- Youth retailer Aéropostale unveiled a new brand message called "Aero Oneness" that emphasizes unity and celebrates differences, according to details the company shared with Marketing Dive. The messaging will be refreshed on a quarterly basis and will underpin a variety of the brand's marketing efforts going forward, including events, campaigns, cause marketing and partnerships.
- The brand platform launches with a creative campaign, including a video that features real people who serve as Oneness Ambassadors. For the creative, the stars styled their own looks, created their own scripts and choreographed their moves.
- The brand said the ambassadors were found in a variety of ways, including on TikTok and Instagram as well as via referrals from store associates and customers.
Aéropostale — which is owned by Authentic Brands, the company that recently bought troubled retailer Barney's — is the latest example of a brand offering messaging around unity at a divisive period in American society. By handing creative control to real people in its Oneness initiative, the brand is leaning on authenticity and social media creators to boost its appeal to younger consumers. This reflects the interests of Gen Z, who are more likely to want to become influencers and trust social media stars over celebrities as brand representatives, according to a Morning Consult report out this week. The brand is doubling down on its appeal to Gen Z by standing for inclusivity, as this demographic is known for being "radically inclusive," per a McKinsey report.
"We realized Aéropostale had an opportunity to create a platform that was a safe space for expression and to share a positive message," Natasha Fishman, EVP of marketing at parent company Authentic Brands Group, said in the press release.
Aéropostale is not the first brand looking to combat the current divisiveness and polarization.
Last summer, Mike's Hard Lemonade launched a campaign, "The Brighter Times," featuring a home page takeover of The Washington Post online that blocked negative news and directed readers to positive stories, as well as other stunts emphasizing smile-inducing stories.
In the same vein, review platform Trustpilot recently debuted an effort that showed how a monarch and a drag performer — both queens — could be united in their desire to review businesses.
Aéropostale's effort, in its use of real people, also resembles a campaign last spring by its competitor, American Eagle.
In that marketing push, the photography, styling and creative direction was handled by 10 Gen Z "cast members," discovered through social media, shown in their own locales and photographed in self-portraits taken on iPhones or disposable cameras. This kind of authenticity in marketing has also been used successfully by American Eagle's sister company, Aerie, through user-generated content on YouTube.