What happened: Ah, Pirelli; a brand that challenges boundaries and inaugurates trends in the automotive industry across the globe. The famous, multinational company based in Milan, Italy, manufactures tires for luxury automobile brands including Lamborghini, Ferrari, Aston Martin, Bentley and Porsche. When they’re not making tires, sponsoring Formula One Championships and having their logo splashed across soccer jerseys worldwide, they also dabble in “art” with their annual limited-edition Pirelli Calendar.
50 years of the calendar has graced us with famous models the likes of Kate Moss, Cindy Crawford, Heidi Klum, Gisele Bündchen, and Sophia Loren. However, Pirelli is treading a new path for their 51st publication. They pumped the brakes on their fifty year tradition with the newly-released 2016 Pirelli Calendar; trading in scantily clad centerfolds for accomplished, strong, and amusing women like Amy Schumer, Serena Williams and Yoko Ono. Amy Schumer posted her calendar photo to her Facebook page with the caption: “Beautiful, gross, strong, thin, fat, pretty, ugly, sexy, disgusting, flawless, woman. Thank you Annie Leibovitz!” Her post has received more than 963,725 likes and counting! Pirelli also unveiled their new Calendar the same morning of November 30th on their Facebook page, garnering under 500 likes. Tennis legend Serena William’s 3.9 million followers on Facebook have yet to be hit with any mention of Pirelli’s Calendar.
What this means for brands: In a day where photos of half-naked women are readily available and sexual imagery is merely a click away, Pirelli made the right decision by moving in a new direction with their annual Calendar. Even the iconic Playboy Magazine is baring it all one last time. According to Pirelli’s company release, the 20,000 calendars they produce annually go to “V.I.P.’s, musicians, politicians and royalty.” But this year, MILLIONS of people across the internet now know of and have seen the calendar.
Pirelli’s calendar has always been a marketing tactic, and they clearly wanted to create a buzz this year. The problem is that Amy Schumer made no mention or “tag” of Pirelli at all. Based on the thousands of comments she received, it’s evident that those who engaged with Amy over her photo did not realize that Pirelli had anything to do with it. Brands should be sure to utilize their influencers- especially on social media even if that means a quick tag or hashtag. It is paramount to realize the benefit of your resources. It has yet to be seen if Pirelli will sell more tires from showing less skin, but the potential overall is clear.