Case Study: Al's Formal Wear

Counterattacking Competition by Targeting New Markets


  • Al’s Formal Wear rents tuxedos through its 100 stores in six states. The brand had been steadily losing market share to the much-larger Men’s Wearhouse brand due to its more aggressive (TV dominant) advertising and lead sharing strategic partnership with David’s Bridal.


  • Chief Outsiders developed a plan to counterattack Men’s Wearhouse on the flanks instead of head-on, by  targeting Hispanics who have more formal wear occasions than their general market counterparts and are an enormous segment that their competitor chose not to go after. The campaign used targeted Hispanic TV advertising, publicity (TV and radio show wedding tips-themed appearances) and social media like Vine (where brides-to-be could share their wedding ideas and videos, and then enter to win a dream honeymoon from Al’s).
  • New Al’s advertising positioned Al’s as the Formal Wear experts and Men’s Wearhouse as formal wear part-timers--inappropriate for important formal wear occasions. It included downloadable formal wear etiquette guides (also printed and distributed at retail stores), thought leadership activities to drive publicity and wedding expertise online content, and contests promoted at the web site, at retail, and on radio/TV to drive new bridal leads. (See below) 


  • New “Discover Your Formal Side” English and Spanish language campaign drove awareness dramatically and generated new bridal leads at retail and online

“Tuxedo Tips” – An Opportunity to show the Al’s Personal Touch and Expertise 


  • One etiquette book inserted in every outbound tuxedo ready for pick up
  • Point out to the customer that you've included a gift for them -- so they can act as cool as they look in the tux
  • Positioned the little book as a “secret weapon” from Al’s that goes in their inside jacket pocket--just like we showed in the TV spot
  • Online Content Play: Formal Wear Advice Downloads & Collateral in English & Spanish

Jim McDonald

Contact Chief Marketing Outsider Jim McDonald