Case Study

How we reinvented a fashion brand's marketing playbook
by producing the world's first social media reality show.

Prior to its recent bankruptcy filing, Forever 21 was the world’s foremost fast fashion brand, with almost 500 stores and $4 Billion in revenues.

The Challenge

Maximize the impact of a new store launch

Forever21 was launching their largest ever US store in Times Square, but the brand wanted to generate excitement beyond the NY fashion and media scene. They wanted consumers across the country to pay attention and feel involved in the new store launch.

The Strategy

A journey consumers aspired to

The launch was an opportunity to reposition Forever21 from a discount retailer into a genuine lifestyle brand. But for a company that sold t-shirts for $3 a pop, elevating the customer experience beyond a transactional relationship would require something aspirational. We decided to build our campaign around a theme most tweens and teens aspired to: the pursuit of stardom.

The Results

Exponential growth that set a new foundation

Through our launch campaign, we created a new template by which Forever21 would treat new store launches and frankly all marketing in the future, refocusing the brand from product messaging and discounting to storytelling and aspirational content that genuinely affected consumers.

$ 1
million earned media
new Facebook fans
media stories
million impressions


Most Forever21 customers were tween and teen girls who had never been to New York City, so it didn’t make sense to follow the brand’s playbook of launching its new flagship store through a star-studded fashion show that customers could never attend and would never even hear about.

What the average Forever21 consumer wanted was their own 5 minutes of online fame.

This was the cultural insight we tapped into, which led to the world’s first-ever social media reality show – aired exclusively through Forever21’s Facebook page – with the winner becoming the star of The Times Square launch campaign.

For three full months, consumers would tune into the Forever21 Facebook page and watch as six Forever21 consumers competed to become the face of the Forever21 launch campaign. Day by day, consumers would live vicariously through these six regular girls as they received mentorship from A-listers from across the fashion and entertainment industries, perfecting their craft on their respective journeys to stardom.

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And after a 3-month journey, one Forever21 consumer became the face of the Times Square launch campaign, and the featured model at the exclusive fashion show event.

To Be A Star was the first of its kind, and most importantly it showed Forever21 that social media could be more than just a place to promote clothing or provide discounts – it could be a destination for content that sparked consumers’ imagination and pulled them closer than ever before to the brand. The campaign was a massive success, with ripple effects for years to come.

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