Wet Seal Lets Teen Borrow Its Social Channel for Weekend

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How could a multimillion-dollar fashion brand hand the reigns of its social media channel to a 16-year-old girl? Because it knew she would have a better shot at speaking the site language.

Meghan Hughes, aka MissMeghanMakeup, probably did a little more than you and I this past holiday. She baked cookies, played with her pup, went to a light show and, oh, communicated with several thousand people who followed her every movement. Through short-lived pictures and quick notes to followers, Meghan represented the Wet Seal brand in outfits the brand hoped her audience would covet.

Wet Seal’s marketing higher-ups sanctioned this attempt to attract fresh crowds to the brand’s new Snapchat account, likely holding their breath the entire time. Fortunate for them, any negative posts would forever disappear about 24 hours after posting.

Go All the Way
Despite its brave tactic, Wet Seal toe-dipped with this effort. The brand could have taken a more aggressive stance with the content and even created environments and activities for Meghan that were a bit more enviable than baking dessert and petting Fido. Send Meghan on a date. Wait until her birthday party to hand her the camera. Put her in charge of a Wet Seal fashion show.

So how can the adults who oversee marketing departments of today continue to take advantage of emerging social channels? Be authentic. Wet Seal’s best move was to create dialogue between the same demographic — Meghan and her thousands-deep peer group. If monitored, this tactic of employing individual youth bloggers or teen panels can prove successful, particularly in emerging social spaces where authenticity is valued higher than flawless execution.

Reference
Delo, C. (2014, January 16). How to build a brand on Snapchat: Hire a 16-year-old. Retrieved from http://adage.com/article/digital/build-a-brand-snapchat-hire-a-16-year/291124/

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3 Responses to Wet Seal Lets Teen Borrow Its Social Channel for Weekend

  1. Amy Bozic says:

    Misty,
    This is a fascinating approach on the part of Wet Seal. Your observation that they just dipped their toe in the water is interesting. Wouldn’t it have been easy for them to do as you suggest, and invest a little more creativity into the process. As you point out, Wet Seal made a smart move; their key demographic is represented, but also the social media they employed is utilized heavily by this demographic.

    One note; it never occurred to me that Snap Chat could be used as a marketing tool. I would have thought it would be ineffective in light of its short life. However, given the popularity of the app, I think it was brilliant.

    Amy

  2. Ashley says:

    Hey Misty,
    Interesting notes and I particularly like your extensions to the idea. I love the idea of granting the opportunity to an individual in the demographic to speak out and sell the brand. It reminds of the value of the conversation in marketing and makes teens feel like they too can be a brand ambassador for Wet Seal. I notice A&F does this with their chance for teens to send in their “most A&F style” pics that will be reposted by the official A&F.
    And Amy, as I’ve learned, the marketing possibilities are endless! Here’s a link expanding the idea (flash coupons, product previews, promo codes, etc.)
    http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/snapchat-for-business/

  3. Sandra Colton says:

    Misty,

    I loved your post about handing over the reigns without really doing any kind of pre-production to the whole bit. The Wet Seal attempt was unlike the guy in the latest Bud Light Super Bowl ad, you know Ian Rappaport, the guy who’s every move was pre-planned down to the minute… Pre-planned moments of brilliance via commercials and editing vs. unplanned wishful thinking on SnapChat…hmmm. I like how you thought of ways that the company could’ve dressed the idea up a bit. I do think that a company like Abercrombie could use the SnapChat idea to their benefit by utilizing their sexy model hunk employees in their mall doorways to pose for pics with salivating teen shoppers. Great ideas to integrate and speak to a younger audience via Wet Seal, I haven’t shopped there in years, but it definitely brought me back.
    -Sandra