Upscale fashion brand Splendid, a division of VF Contemporary, on May 17 launched a campaign in New York City to raise awareness of its soft t-shirts and other apparel while spreading a little kindness, too. Called Spread Softness, the effort seeks to create an emotional connection with consumers via guerrilla marketing tactics that encourage people to be kind to one another. The campaign will run through the end of the year and includes in-store events and social media amplification on its website, Instagram and YouTube.
“So many people say things like, ‘Oh, my gosh, this is the first shirt I wore on my honeymoon,’ and talk about things they were doing in our clothes. I just kept thinking, this is more than just clothing, it’s about these emotions, these moments and these memories they are creating in them,” says Jenna Habayeb, vp-marketing at Splendid. “There was something really raw there, and we wanted to dig a little bit deeper.”
The result is “Spread Softness,” the first major marketing effort on behalf of the 10-year-old brand. The campaign launched with a stunt in lower Manhattan in which people wrote messages of kindness to their friends on large t-shirt graphics displayed on the wall outside of 168 Bowery Street. Those who took a photo and tagged a friend on Instagram using hashtag #spreadsoftness received a free ice cream cone from a nearby Mister Softee truck. Later that evening attendees at a launch party held inside that space filled gift bags with a free t-shirt and other items, such as a pass for a free barre class at Bar Method and a mini roll-on perfume and body wash from By Rosie Jane. They then “spread the softness” by sending those same items to a friend. Guests also received complimentary hair braids from PRIV, the on-demand beauty service app, and posed for photos in front of a large format soft installation, along with three adorable puppies and, like those earlier in the day, received free Mister Softee ice creams for writing on the t-shirts outside.
In a social media extension, consumers are encouraged to “spread the softness” by tagging @SplendidLA with #spreadsoftness on Instagram with images of special moments with friends and family, how they’ve brightened someone’s day, soft things in their lives and quotes that inspire kindness. Each week the brand will select a “Softie of the Week” who will receive a pack of Splendid t-shirts. A video series featuring real people touting the idea of softness continues the theme on YouTube. Social media influencers will also amplify the campaign.
“This is about getting to the core of who we are, and making sure that consumers understand what we are about. People can relate to the idea that maybe they just want to throw on a soft t-shirt and leggings and snuggle up with their kids, and that can be an amazing moment that is more worthwhile than staying an extra hour at work,” Habayeb says. “We wanted to tap into this emotional component, this idea that the world could get a little bit better and a little bit softer.” Agency: In-house.