September 2017 saw Superdry appoint Social Chain as their global social media marketing agency. Our first aim? To take as many risks as possible to make the label social-first among millennials and Gen Z. In the weeks following this announcement we launched a groundbreaking campaign that raised intrigue – and revenue – by breaking rules with the kind of fear-inducing content that scares most CMOs.
The premise of This Is The Jacket was to dash Superdry’s safe image by taking the brand’s strategy to a whole new level. “Superdry doesn’t strike me as a brand that does whatever the f**k it wants,” was one response to our pre-campaign survey, which is not what you’d expect from a brand that has always done whatever the f**k it wants. We knew we had to change this by altering opinions on social, so we did.
Perception is everything on social media…
But individuals define reputations, not brands, so we tasked six rule-breaking creators with igniting Superdry’s presence. Enter free-runner Katie McDonnell; freestyle world football champion Andrew Henderson; pro BMX rider Ryan Taylor; up and coming grime MC Paigey Cakey; and free climbers HD.XR and Nightscape.
Our bold approach to influencer marketing involved tapping into subcultures that resonated with the label’s underground roots. It was irreverent, purposeful and genuine. But it was the use of high-production, social-first content, created in-house, that helped redefine Superdry on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
A month into the campaign, we received a ban from the Advertising Standards Agency for trespassing. The content in question was a video of Instagram-famous daredevil Nightscape, who climbed to the edge of a London skyscraper in “the jacket that gets you high”. Nonetheless, the controversy and 23.8k likes on Nightscape’s Instagram only added to the campaign’s fearless notoriety.
More examples of helping Superdry do whatever the f**k it wanted included sending BMX rider Ryan Taylor to ride around Superdry’s London flagship store in “the jacket runs riot” for a stunt that brought Oxford Circus to a standstill. Check out the video below to see how the action unfolded for yourself.
Collectively, these activations generated 6,736,360 impressions, 3,044,162 video views and 2,904,367 engagements across all platforms. But influencers aside, it was our boundary-pushing work with Facebook LIVE that rewrote Superdry’s narrative.
Taking LIVE to a new level to transform Superdry
Social Chain’s creative director, Jase Bloor, had the idea to blow up a branded car ahead of Bonfire Night. “It was the perfect brief, Superdry simply asked us to produce something that would make a bang on bonfire night – the execution was therefore instinctual,” he said. After weeks of planning, the stage was set.
We chose an abandoned warehouse in Bolton for Superdry’s most ambitious live stream. More than 282,000 viewers tuned in, all of whom played their part in blowing up the firework-rigged Beetle by commenting “FIRE” to trigger the action.
An hour of waiting gave way to several minutes of bright sparks, rainbow coloured clouds and ear-splitting screeches. As the flames settled, it became apparent that we had created Superdry’s most emotive piece of content ever. ‘FIREstream’ claimed 287,466 engagements, including 7308 likes and 2090 ‘love’ reactions, despite noticeable declines in organic reach across Facebook.
Results and analysis: the impact and aftermath
The reason for This Is The Jacket’s success stems from today’s digital natives and their obsession with values. Never before has a generation felt more defined by the brands they interact with on social. This, in turn, has elevated the role of branded content that stirs emotion to resonate, as was the case here.
In our pre-campaign research, Superdry was accused of playing it safe, in spite of its striking high street presence. This Is The Jacket altered that perception with content that challenged the status quo; the result was a significant lift in postive sentiment, particularly among the 16-24 demographic.
This Is The Jacket also proved what a brand with a large offline presence – in Superdry’s case, more than 500 branded locations across 46 countries – can achieve with an innovative approach to social commerce. But above all, it was the strength of the creative and its transformative impact that made Superdry truly social-first.
Looking for more case studies? Find out how we helped boohoo cheat with Instagram LIVE by creating the platform’s first dynamic stream. Want to learn the secrets to engaging millennials and Gen Z? Subscribe to our newsletter or get in contact to reinvent your brand on social media through campaigns that spark conversation to create action.