Preppy streetwear brand Rowing Blazers wanted to do something splashy for their Fall/Winter 2021 collection: their first celebrity campaign.
But “we didn’t want to feel like we were pulling teeth” for celebrity endorsements, art director Georgia Gray said. They wanted someone who already wore Rowing Blazers.
One name they couldn’t ignore: Saturday Night Live star and honorary Kardashian Pete Davidson.
Davidson’s agent responded enthusiastically to their outreach. The campaign, co-starring Ziwe Fumudoh of Ziwe, was a go.
It kept going. In 2022, the brand is still running ads featuring Davidson.
Here’s a few factors that made it a win for Rowing Blazers, Gray said.
Organic Instagram lift
Before the collection went live, Rowing Blazers previewed it in an Instagram post featuring Pete Davidson smoking a cigarette in the brand’s “Five of Clubs Playing Card.”
The sweater sold out in every size.
The post also generated some organic social media buzz. It got over 9K likes and 743 comments.
That’s nearly 10X Rowing Blazers’ average engagement: 1K likes and nine comments
Vaguely illegal UGC
People started stealing posters featuring Davidson off the street and posting about it on TikTok.
Rowing Blazers even shared poster “harvesting” UGC.
“It is just absolutely insane,” Gray said.
The social media buzz has influenced Rowing Blazers’ out-of-home investment.
“We were planning on running [the poster campaign] for two or three months, but we’ve continued to keep them up,” Gray said. “The buzz around them has not gone down at all.”
New traction with Gen Z
Rowing Blazers’ usual audience is “a little more on the Millennial side versus Gen Z,” Gray said.
That’s why they originally reached out to Davidson: SNL’s audience skews Millennial, too.
But the timing of Davidson’s highly-publicized relationship with Kim Kardashian means he now has broader generational appeal than, say, SNL’s Colin Jost.
This campaign has mostly resonated with a younger audience, people in the 20-23 age range, Gray said.
Collaborating with a relevant celebrity — who genuinely likes your brand! — can extend both a campaign’s lifespan and target audience.