How apparel brand Champion is taking its creator efforts global to resonate with Gen Z

Athletic apparel brand Champion wants to distinguish itself from its competitors by working with content creators globally rather than locally to better resonate with the Gen Z audience, which is reportedly more racially and ethnically diverse than previous generations.

By centering its influencer marketing efforts around relatability and authenticity with global creators focused on various hobbies, Champion aims to better connect with the Gen Z demographic. In the past, Champion strategically engaged with high-profile influencers like Kylie Jenner, Kendrick Lamar, and Teyana Taylor to effectively showcase its products via meticulously crafted social media campaigns.

The previous strategy had a notable lack of clarity regarding the essence of Champion, according to Vanessa LeFebvre, Champion’s global activewear president.

“It speaks volumes that we could use our platform to showcase what their purpose is and make sure that people understand [that] is actually more important than being a champion,” she said. “We wanted to make sure that we’re thinking about athletes, musicians, and artists that have a purpose greater than just the activity.”

The Champion brand has strategically featured a diverse array of creators across the world in its latest advertising effort. Its first six creators are from the United States (sneaker influencer Joshua Marin), United Kingdom (musician SignKid), Mexico (Las Diablillas, a formidable women’s softball team), Japan (painter and skateboarder Ryota Daimon), China (Cantonese rapper Soulhan) and Australia (activist and street artist Aretha Brown). The financial agreement between the parties was not disclosed.

Champion worked with influencer agency Flare Marketplace to identify creators who “authentically” embody Champion’s purpose-driven content, according to LeFebvre.

Aside from the global and passion focus of the influencers selected, the brand is inaugurating the “Champion Creators Program,” to honor creators from diverse backgrounds who exemplify the values of empowerment, artistic expression, and purpose. Through this program, eligible creators will receive product blanks and potentially secure funding of up to $50,000.

“It’s important that we believe that the message has its own power and that people are going to want to participate in it, because it’s not about us. It’s really about community inspiration,” LeFebvre said. “By creating an authentic conversation, we hope to create more future dialogues, to inspire people to share what [they] champion and for them to join our creator program.”

It is unclear how much of Champion’s advertising budget is allocated to this effort as LeFebvre declined to share budget specifics. Champion spent a little over $147,000 on advertising so far this year, down from $9 million in 2022, according to Vivvix, including paid social data from Pathmatics.

Champion’s move is an example of brands’ push to have meaningful partnerships with creators. Brands that take an authentic and transparent approach to mental health, often resonate more with younger consumers, according to CEO and founder of the creative agency Supreme, Nicholas Weatherhead.

“The biggest hurdles and concerns facing the industry right now is one that this campaign addresses perfectly: How do we tap into global markets through a singular campaign in a way that resonates with [everyone]?” posed Weatherhead.

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