Case Study: How American Apparel adapted their brand to Tumblr to boost referrals

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American Apparel needed to engage young metropolitan adults aged 20-32 without restraining the brand’s unique fashion aesthetic or diluting its brand equity. This case study looks at how the clothing brand used popular blog network Tumblr, via owned content and sponsored ads, to get hundreds of thousands of referrals to their online store.

Challenge: Engage young metropolitan adults aged 20-32 without restraining the brand’s unique fashion aesthetic or diluting its brand equity.

Approach: American Apparel designed a custom theme in the same style as their corporate site. To maintain engagement, they post a frequent stream of provocative content, including photos of products, models, advertisements, and inspiration. During heavy-up advertising campaigns for product launches and major announcements, American Apparel also runs Sponsored Posts on Radar, web, and mobile.

Results: American Apparel’s Sponsored Posts average 5x more earned impressions than non-sponsored content. They also account for half of new followers, and a quarter of all Notes. All of which translates to hundreds of thousands of referrals to their online store.

“There is no other platform like Tumblr where the users are as receptive and responsive to well designed imagery and photography—even if it’s brands who are producing it. It’s almost like a glossy fashion magazine, where the readers are looking for things they like, period. If the page is beautiful and creative, whether an editor or an advertiser produced it is irrelevant. That’s a high standard to live up to and we’re doing our best. It’s certainly more inspiring and fun than trying to post messages about a sale or a discount.” -Ryan Holiday, Director of Marketing American Apparel

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