakeholders. Meanwhile, Adam Goodes said that he was very willing to play an important role in achieving the significant Reconciliation Action Plan of David Jones. The RAP is a part of Good Business Journey that will help David Jones become more sustainable and perfect brand image. On the other hand, there were also a lot of supporting voices. This announcement was regarded as great campaign and amazing ambassador.
Why did David Jones sign on the controversial brand ambassador? Was it a successful marketing campaign from the angle of branding? Let us understand the current marketing issues of David Jones before answering these questions.
David Jones is facing a big challenge that its brand is increasingly out of fashion with lots of dusts, due to over 170 years of history. Its main customer base is ageing. From the view of many young customers, the modern taste cannot be found in David Jones that is more suitable for their parents. In addition to the major competitor Myer, Zara, Topshop and H&M and other fast fashion brands were also become the important market rivals who attract a lot of young consumers.
Did David Jones keep silent with no reaction? No, David Jones realized change was imperative and was trying to delivering a new brand purpose for renewing the brand and rejuvenizing the consumer group by new marketing campaign “It’s In You”. It was starred by Adam Goodes so as to freshen the brand and attract the younger customers between 18 and 34 years old.
Although there is much racism taut, this is a wise move of David Jones. Adam Goodes is a brave and inspiring community role model. His story is fit for the brand purpose of David Jones and gives consumers a kind of differentiated brand recognition.
Brand ambassador is seen as the ‘face’ of what the brand stands for. In other words, He or she is the embodiment of brand core identity that will perfect the brand perception in consumer’s mind and impact the consumer behavior (Lacobucci, 2014). And brand ambassador will also enhance the brand trust, to a large extent. Many supporters of Adam Goodes may increase the purchase frequency in David Jones from now on.
However, there is a doubt whether Adam Jones will bring more and more young consumer for David Jones or not. This directly impacts the success of new campaign. Maybe many young people give applause to Goodes for his new role, but will they become the loyal customers of David Jones, withdrawing from Zara and H&M? Now, the socially networked generations belong to the sophisticate. They prefer to consult the suggestions from online friends or stylists before making a purchase decision. It is impossible for them to place the trust in brand ambassador.
How many contributions Adam Goodes will bring? Is he quite qualified for the work of brand ambassador on earth? The outcome may be found in the next one or two years.
ABC. (2015), David Jones ‘disappointed’ by reaction to Adam Goodes appointment after negative response online, Retrieved March 27th 2016 from
Lacobucci, D. (2014), Marketing Management, 4th Edition, South-Western, Cenage Learing, Mason, Chapter 2, Customer Behavior and Chapter 14, Customer Satisfaction and Relationships