Can TikTok stars build brands for digital natives?

Discussion
Source: Hollister Co. - “Introducing Social Tourist”
May 11, 2021

Abercrombie & Fitch is launching a standalone apparel brand, called Social Tourist, with TikTok stars and sisters, Charli and Dixie D’Amelio, in an effort to reach always-on generations.

Described as “TikTok’s most famous sisters” by People magazine in a preview of the launch, Charli, 17, and Dixie, 19, have more than 166 million followers combined on the video app. Charli became the first TikTok user In November 2020 to surpass 100 million followers on the platform. Across TikTok, Instagram and YouTube, the pair have nearly 250 million followers.

The line is launching May 20 with select pieces in stores at Hollister, Abercrombie’s teen chain. The full 80-piece collection is available online at Hollister.com and socialtourist.com. Each collection will include limited-edition items and new products will drop approximately every month.

Abercrombie first began working with the D’Amelio sisters last July for Hollister’s back-to-school campaign with new products debuting through the back half. A MoreHappyDenimDance TikTok challenge spearheaded by the pair garnered over 5.4 billion views worldwide.

“Charli and Dixie are the quintessential example of what it’s like to grow up in the digital world, and we’ve always believed they authentically represent our teen customers’ mindset both online and in real life,” said Kristin Scott, global brand president at Abercrombie, in a statement.

The sisters have a multi-year agreement with Abercrombie and are involved with product selection, design, branding, positioning and marketing beyond fronting the brand on social media. Their father, Marc D’Amelio, a fashion-industry veteran, serves as a consultant.

Online bloggers and influencers have increasingly collaborated with retailers and brands on apparel, beauty and jewelry lines, particularly limited-edition drops. A standout has been Arielle Charnas’s Something Navy collection for Nordstrom.

The scale and ambition of Social Tourist set it apart. “Essentially, it’s a first-ever social commerce line that will be sold through two incredible influencers,” Abercrombie CEO Fran Horowitz told WWD.

A survey of just over 5,000 marketing professionals as part of Influencer Marketing Hub’s “Influencer Marketing Benchmark Report 2021” report found 90 percent believing influencer marketing to be an effective form of marketing.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What do you think of apparel retailers collaborating with social media stars to create brands aimed at Gen-Z? What will define success for Abercrombie’s Social Tourist brand?

Please practice The RetailWire Golden Rule when submitting your comments.
Braintrust
"Smart move. As e-commerce evolves into entertainment, online content is getting more social and shoppable."
"Off-putting. Self-absorbed. And it’ll probably work."
"TikTok as a form of marketing is brilliant if the audience to capture is Gen Z and the immediacy of the content is highly engaging."

Join the Discussion!

10 Comments on "Can TikTok stars build brands for digital natives?"


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Neil Saunders
BrainTrust

Abercrombie & Fitch, and in particular Hollister, have been adept at using social media for quite some time. However the launch of a whole new brand, Social Tourist, takes it to another level. I think the brand has a chance of success, but only if it is a well curated selection that is capable of standing on its own. The social media influencers will give the brand presence and amplify it. However long-term traction comes from making product people like and find value in, not just from the promotion by famous people.

Rick Watson
BrainTrust

I think it will work quite well. The presentation is engaging and interesting and seems relevant for the audience (who is not me!).

Basically this is “advertising as reality TV show” which seems to work a lot better and be more interesting to the generation spending almost all their time on their phones.

Lauren Goldberg
BrainTrust

I think this is really smart for Abercrombie. Social media influencers are to Gen Z what movie stars and boy bands were to earlier generations The success metrics for this campaign are just like any other campaign — increased awareness, increased customer engagement and, ultimately, sales.

Cathy Hotka
BrainTrust

Off-putting. Self-absorbed. And it’ll probably work.

Rick Watson
BrainTrust

Always love your commentary Cathy. 😉

Lisa Goller
BrainTrust

Smart move. As e-commerce evolves into entertainment, online content is getting more social and shoppable. More retailers will collaborate with powerful influencers to compete for young consumers’ attention and sales.

Forget nagging parents for sugary cereal; now Gen Zs pine for “merch” from influencers like MrBeast and MoreJStu. Today’s social media stars know how to attract, engage and sell to massive online communities.

Success for Social Tourist will include the D’Amelio sisters reflecting emerging online trends to constantly grow their audience and keep the brand top-of-mind, popular and lucrative.

Gene Detroyer
BrainTrust

What happens when Charli and Dixie become adults?

Shelley E. Kohan
BrainTrust

TikTok as a form of marketing is brilliant if the audience to capture is Gen Z, and the immediacy of the content is highly engaging. With that said, creating an apparel line specifically for this channel could pose some challenges in terms of distribution (850+ stores) and consistency of product authenticity. Having a product line just to satisfy a marketing plan may not have long-term staying power, but if the product assortment fills a need in an over-saturated market, it could be a big win for a troubled brand.

Patricia Vekich Waldron
Staff

If brands put the same level of forethought and investment into their products as they do influencers they will soar. Regardless of the influencers, consumers ultimately will buy and become loyal to good products.

Jeff Sward
BrainTrust

There was a time when Abercrombie targeted the “cool kids” as their primary customer. And that thinking was highly successful, until it went off the rails. These days the really cool kids have TikTok as a platform along with millions of followers. They may very well be today’s formula for building a business with this demographic. So when do we think TikTok becomes shoppable, or is it already and this boomer just doesn’t know it?

wpDiscuz
Braintrust
"Smart move. As e-commerce evolves into entertainment, online content is getting more social and shoppable."
"Off-putting. Self-absorbed. And it’ll probably work."
"TikTok as a form of marketing is brilliant if the audience to capture is Gen Z and the immediacy of the content is highly engaging."

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