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Special Project

Special Project
From the 15th Annual Shorty Awards

Courage to Be Real by Coach x Ovative Group

Entered in Brand Awareness Campaign


Coach sought to reach the coveted Gen Z audience and build brand equity through a message of confidence and self-expression. The brand partnered with Lil Nas X to inspire audiences to have the Courage to Be Real. But as marketers know, the message is nothing without the medium. Coach partnered with experts at Ovative to break through the advertising clutter, reaching Gen Z audiences in their natural environments. 

Ovative built the Courage to Be Real media strategy to: 

  1. Reach digital natives through targeted high-impact tactics, predominantly focused on video creative. 

  1. Align with Gen Z’s interests through hyper-focused targeting. 

  1. Maximize an 8 second window of attention by running attention-grabbing media on their most-loved platforms such as TikTok, YouTube, Meta, Snapchat, Vogue, and Highsnobiety. 

The Courage to Be Real Campaign Goals were to: 

Goal 1: Build brand equity with Gen Z aligned with confidence and courage.  

Goal 2: Inspire audiences to have the courage to continue to explore their many selves and never stop experimenting. 

Goal 3: Build awareness with key audiences before expecting significant engagement or conversion. 

Strategy and Execution

Ovative executed deep consumer research to understand preferences and shopping habits of the Gen Z audience to select the right channels and tactics to effectively capture attention. Research found Gen Z audiences to be digital natives with near constant online presence, basing their purchases on brand values. 63% of Gen Z and Young Millennial consumers believe what a brand stands for is the most important purchase factor (Source 1). Additionally, Gen Z audiences spend 3+ hours per day on social media, more than any other generation. However, with just an 8-second attention span, they expect engaging brand experiences (Source 2).  

The Courage to Be Real campaign was born to uniquely speak to this audience, utilizing engaging creative built for each of Gen Z’s most-loved platforms. The creative showcased Coach’s brand values and was supported by a Lil Nas X celebrity endorsement. Media investment included 90% upper funnel tactics to maximize reach and frequency and 10% mid-to-lower funnel tactics to capture downstream impact.  

The campaign flight included: 

  1. Teaser content to build hype (9/9-9/11, <1% of spend). 

  1. Content supporting the runway reveal of Lil Nas X at New York Fashion Week (9/12-9/19, 6% of spend). 

  1. Awareness and amplification content for the Courage to Be Real Manifesto video launch (9/20-9/30). 

  1. Engagement content to build Coach community to live the brand promise post-launch of the Manifesto video (10/1-10/29). 

  1. Extension of the planned campaign based on success (10/29-11/5). 

Media spend was allocated based on Gen Z consumption habits: 49% Online Video, 40% Social, 4% Other Partners, 3% OOH Billboard, 3% Display, and 1% Paid Search and included: 

In developing and executing the media strategy, three key challenges had to be overcome: 
Challenge 1: Breaking Through Clutter: Brands recognize the importance of capturing the awareness, and dollars, of Gen Z in a cluttered landscape. Coach broke through using ad placements where Gen Z lives digitally, with creative, messaging, and celebrity endorsement aligned with fashion week. 

Challenge 2: Shifting Perceptions of Upper Funnel: Coach’s historical focus has been to drive immediate conversions. Ovative illustrated the value of investing in upper funnel tactics. Using Ovative’s Marketing Analytics Platform (MAP), an AI-driven analytics platform that measures media performance, the client started understanding the Enterprise Marketing Return (EMR) value of upper funnel media on enterprise sales, lifetime customer value, incrementality, and profitability.  

Challenge 3: Adapting to Evolving Needs: Media strategies must adapt to consumer sentiment and business needs. With measurement in place to understand consumer perception and campaign performance, Ovative had contingency plans to adjust creative, messaging, and ad tactics mid-flight, including shifting activations based on creative and ad inventory.  



1) MRI/Simmons, USA Doublebase on 18-34 audience 

2) Vivaldi, Gen Z Insights: Why It's Time For a New Brand Strategy 


Goal 1: Build brand equity with Gen Z, aligned with confidence and courage.  

Metric of Success: According to Ad Age's The Harris Poll, Coach placed eighth for brands getting Gen Z attention during this campaign (Source 1).   

Goal 2: Inspire audiences to have the courage to continue to explore their many selves and never stop experimenting and Goal 3: Build awareness with key audiences before expecting significant engagement or conversion.  

Metrics of Success: exceeded campaign performance goals:  

Metrics of Success: exceeded channel performance goals:  


1) Ad Age 2022, 20 brands getting Gen Z attention right now 


Video for Courage to Be Real by Coach x Ovative Group

Entrant Company / Organization Name

Ovative Group, Coach


Entry Credits