- Abercrombie & Fitch this week started streaming a seven-part miniseries about mental health and wellness in the LGBTQ community on Instagram's IGTV video platform. "A&F Conversations x Megan Rapinoe" features discussions between the soccer champion and the apparel chain's "Fierce Family" of diverse influencers and activists, per an announcement.
- The first episode featured Rapinoe in a conversation with Olympic skier and activist Gus Kenworthy about his mental health challenges and experiences as a gay man "in the hypermasculine world of men's sports." Future episodes will include discussions with model Leyna Bloom, paralympian Scout Bassett, former NFL player Ryan Russell, cowboy Randy Savvy, model Laith Ashley and influencer Halle Hathaway, all of whom are advocates for diversity and inclusion.
- Abercrombie & Fitch started streaming the episode on Oct. 11 in observance of National Coming Out Day. The series is an extension of "A&F Conversations," a video series launched in August that focuses on social and racial justice, and comes as brands align themselves to LGBTQ+ History Month after Pride Month activations in June were upended by the pandemic.
Abercrombie & Fitch aims to reach young adults and teens with its series focused on mental health issues faced by the LGBTQ community, a topic that's most likely to resonate with its target audience. LGBTQ youth are at higher risk of mental health disorders because of adversities including bullying, difficulty coming out to friends and family, hate crimes, lack of support and fear of discrimination, according to an academic study published by the National Institutes of Health. Amid those concerns, Abercrombie & Fitch's target audience of Generation Z and millennial consumers are more likely than older groups to express greater tolerance for gender diversity, Pew Research Center found.
By running the series on IGTV, Abercrombie & Fitch can reach a target audience that's more likely to use social media and is harder to reach through traditional media channels. About a third of Instagram's 112 million users in the U.S. are ages 25 to 34, while 23% are 18 to 24 years old, according to Statista data. Meanwhile, the COVID-19 pandemic has led to a surge in social media usage among people who use apps like Instagram to stay connected with friends and family, giving Abercrombie & Fitch a chance to boost viewership.
The number of users of IGTV's standalone app is said to be much less than the main app, though Instagram does provide limited IGTV features in its app. The miniseries comes as Instagram expands shopping capabilities in both IGTV and Reels, its new feature for sharing short video clips, and could increase viewership on the platform.
The "A&F Conversations x Megan Rapinoe" miniseries arrives as other brands celebrate LGBTQ+ History Month in October with campaigns aimed at promoting diversity and inclusion. Running these campaigns during LGBTQ+ History Month allows brands to market around diversity and inclusion after many Pride Month activations in June were upended by the coronavirus pandemic and protests for racial justice.
Among those efforts, Mondelez's Oreo brand this month gave out the first packs of its sandwich cookies with rainbow filling for each color of the Pride flag to social media users who responded to the offer. The giveaway was part of its broader #ProudParent campaign to demonstrate how families can support LGBTQ acceptance. Travel site Orbitz enlisted social influencers on Instagram to highlight queer-friendly businesses, landmarks and cities as the COVID-19 pandemic limits travel. The company asked people to share recommendations of places to visit for a chance to be featured on its Instagram account.