For years, a major shift has been underway for teen women.
As female empowerment movements like #MeToo were dominating the cultural conversation, many brands, including direct competitors, were anchoring their positions on encouraging concepts like strength, confidence and bravery.
Gilly Hicks needed to carve out its own space in the conversation while still aligning with the positive, upbeat nature of its sister brand, Hollister.
Archrival kicked off an extensive custom research project that included 2000 quantitative responses, 250 digital qualitative responses and dozens of deep dive interviews to better understand how female-identifying teens were interpreting the media’s messages of empowerment. Our goal was to uncover what these teens were feeling in relation to the category that no one else was saying.
Gen Z females have felt just as much pressure to be strong, confident and intelligent as they have to meet a standard of physical beauty. At their core, they feel frustrated by a lack of freedom to just be — whatever that means to them.
The results surprised us. The most universal theme that emerged from the data was around pressure as you might expect. Except, teens were expressing they felt just as much pressure from messages telling them to be strong, confident and successful, as they were from messages considered more traditional for the category around being beautiful or thin.
To them it seemed it was all the same — society was telling them who and how to be.
This massive insight became the cornerstone of Gilly Hick’s new brand position. All creative was crafted in a way that allowed its audience the space to think, feel and identify for themselves. All imagery and messaging would steer clear of using any pressure or labels to ensure a feeling of safety and inclusivity.
In the end,
Archrival and Hollister rallied around a new brand strategy of “Wildly Undefined” that gives space for teens to interpret, own and express what it means to be themselves.