Hollister looks to game Generation Z
Retail company Hollister has announced that it has appointed 18-year-old professional esports champion Kyle ‘Bugha’ Giersdorf as their first ever Chief Gaming Scout.
Hollister is hoping the insane popularity of Kyle Giersdorf – who has over 4.8 million Twitch followers – will catapult the brand in front of younger consumer groups, particular Gen Z and Millennial consumers.
The popular clothing brand is going all in on gaming culture, one of the only industries that sustained itself and even saw growth during the pandemic period. It is an avenue into a feed of teenagers – a group of consumers that Hollister has so far not focused on.
Introducing the ‘Chief Gaming Scout’
Giersdorf, the World Cup Champion of Fortnite, will be in charge of selecting esports talent for the brand’s new gamer training program as well as heading up a new collection of gamer inspired clothes.
Giersdorf said: “I’m pumped to act as Hollister’s Chief Gaming Scout and for the release of our gaming apparel collection. Working with the team to design custom apparel that I’m truly excited to wear, and that I know other gamers will love, has been a really cool experience. I can’t wait for everyone to see what else we have in store with this partnership!”
The clothing line created has been manufactured with gamers in mind. Items are emblazoned with Giersdorf’s internet-famous pug, Zoey, in a bid to appeal to his hard-core fans.
According to a study from Piper Sandler, clothing has overtaken food as the most important priority for teenagers. In fact, clothing makes up 22% of a teen’s wallet share in average. Hollister cannot ignore this fact and have to take advantage of a generation that values aesthetics and apparel above all.
Team Hollister eSports team
As mentioned, Bugha will also be forming an esports team. The uber talented gamers will be playing for Team Hollister and stream exclusively on Twitch starting in November. Giersdorf will award aach participant with a $10,000 sponsorship, as well as consistent mentorship.
This is one of the most important moves by Hollister who want to integrate themselves into the mind of the next generation. It is so much easier for Hollister to enlist the help of streamers with these communities already fully formed, than begin again from the ground up.
Hollister’s plan to attract Gen Z
In 2001, Abercombie & Fitch were in the top 3 brands for teens. Over the last few years, the company and its subsidiaries have been dropping down the pecking order. This is due to Gen Z and their rapidly changing trends and opinions. This is a brand-new generation with new cultural and social values. For fashion brands to survive, they need to adapt to the times.
Kristin Scott, Global Brand President of Hollister’s parent company Abercombie & Fitch, said: “We’re always focused on meeting our Gen Z customers where they are, and gaming continues to be a rising area of interest for global teens.”
Video games and streaming personalities are extremely popular amongst Gen Z. Gen Z would much rather watch a Twitch livestream from their favourite stars than a classic piece of entertainment. Brands like Hollister are clueing into this and find it is more efficient to target them through streaming than traditional advertising.
By placing Giersdorf as their Chief Gaming Scout, Hollister is telling their younger consumers that they have a long-term interest in this demographic. Furthermore, it allows Hollister to instantly tap into a massive pool of young followers. Remember, Giersdorf already has a massive loyal following of more than 4 million.
Hollister’s overall marketing push
Hollister’s parent company, Abercombie & Fitch, also appointed a Chief Digital and Technology Officer. They want to claw back the younger demographic and have been doing many things to address this. For example, they have started a social media series for Instagram focused on LGBTQ mental health, and even trailed an influencer-focused line of apparel in Hollister stores.
Hollister has already experienced success with new Gen Z attractions – they ran a highly successful Fortnite tournament earlier this year – but by joining forces with a Fornite World Champion and rockstar, Hollister is investing in the long-term. The goal is to form a team of content creators that can launch apparel ranges aimed at Gen Z gamers and keep them loyal to the brand for the foreseeable collaboration.