Ardene puts its positive ‘Energy’ into the world

The youth-focused fashion retailer aims to celebrate its success and the importance of friendship coming out of the pandemic.

The COVID-19 pandemic was a challenge for all retailers, but fashion retailer Ardene is celebrating both an important milestone it reached amid the crisis and the unique “energy” that surrounds its business coming out of it.

In a campaign called “That Ardene Energy,” the Canadian retailer is looking to tout the spirit of friendship, inclusivity and self-expression that encompasses its brand, according to Kelly Solti, Ardene’s head of marketing. “After the pandemic, people need positivity in their lives,” she explains. “Especially our young customers.”

To deliver on that promise, Ardene recruited a group of real-life friends from Montreal “who hang out together and want to create that positive, fun feeling,” Solti told strategy. “We figured that out and worked it into a campaign that would resonate with our customers, after everything that everyone has gone through over the past few years.”

Positivity comes easy for Ardene, which has enjoyed a strong few years in spite of the forces that have challenged so many retailers. The company has expanded its brick-and-mortar footprint during the pandemic, increasing store square footage by 25%, and has grown its social media audiences to more than two million people. On TikTok specifically, it has increased its followers by 55% in 2022 by capturing the eyes of its core, 14 to 24 demographic. “The customer is on those social channels – TikTok and Instagram – and we realized quite quickly that those were areas we needed to focus on,” says Solti.

These efforts have been paired with increased omnichannel investments in the brand’s e-commerce platform, its app, and its customer rewards program, which is on the verge of a refresh.

“Our brand has evolved with the customer,” Solti explains, adding that some customers have taken to calling Ardene’s expansion and omnichannel approach a “glow-up.”

The campaign primarily lives on social. On Instagram, the company is introducing a “What’s Your Energy” filter it has tied to a contest. The contest launched today and invites followers to post a video showcasing their own “Ardene energy,” using the filter and #ThatArdeneEnergy, for a chance to win a $1,000 shopping spree. However, it will be supported both with in-store and e-commerce display. The primary message will be live for two weeks, but the campaign will run for a month.

“That Ardene Energy” was developed primarily internally, with some creative support on the initial idea generation and photo shoot from Montreal brand and design agency Wedge. Bloom handled digital media and Milo handled the PR.