Uniqlo’s annual release of its graphic t-shirts or “UT” collection serves as a platform to engage consumers through art, culture and self-expression as the brand partners with different licensees and designers on the shirt designs. For the release of the collection this year, Uniqlo created block party-style activations near its stores in major markets, including New York City, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Boston, that offered shoppers photo ops, activities, giveaways and, of course, incentives to drive traffic into the retail stores.
“In the past, we’d typically do a single-store event around one particular piece of graphic tees content. This year, we wanted to scale that activation and not rely just on people knowing us coming to our store, but by going out into the streets in close proximity to a store, to capture people and drive more awareness,” says Marisol Tamaro, head of U.S. marketing at Uniqlo.
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The campaign began with street teams that were deployed to each market. They distributed promotional clothespins and scratch-off cards in order to develop the brand’s presence in each city. The teams distributed promotional materials spreading the word about the #WearYourWorld “block parties.”
For the activation, the brand took inspiration from old New York and the urban clothes lines that hung, connecting buildings. That motif anchored the events, hanging above and displaying this year’s collection of graphic tees, allowing consumers to see first-hand the collection and collaborators on the collection, which range from Marvel to Disney to Japanese heritage imagery and more.
Activities on-site included corn hole and life-size action figure boxes that consumers could pose inside of for an immersive photo op. A portrait artist painted consumers’ images in the style of Andy Warhol, and there was a sweepstakes consumers could enter to win a free trip to Japan. Meanwhile, an Instagram influencer and dj spun tunes.
Tamaro says at the heart of the activation strategy was creating “easy entry points to the brand.” “A lot of people have come to know Uniqlo through our UT collection, so for us, we wanted to continue to bring more people into our brand and use the events as a great way to expose them to the many products of Uniqlo,” she said. Agency: Factory 360, New York City.