Fashion Ad Campaigns Fighting for a Cause

An H&M billboard advertisement with a black and white photo of a man and a message stating "going green in black IS POSSIBLE".

Fashion is one of the largest and most profitable industries in our modern society. Some of the most recognized clothing companies in the world, such as H&M, provide fast fashion that is highly in demand due to their amazing marketing campaigns. Out-of-home (OOH) advertising such as truck ads, billboards, posters and more, are the perfect way to showcase the colorful, bright, fun, and bold looks that so many clothing brands portray. Visual is one of the most important components of advertising as people are drawn towards the appearances of new and emerging trends in the fashion world. Outdoor advertising is an excellent means to target a mass audience, build brand awareness, and demonstrate the overall style of the company. Not only do the visuals become extremely important when using OOH advertising in the fashion industry, but also the message that they send to consumers. This article will assess out-of-home (OOH) advertising campaigns from some of the largest fashion corporations fighting for a cause and demonstrate why they worked.

H&M Place of Possible Campaign

An H&M billboard advertisement with a black and white photo of a woman and a message "Five weeks vacation IS POSSIBLE".

H&M launched an ad campaign, not just for the purpose of promoting their brand worldwide, but also to demonstrate that they genuinely care about their employees and consumers. One of the biggest store openings H&M ever had took place in New York City, which the brand wanted to highlight with a massive OOH campaign. This store would become the biggest H&M in the world, leading to the creation of one of the most interesting and progressive ad campaigns created by a fashion brand. They didn’t just want to promote the store opening with images of their garments, they also wanted to connect with their consumers. “We are proud to launch the Place of Possible campaign because we believe the best investment we can make is in our employees,” stated Daniel Kulle, CEO of H&M. Therefore, this ad campaign had two goals, to increase brand awareness and send the message across that they were hiring for their biggest store opening yet.

Fashion has become more than just what you wear, it is also about how you perceive yourself and others around you. H&M wanted to make a clear statement with their huge billboard campaign by showcasing black and white photos of what their potential future employees would look like with bold and exciting messages such as, “Five Weeks Vacation is Possible”, to demonstrate the company’s integrity when it comes to fair hiring practices. The campaign featured fifty different employees telling their personal stories and how working at H&M helped them become successful due to the company’s progressive views. H&M has always been known for their diversity and inclusiveness when it comes to who they hire, who they showcase in their advertisements, and who their consumers are. A major reason why so many people buy from H&M is because of their ability to reach a wide target audience by showcasing their garments on people of all sizes, races, and cultures. The campaign featured both billboards and in-store displays which showed that OOH advertising was the best way to feature this campaign as it reached the widest target audience. The purpose of the campaign was to prove to millennials that the company truly cares about the well-being and success of their employees, and they were able to accomplish that through the messages created in their ad campaign.

Nike’s Better For It Campaign

A Nike billboard advertisement with the message "Your only competition is you. And also other people. Like her. #BetterForIt".

Nike launched an ad campaign to promote female empowerment and push women to achieve their personal best, whether that’s in their next marathon or in their overall fitness journey. The campaign featured both online advertisements such as a series of short films and a Tumblr blog, as well as OOH billboard ads that were placed to captivate their audience to push themselves further in sports and health. The campaign was specifically tailored to female athletes worldwide, which helped showcase Nike’s long running support for women in fitness as they create products for their specific wants and needs in the fitness community. After the campaign launched, the Nike women’s division had a 20% boost in brand awareness. This demonstrates that consumers want to be loyal to a brand not only for their products but also for the causes that they fight for and believe in together.

The OOH billboard ad campaign launched as part of this movement had fun, bright, and bold statements. For example, comments such as, “Your only competition is you. And other people. Like her.” were used on the billboards to showcase Nike’s message of female empowerment. Another really interesting and innovative billboard created as part of the campaign was displayed between 5:30 a.m. and 8:00 a.m. stating, “It’s never too early to start”. After 8:00 a.m., the billboard changed to say, “It’s never too late to start”, encouraging people on their early morning walk or run that no matter where you are in your fitness journey, you can always strive for more. This campaign not only promoted Nike’s cool fitness gear to women worldwide, but also demonstrated that you don’t always need to actually showcase the products to get a positive reaction from the audience. Sometimes, just fighting for a cause that consumers can relate to and having a strong message is already enough to captivate an audience worldwide.

TOMS One for One

A TOMS shoes 'One for One' ad campaign with a woman sitting on a car and the message "Buying a pair gives a pair".

TOMS is another brand known worldwide for their comfortable and affordable shoes. Their ad campaign, One for One, became the company’s main marketing strategy as they donated a pair of shoes to a child in need for every pair that they sold. This ad campaign has demonstrated, once again, that showcasing a product isn’t always the most effective method of advertising – the message that comes along with it can be just as important. As long as the company believes in the same cause as the consumer, it is much more likely to have increased sales and brand awareness by creating long term, loyal customers that will keep coming back for years to come.

The ad campaign included messages such as, “Buying a pair gives a pair”, which expressed the company’s goals of fighting for equality, improving health and safety, as well as providing basic necessities to those who need them most. A lack of shoes in many countries throughout the world is one of the major reasons for infections and diseases, and by providing a pair of shoes for every pair sold, TOMS was able to not only fight for a cause they believe in, but also to promote their brand. Once again the focus of the brand becomes not just showcasing the quality of the product, but sending a message to consumers worldwide. When people take notice that a company cares about more than just making a profit, they become loyal customers to the brand. The company then becomes more than just a brand, it becomes a worldwide movement that consumers can feel that they are a part of. Everyone wants to do their fair share when it comes to making the world a better place and TOMS was able to achieve that goal one pair of shoes at a time.

Final Words

It’s no surprise that major fashion brands use OOH advertising to market their garments and increase sales. The most important part of showcasing fashion is not only the imagery but the reasoning behind it. By creating visually appealing, bold, and colorful ad campaigns, major fashion brands find it worth the cost to advertise. Besides just the visual appeal, these brands also realize that the message they send across is just as important; no one wants to buy something just to make a rich corporation richer, they also want to know that they are supporting a company that cares about their consumers and the world around them. It’s no wonder that these fashion corporations are some of the richest in the world, as they utilize the most effective marketing strategies to showcase their products to consumers everywhere.

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