Almost 40% of people experiencing homelessness in the United States are under 18. One item youth commonly request in homeless shelters is a pair of jeans. Why? Jeans are comfortable in any season and can be worn multiple times between washes. Plus, for a teenager without many belongings, wearing a pair of jeans can provide a sense of normalcy.
So DoSomething.org launched the Teens for Jeans campaign, powered by Aéropostale, to provide youth experiencing homelessness with a sense of normalcy by providing them with a pair of new or gently-worn jeans! Aéropostale placed drop-off bins at their store locations all across the country where campaign participants and in-store customers could conveniently drop off 1 or more pairs of jeans. Together, DoSomething.org and Aéropostale set out to create the largest youth-led denim drive in the country. To accomplish this feat, we had a few goals in mind:
Run a campaign that educates young people on the topic of youth experiencing homelessness.
Empower young people to take action by donating gently-used jeans and running denim drives in their schools and communities with a goal of 100,000 pairs of jeans donated.
Galvanize social leaders in schools to be trusted, on-the-ground peers motivating fellow students to get involved with a goal of including 3,000 schools in our campaign.
Enlist the help of celebrities, influencers, marketing partners, and press, to help amplify the campaign’s message and cause, and drive young people to get involved with a goal of 100,000,000 impressions garnered through the campaign.
Strategic Partnership. Aéropostale, a popular apparel brand with a history of philanthropy and clothing donations, was both a strategic and opportune partner for Teens for Jeans. Aéropostale was not only the sole sponsor for this campaign, but also a committed partner that contributed to the success of the campaign at every step of the way. For instance, Aéropostale placed jeans drop-off bins at their stores all across the country, with promotional in-store and web content that invited potential participants to the campaign, and provided 20% in-store discounts for all participants. Throughout the campaign’s description, you will find more ways in which DoSomething.org and Aéropostale worked together successfully to create the largest youth-led denim drive.
PSA. We launched our campaign through a PSA with 17-year-old actress Jenna Ortega, best known for her role in Netflix's You. In the PSA, Ortega visits SafeHouse of the Desert, a shelter supporting young people near her hometown of Indio, California.
Campaign Site. We launched a campaign microsite which provided young people with all the information needed to participate. They received a step-by-step guide on how to hold jean drives at their schools, in their communities, and when to drop off their jean donations at their local Aéropostale store.
Text-In. Young people were given the opportunity to join the campaign simply by texting JEANS to 38383. We leveraged our impressive member base by inviting our 2 million SMS subscriber list to participate in the campaign.
Scholarships. We offered entry to three $2,500 scholarships during the campaign to incentivize young people to get involved.
School Competition. Aéropostale offered grant awards to the top schools that collected the most jeans. We coordinated with schools across the country to measure impact, field questions, and encourage participation. Our website included a leaderboard where participants can find their school and see how many jeans their school has already donated compared to other schools.
Marketing Partners. We reached young people on various popular platforms, thanks to partners that helped amplify the campaign. For instance, National Cinemedia, which places ads in theaters, donated ad inventory to play our PSA in theaters across the country.
Social Media/Influencers. In addition to messaging DoSomething and Aéropostale’s followers about Teens for Jeans via both of our social media channels, we also activated 15 influencers to help amplify the campaign on their own social channels, including The Good Place actor Kristen Bell, along with Adam Irigoyen, Echosmith, Jillian Rose Reed, and more.
Clubs. A DoSomething.org survey showed that 60% of young people volunteer solely because their friends are doing it. That’s why we activated 30+ DoSomething.org school clubs to take part in the campaign as a group activity.
Merchandise and Micro-prizing. We wanted to have both large numbers of young people doing what they could *and* galvanize leaders to set stretch goals. So we worked with Aéropostale to send denim Teens for Jeans hats to schools that were in the Top 10 on the leaderboard as well as other awesome participants who collected over 200 pairs of jeans!
132,295 pairs of jeans collected by DoSomething members across the U.S. for youth experiencing homelessness, surpassing our goal by 32%.
4,990 schools participated in the campaign. The school with the highest number of jeans donated earned a $10,000 grant, and the second-place school earned a $5,000 grant. The winning school, Harriet Eddy Middle School (Elk Grove, GA), has been participating in Teens for Jeans since 2013, and has collected over 400,000 pairs over the years.
The Teens for Jeans PSA video starring Jenna Ortega was viewed more than 680,000 times.
15 additional celebrities, actors, musicians, and influencers supported the campaign on social media, including Kristen Bell.
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