How Ellesse took to TikTok to grow brand beyond 90s nostalgists

MediaCom UK won the ’Best Retail, e-Commerce and Commercial Good Campaign’ at The Drum Awards for Digital Advertising for its work dragging Italian sports brand Ellesse out of the 90s. Here, we find out more about what went into this successful project.

The sports and fitness fashion market is a tricky one for brands looking to reinvent themselves. Ellesse was, by its own admission, catering to audiences with strong 90s nostalgia, but this meant it was missing the opportunities of engaging new audiences. Faced with a task of reinvention, MediaCom UK tried turning the commerce experience on its head.

The brief

Ellesse had 1% unprompted awareness among Generation Z prior to the campaign. That effectively meant that for vast swathes of the population, Ellesse was entering the race for consumer attention from a standing start. At the same time, there is widespread awareness that those consumers have very different expectations in terms of touchpoints than previous cohorts, and Ellesse wanted to use those new means of communication to outperform their rivals.

The idea

Having been engaged for the campaign, MediaCom set about appraising the online retail space to see where Ellesse could add value to the e-commerce experience. Research into both Generation Z and millennials demonstrated a disconnect between the time they spent online and the actual motivations they have for making a purchase: fully three-quarters of the target audience are more motivated by in-store experiences than the products themselves.

As a result, MediaCom attempted to put the experience back into shopping by launching a live shoppable TikTok concert featuring the musician Zara Larsson. The e-commerce functions of TikTok meant that while audiences were watching the concert, they could purchase any of the Ellesse looks being showcased by Larsson and her back-up dancers.

The concert was promoted in advance using the hashtag #BeBold, by which users could submit videos of themselves dancing for potential inclusion in the concert video. MediaCom also enlisted nine TikTok celebrities – all garbed in Ellesse clothing – to promote the live event.

The results

In the run-up to the gig the campaign received over 700,000 dance video submissions, while the actual live experience generated 4.2bn hashtag views and 92m engagements, which the team noted far exceeded all its success metrics.

The campaign was also a proof point for shoppable livestream concerts on shortform video platform, opening up new ways for users to interact with the Ellesse brand.

This project was a winner at The Drum Awards for Digital Advertising 2022. Click here to find out which of The Drum Awards are currently open for entry.