Claire's gets back to cool with YouTube campaign

Claire's may cater to teens with its selection of fashion accessories, but has been slow to adapt the technology of its target generation. Now the retailer is turning to YouTube stars for a back-to-school campaign.

Claire's has tapped YouTube sensations Alli Simpson and Teala Dunn in order to reach their 2.5 million combined followers to promote the stores and products for fall, according to the Chicago Tribune. The partnership with AwesomenessTV (helmed by former Claire's CEO James Fielding) is an early foray into social media marketing.

The brand's customer base is young—under 12 years old in many cases—but Claire's former management eschewed digital marketing early on, holding to the theory that the demographic was too young to shop online.

It was a strategic error that new management is trying to rectify.

"We were failing to reinvent ourselves for the 21st century, failing to change with the times, and quite frankly got left behind by the customer," CEO Beatrice Lafon told the Chicago Tribune.

Lafon joined the company in April 2014 and has been working to consolidate the three business units—Claire's North America, Claire's Europe and Icing—and build a digital presence. Claire's operates close to 3,000 stores globally and has plans to open 450 branded stores-within-stores this year, largely in Toys R Us locations.

Lafon has been refreshing product assortments and cleaning up stores. The back-to-school promotion is part of her strategy to reconnect with the core shopper. Retailers such as Macy's have used social media to connect with younger shoppers with a YouTube-based reality show. And fast casual chains such as Domino's are finding ways to let shoppers use SMS to make ordering easier. Claire's may be late to the strategy but it will be in good company as the back-to-school shopping season gets going.

For more:
-See this Chicago Tribune story

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