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New generation, new challenge

In 2016/17, ASOS had a turnover of over £1.8bn and double-digit growth. But, amongst the upcoming Gen Z audience, a new wave of brands with aggressive price points (Missguided, Boohoo, PLT) were nailing it.

The White Space: co-creating a fashion brand for the coming age

Gen Z is defined by their love of collaboration, authenticity and sustainability. Despite being commercially successful these competitive brands had none of these important
qualities. It was clear from the outset that if ASOS wanted to engage this group then they needed to get out of the way and let Gen Z build what they wanted themselves. So they
appointed a range of collaborators and asked them to advice on everything from design to marketing to media making sure that as a team, we understood what was being overlooked and could then do something about it. And their insight was always enlightening: ‘Black young men are never smiling’, ‘Asian men are either kinky or geeky’, ‘There are no people of different abilities in fashion ads’. It was evident that they
wanted to see themselves represented in the brand. They wanted to be seen and heard. We knew that a traditional advertising and media approach wouldn’t work. Instead we
chose to street-cast 100 people turning 18 (all ethnicities, abilities, full representation) at the critical point in their lives when they were coming of age. We gave them Collusion
garms to wear and documented their lives. Creating a body of work that was an authentic census of what it meant to be 18 in 2018. Casting for stories not surface.

As a new, experimental brand for ASOS, Collusion needed a highly targeted media strategy. Sally & Jen got to the heart of our customer behaviour brilliantly and wove a multichannel approach that really delivered, advising on activity that would need to be executed by 3 different agencies. Their confident and collaborative approach made them a dream to work with: agile, straightforward and experienced

Kate Malkin Head of Brand Collusion

Re-imagining the use of media for a fashion brand

Every element of the launch disrupted the manual for fashion advertising. Working as a collective of agencies: Craft, Uncommon, Byte & Starworks we ensured all rules were broken, but in synergy.   

Media was carefully structured to manage the release of messaging from pre-launch to launch. We ran a closed Instagram account to build a genuine community and document the work that was going on in preparation for launch with our collaborators. This was leaked to niche e-zines such as Gal Dem creating hype amongst our audience. When we  eventually set the Instagram profile to public, followers went from 106 to 6.5K within days (now at £54k highly engaged followers). Social was used as the main broadcast platform for launch whilst OOH was hyper-targeted, focusing the small budget on two of the
youngest cities in the UK, Manchester and Birmingham and hand-picking the sites along the bus routes that linked the areas where students live, studied and partied. We broke
the conventions for fashion PR, by focusing on authenticit
y not reach. We wanted people to hear first about Collusion through influencers and underground titles/zines, not
mainstream media. Launch comms used all of the content from the 100 campaign: 1,269 ads and 533 assets across 5 different platforms, reaching 81% of 16-24yr olds on
Facebook and Instagram alone.

It’s really hard to change the rules and get it right, but we did

ES called it a ‘fashion gamechanger’ Vogue commented “Unbelievable. Disrupting a trillion dollar industry”. The brand doubled its sales target on day one. During the
launch campaign, it was the third most searched for brand and fourth highest selling brand on the ASOS platform (vs enormous global brands like Nike). And unusually for ASOS, many items sold out. ASOS buying lines are so deep that this never happens. ROAS (Return on adspend) across paid social 
was £9.65 vs £3.50 benchmark. The cities which were up-weighted with hyper-targeted OOH showed a 13% increase in sales on the rest of the UK and to this day Collusion is consistently bringing in newer, younger customers to the ASOS platform.

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