While speculation mounts about a possible return to Australian ownership for big name boots, belts and bush apparel company RM Williams, a cheeky promotion starring an almost-naked Hugh Jackman is generating plenty of chatter, too.
The Australian actor is featured sporting just his RM Williams boots in a cleverly funny 90-second video released this month.
The social media marketing hit comes just as US private equity firm TPG Capital has apparently bowed out of a bid to buy a majority stake in RM Williams, owned since 2014 by the investment division of French fashion giant LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton.
West Australian billionaire miner and beef producer Andrew Forrest's family investment arm Tattarang is reportedly scanning RM Williams' accounts as the next likely contender to buy in.
In the newly released video spoof, Jackman stars as an unusually loyal fan of RM Williams boots, and an unusually dedicated company employee, at a meeting with a company executive.
In fact, he is so blindly enthusiastic about being comfortable in elastic sided RMs he has taken the company dress code a little too literally and neglected to dress in anything else.
In real life Jackman's interest in RM Williams includes a five per cent shareholding in the 88-year-old upmarket bush footwear business, and representing the brand as its "global boot ambassador".
Early this year RM Williams' Salisbury factory in Adelaide upgraded its boot production line after spending about $5 million to help the business catch up with fast growing international demand.
The upgrade lifted capacity to about 500,000 pairs annually.
The latest brand promotion clip follows last year's RM Williams launch of the famous footwear firm's "undeniable character" marketing campaign.
That initial, much less flirty, advertising effort also featured Jackman and his boots, highlighting how much walking the average person was likely to do in a lifetime - equivalent to stepping out to circle the globe 4.4 times.
The Australian actor's celebrity power, and buffed physique, have now scored RM Williams about 600,000 YouTube views internationally since he launched his latest promotional collaboration via his Instagram account on October 2.
Continuing the fun theme, the company said it strongly supported Jackman and was "very proud of the association with this truly undeniable character", however, RM Williams encouraged all people - including Hugh Jackman - to wear clothes.
"Clothes have many amazing benefits, from making the wearer look stylish to making meetings way less awkward," a company statement said.
"Our beautiful and purposefully designed footwear is built using 80 hand-crafted processes to deliver superior comfort. Indeed, perhaps too much comfort.
"We would also like to note this meeting took place in early February. Hugh and RM Williams now encourage those appearing in public to wear masks as well."
RM Williams' chief marketing officer, Mat Hayward said the company's latest brand effort was intended to bring some uniquely Hugh Jackman-style laughter and joy to 2020.
In what had turned out to be an uncomfortable year around the world, the promotion should highlight the comfort and spirit of RM Williams boots and create some fun.
Created with the marketeers at Maximum Effort, the RM Williams video embraced the brand's "undeniable character" positioning as well as Aussie humour.
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