Abercrombie & Fitch reached out to ViacomCBS with an objective of building awareness for their abercrombie kids brand and driving new customer acquisitions in 2020. In order to do this, the brand wanted to draw attention to their cause and purpose – to see the world through kids’ eyes, where play is life and every day is an opportunity to be anything and better everything. Their mission was to highlight their marketing messaging, Play Is Life, and align with organizations that shared their values of creating a better world through kids’ eyes.
And who knows kids better than the number-one entertainment brand for kids – Nickelodeon! With these goals in mind, Abercrombie enlisted ViacomCBS to develop a fully custom, kid-centric, authentic program that spread an important message to all kids – it’s cool to be kind! Together, abercrombie kids and ViacomCBS partnered to create a marketing initiative that introduced fans to abercrombie’s Kind Crew – a group of kids focused on doing good things, talking about important issues, and spreading kindness to others. By utilizing the Nickelodeon platform to engage directly with their target audience (Kids and Parents of Kids 6-12), we developed a custom branded program that highlighted abercrombie’s brand ethos in a truly organic way. The full campaign combined client priorities, pro-social messaging, and the Nickelodeon sensibility into one inspiring and engaging content series for kids.
Through our year-long custom marketing program, abercrombie kids and Nickelodeon introduced fans to abercrombie’s Kind Crew—four kids focused on spreading kindness and having fun while doing it. Guest hosts and charitable partners were brought in throughout the series to help cement and amplify the message of each episode’s culturally relevant topic. To resonate with fans and to extend the Kind Crew message and abercrombie partnership beyond Nickelodeon’s ecosystem, we leveraged a diverse group of influencers to serve as the Crew and hosts, reflective of our audiences. The talent served as both brand ambassadors and series characters as they found authentic ways to talk about issues that mattered to them. Throughout the series, the Crew touted the importance of bringing kids together, sharing their voices, and celebrating everyone just as they are.
In total, we created seven custom branded episodes that ran on Nickelodeon’s YouTube channel, tackling serious topics and cultural moments like children’s mental health and the electoral process. For the series’ third episode, the team planned to highlight topics surrounding the Back to School season. However as we began to develop creative, we recognized there was a much more important conversation being discussed in homes across the country that summer – racism and racial justice. Since the series at its core is about hearing from real kids about real issues, we realized this was just the type of conversation our Kind Crew should be having. Both Nickelodeon and abercrombie kids pivoted plans to ensure we engaged in the conversation in an authentic and meaningful way – and let kids voices drive the discussion. During our special episode, the Kind Crew and our Guest star, motivational speaker Nyeeam Hudson, talked openly about how they were feeling during these times, what the Black Lives Matter movement meant to them, and how everyone – even kids, can make a difference in how we address equity in today’s world. Throughout the episode, we spotlighted a young teen artist named Morrah, who listened to their discussion and turned their words into art. By the end of the episode, both Morrah and the kids had created pieces of art that gave them another avenue to express their feelings and encouraged kids and families to have the same types of conversations in their own homes. The episode was a powerful reminder that kids are listening to what’s going on around them – and that we owe it to them to listen to what they have to say.
By creating this episode, we hoped to message to kids that it’s OK to have feelings about important topics, and they should feel emboldened to speak their minds. At the end of the episode, we encouraged families not to shy away from these conversations about racial justice, and to have open dialogue with their children about how they are feeling. This strategy helped to achieve the client’s goals of encouraging kids that their voices matter, highlighting that we all need to work together to fight against racial injustice, and even helped adults learn some valuable lessons in the process – all while spotlighting an issue important to the abercrombie kids brand.
The campaign delivered across multiple key performance indicators, with 79% of participants/respondents in a Nielsen Research Study noting that the content was engaging, and 76% agreeing with the statement “Abercrombie Kids has a message I would like to see more of,” (a 34% lift compared to generic brand messaging) - showing that this episode resonated with viewers.
This particular episode was so powerful that it even resulted in a collaboration with the talented artist featured in the episode, Morrah. In 2020, abercrombie kids partnered with her to create and design custom tees that were donated to the pro-social organization The Conscious Kid, and her mural artwork from the episode was prominently featured in abercrombie kids stores across the US to further celebrate her creation during Black History Month 2021.
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