- Converse, the sneaker and apparel brand owned by Nike, is launching an original video series for Twitter titled "Public Access," as reported by Ad Age. The first episode will air Sept. 5 and be lead by Maisie Williams, who plays Arya Stark on the hit HBO series "Game of Thrones."
Williams' episode will guest star the actress Amandla Stenberg, known for her role in the "Hunger Games" film franchise, and also Millie Bobby Brown from Netflix's "Stranger Things." Brown was featured in a recent GIF-heavy campaign from Converse called "First Day Feels." The second episode of "Public Access" will air later this month with host Miley Cyrus, and more episodes are in the works, per Ad Age.
- "Public Access" is timed to engage the back-to-school school crowd and a younger audience, in particular. The show was created with the agency R/GA, with production work from Prettybird, Ad Age said.
Brands are eager to connect with young demographic groups like Gen Z in order to build out long-term loyalty, but face a conundrum in that those same consumers appear increasingly averse to traditional advertising and are spending less time on traditional channels like TV. In that regard, Converse is focusing on a rich content play that leverages digital channels but still replicates a TV-like experience, as each episode of "Public Access" will last 15 to 20 minutes in length, according to Ad Age. This could prove a smart way to catch the attentions of a Gen Z audience during the crucial back-to-school shopping period.
Converse's choice of celebrity stars is savvy as well. Not only has the brand carefully picked its media properties — few current cultural phenomena can match the reach and popularity of "Game of Thrones" or "Stranger Things" — but it's also using young actors that fit into its target shopper demo and might come across as more relatable.
Research backs up that a digital-first approach is smartest when targeting Gen Z. Native ad firm Sharethrough released a study that found 71% of Gen Z respondents use a smartphone to watch video daily compared to just 52% who said they do the same for TV.
It's interesting, however, that Converse is opting for embattled Twitter over other platforms like YouTube, Snapchat, Instagram or even Facebook, the last of which recently launched a Watch tab for premium video that could accommodate this type of content. Twitter, while still valued a source for breaking news and other information, isn't typically viewed as being youth-oriented, especially compared to other apps like Snapchat or Instagram that are focused on the type of visual communication that's known to be popular with young consumers.