Cannes Lions

Avatar Maisie

H&M, Stockholm / H&M / 2022

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Overview

Background

Situation: The fashion brand is 100% committed to leading the change towards a more sustainable fashion industry. Listed by UN Global Compact as one of 40 global LEAD companies across the world, working continuously for a more sustainable future. In 2020, the fashion brand launched the world’s first in-store recycling system - Looop.

Brief: The fashion brand’s annual story for 2021 was about sustainability: circularity and innovation, however studies showed that our current messaging around recycling and sustainable materials was perceived boring and did not apply to the young audience. The young customer believed that sustainability is something you do, not something you buy or say. So how could we engage our young audience around sustainable fashion on their terms and make them want to take action with us?

Objectives: Make our young target group (females 16-21) care about our sustainability mission and engage with us in garment recycling.

Idea

To connect with the younger audience and entertain them on their terms, the global fashion brand turned their new sustainability ambassador Maisie Williams (Arya Stark from GOT) into an avatar to engage around their sustainability brand message in the world of gaming. By launching a sustainable island "Looop Island" in the most popular video game among the target group, Animal Crossing New Horizon - the fashion brand entered the gaming world for the first time.

Hosting a one week live event on Looop Island, inviting the global gaming community to explore and hang out with the fashion brand and Avatar Maisie, turning their old gaming outfits into new ones in a virtual version of the fashion brand's latest recycling innovation - Looop. The same act was mirrored IRL in stores all over the world for consumers to recycle old garments and get the fashion brands’ latest recycled drop.

Strategy

To win the attention of an audience that really just wants to be entertained, we had to rethink our media strategy and overturn how we usually connect with consumers. While the world quickly turned more digital during the pandemic, new statistics showed that Gen Z feels most at home in the creative and social world of video games, 45% of all gamers are females and they use virtual platforms to raise their voice on opinions that matter to them IRL, i.e. the BLM demonstrations in Sims and Animal Crossing.

With gaming becoming the new playground for fashion and brands dropping new collections in games, we decided to take a different approach. To make the brand and our sustainable messaging relevant for females 16-21, we created a long term platform in the popular video game Animal Crossing. And engaged our audience with entertaining activities within circularity and innovation.

Execution

Implementation: Together with Animal Crossing gamers, we built the entire island organically from scratch making sure that we created something that the community would love.

Timeline: Hosting a one week live event for 400 influencers, journalists and gaming fans to meet with the brand's Global Sustainability Ambassador (yes we turned him into an avatar too) and Avatar Maisie on Looop Island to recycle their old gaming outfits in the virtual Looop machine and leave their thoughts on a more sustainable fashion future.

Placement: Teaming up with our audience's biggest gaming idol, sustainability activist Maisie Williams and created her digital Twin “Avatar Maisie” to build excitement and buzz, presenting the story in a film, paid social, talent social and PR directing to the activation.

Scale: The launch was livestreamed on Twitch by world's largest gaming platform IGN reaching beyond Animal Crossing players. Looop Island is still open for anyone to visit.

Outcome

Reach:

590 million only via earned press and influencers. And +50 countries activated owned media, with a total of 677 million global impressions.

Engagement:

During launch week, 400 (maximum amount of island spots filled) high profiled gamers, influencers and journalists visited Looop Island with their avatars. Word was spread throughout the global community and visitors even created their own island tours, Twitch/Youtube streams, twinning and social content to share organically with peers.

Achievement:

The gaming content resonated with our younger audience. Driving a strong overall lift of ad-recall and message association (sustainability). Snapchat performed beyond expectations with a 19% ad-recall lift and a 6% message association lift on Snapchat. Along with a 6% brand favorability uplift and 11% uplift in action intent.

Looop Island is still active and used by the fashion brand globally for sustainable drops and connecting with the gaming community on an ongoing basis.

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