Ardene appeals to Gen Z with a more inclusive message

The retailer's new campaign includes a more diverse cast of women to match the sensibilities of its young customers.

Canadian fast fashion retailer Ardene is striving for a more inclusive message in its latest digital campaign, the first to have been created with an agency partner.

The retail brand has always aimed to deliver a message of inclusivity, positivity and collaboration, says Élisabeth Couture, brand manager at Ardene. But this year’s “We Campaign” reflects the particular sensibilities of Gen Z consumers, who “expect more from a brand than simply a place from where to purchase products; they expect an experience that rings true with their lives beyond what they wear.”

A new digital spot, called “We Culture,” was led by Montreal agency ImageMotion – Ardene’s first external agency partner – which is also handling the roll out across digital platforms and in stores. In a press release, the agency said the campaign aims to champion the notion of the Ardene “babe,” which the retailer has typically been defined more narrowly and looked like a “typical model,” an image it is working to dispel in the new spot.

The fast-fashion retailer appeals to women aged 14 to 24 seeking trendy accessories and apparel at an accessible price point. That remains the same, the agency said, but the physical representation of the typical Ardene customer has been broadened.

That’s because, as Couture notes, Ardene’s Gen Z customers value authenticity, diversity and a sense of community. “She knows that by coming together, we can achieve collective change and that our differences are what make us unique.”

The media strategy for “We Culture” is primarily social and digital, including newsletters, blog content and large format LED screens throughout some stores in Canada and the U.S. Ardene is running channel-specific strategies on Instagram (including long-form content on IGTV), YouTube and Facebook, as well as a robust influencer play aimed at researching Gen Z customers.

Influencers are a particularly effective strategy, Couture says, because the target “looks to her peers on social media to help support her in finding her voice.” These customers can comfortably navigate between five channels at once, which is “two more than her millennial predecessor,” she says.

Finally, Ardene’s target demo tends to be hyper-visual in nature, which guided the company towards the use of bright colours in the creative that appeal to “her appetite for feed-worthy content.”