- Fruit of the Loom is bringing back its fruit-themed mascots with a bigger focus on social media, particularly TikTok, according to news shared with Marketing Dive.
- The Fruit People, which include Apple, Leaf, Green Grape and Purple Grape, are now joined by a chief TikToker named Emma who attempts to make the characters go viral. A new video delves into Fruit of the Loom’s headquarters as the group haplessly speculates on which TikTok trend to jump on to make a splash on the platform.
- Developed with agency GSD&M, the content will run initially on TikTok before appearing on Instagram Reels, a lookalike short-form video feature. Fruit of the Loom joins other marketers in plumbing Gen Z nostalgia to form a stronger connection with the young cohort.
Mascots are clearly back in vogue, particularly those that might summon fond childhood memories for a certain age set. While Fruit of the Loom’s brand characters have factored into commercials dating back to the ‘70s, some of their most memorable appearances came out of the late ‘90s and early aughts, when Gen Z was coming of age and still watching linear TV. Resurrecting the Fruit People — formerly the Fruit of the Loom Guys but now inclusive of women — aligns with a broader resurgence of Y2K nostalgia.
The social media strategy represents another gear shift for the over 170-year-old brand, which is best known for its casual wear and underwear. Fruit of the Loom previously wound down a focus on the quirky, slapstick-prone characters in the 2010s to promote the functional benefits and comfort of its apparel, part of the explosion of athleisure during the period.
Fruit of the Loom has been posting on TikTok since April 2022 and accrued about 17,000 followers on the platform, but the Fruit People aim to develop a more meaningful connection with shoppers. The timing of the refresh also arrives ahead of the holidays, a key sales window for retailers.
“We wanted to create content that would engage current social trends and make the brand a part of that culture,” said Jess Zalaznick, agency GSD&M’s creative director, in a statement. “Utilizing our known assets of Fruit characters, and giving them a home on TikTok, starts a new chapter and adventure for the brand to continue resonating with modern audiences.”
TikTok has risen to be the go-to app for Gen Zers and now attracts some 150 million users in the U.S. That popularity makes standing out difficult for marketers, but some brand pages generate an organic following by posting entertaining content that feels relevant to what’s trending on the fast-moving platform. Language-learning app Duolingo, for example, has become a TikTok star thanks to absurd and humorous videos featuring its green owl mascot, including one where it twerks.
Fruit of the Loom has tried to jump on buzzy TikTok discourse before. TikTokers at one point debated whether the brand’s logo ever featured a cornucopia (it didn’t), an instance of the Mandela Effect, a phenomenon describing collective misremembering. Fruit of the Loom has a TikTok playlist called “Mandela Effect” composed of 45 videos where it leans into the heated back-and-forth.