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  1. 1. IMC Plan with Sample CreativeExecutions and Recommendations for Evaluations American Apparel FSH 381-OL1 Genevieve Irby 1
  2. 2. Table of Contents• Executive Summary (2-3) • Proposed Really Big Idea• Client Background (4-5) (27-28)• Target Market Analysis and • Sample Creative Executions: Advertising (30-36) Targeting Strategy (6-12)   Public Relations and Special Events• Competitor Analysis and (37-41)  Interactive and Direct Marketing Positioning Strategy (11-22) (42-46)• Audit of Current IMC  Visual Merchandising and Experiential Marketing (47-49) Strategy and Execution  Sales Promotion and Personal Selling (23-24)  (50-53) Ethics and Cause Marketing (54-64)• Proposed IMC Strategy and • Evaluation and Objectives (25-26) Measurement of Success (65-66) • Conclusion (67-68) FSH 381-OL1 Genevieve Irby 2
  3. 3. Executive Summary FSH 381-OL1 Genevieve Irby 3
  4. 4. This Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) Plan was created to evaluate and improve the current strategy of American Apparel.This research shows that American Apparel’s ads target at a very specific group of market. The company also has a reputation of creating advertisements with too much sexual innuendos. American Apparel’s revolutionary statements and advertising have been its unique selling proposition. However, because the messages tend to be controversial, not all messages are accepted by society. There is also no coherence in American Apparel’s advertising– random advertisements have been generated here and there, and some ads have been seen as unprepared and too home-made.American Apparel has a huge online presence, which is highly beneficial to the company. The company has also been called synonymous to the Hipster Movement, its target market, and the seed of the halo effect for many fashion followers. Furthermore, American Apparel is a socially responsible company that supports ethical causes and practices it through its vertical integration.Therefore, it is recommended that:• American Apparel creates more coherence in its advertising and ads that touch a more varied and wider base of customers with a single ad, instead of creating different ads to appeal to different groups of people.• American Apparel finds another unique selling proposition by having a new style of advertisements with limited sexual innuendos and also collaborating with other local brands to emphasize its social responsibility in the fashion industry.• American Apparel consolidates all its online presence and make it available as a community on its website. FSH 381-OL1 Genevieve Irby 4
  5. 5. Client Background FSH 381-OL1 Genevieve Irby 5
  6. 6. American Apparel is a retail company that has produced all theiradvertising, from start to finish, in-house. American Apparel’s currentpromotional campaigns include Lip Gloss by American Apparel, Made in theUSA Shoes, The Long Wool Coat, Men’s Briefs, Men’s Basics, and Après Ski.According to American Apparel’s Advertising page, the company has littleregards for mainstream advertising trends. All the advertising of AmericanApparel is to give their target audience a look at the “creative processbehind American Apparel and the essence of its brand”. The currentcampaigns depict what American Apparel has been advertising for nearly adecade. American Apparel’s “authentic imagery” and “socially relevantmessaging” seek more than just to promote but to feature the ideals ofwhat the American Apparel community holds. FSH 381-OL1 Genevieve Irby 6
  7. 7. Target Market Analysis and Targeting Strategy FSH 381-OL1 Genevieve Irby 7
  8. 8. Basic Clothe LoversThis is a tertiary group of the targeted market by American Apparel. The consumers in this group are people who may or may not be aware of the causes of American Apparel, but like the plain, classic style of the brand. While this group of people are probably from cities as well, they may not be too obsessed over fashion like the two groups that will be discussed next. These people want simple and durable clothes to wear everyday; perhaps even one color a day for the same garment. They are also probably undergrad or grad students who may be too busy for fashion. FSH 381-OL1 Genevieve Irby 8
  9. 9. Fashion FollowersThis is a secondary target segment– followers of fashion trendsetters, namely the hipsters. These fashion followers are probably from bigger, fashion-forward cities. FSH 381-OL1 Genevieve Irby 9
  10. 10. HipstersThe Guardian describes American Apparel to be synonymous with the “Hipster Movement” in New York– “Hipsters are the latest development in youth culture. They are young, good-looking graduates who work in a non-specific creative field, and dedicate themselves to the business of being as directional and cutting edge as they can be. Their spiritual home is Williamsburg, a recently revived area of Brooklyn, rammed with organic coffee shops, tiny boutiques, galleries and independent bars. They dress exclusively in vintage, hats, designer one-offs produced by their hipster friends - and American Apparel. Theyre bloggers and clubbers and denizens of art parties, a kind of new-new bohemian.” The primary target market consists of people who seek equality in gender, homosexuality, ethnicity, etc. Because many of American Apparel’s products are labeled “unisex”, it attracts a more “flamboyant market”—i.e. members and supporters of the LGBT community. FSH 381-OL1 Genevieve Irby 10
  11. 11. Most Viable Market Segment• The most viable market segment for American Apparel is the group of hipsters to the point where The Guardian refers it to being synonymous with American Apparel. This group of people tends to be the ones to fully support the statements of American Apparel as well, because they apply to them.• According to the latest market trends in the fashion industry, there has been a widespread of debate on textiles from India lifting the ban on exportation of cotton (India Lifts Cotton Export Ban) and with a lot of other retail prices rising due to the inflation of textiles prices (Apparel Prices Caught in Complex Cycle), American Apparel may seem to have a lot to benefit from its fully vertical integrated system (Vertical Integration). However, the company is not doing too well financially and has been fluctuating within the stock market ( American Apparel Faces Crunch of Debt, Losses). Therefore, outside of the stock market, it is important to target a market segment that would remain loyal to the company, both in terms of the aesthetics of the clothes, and of the statements that the company put forth. FSH 381-OL1 Genevieve Irby 11
  12. 12. Consumer ProfileBlogger or Loobook.nu contributor Revolutionary Youths • e.g. The Chic Muse (a.k.a. • A lesbian supporting gay Denni) who is sponsored by rights American Apparel FSH 381-OL1 Genevieve Irby 12
  13. 13. Consumer Profile continuedVintage Lovers Habitants of Williamsburg• E.g. Rumi Neely, blogger for The Fashion Toast FSH 381-OL1 Genevieve Irby 13
  14. 14. Competitor Analysis and Positioning Strategy FSH 381-OL1 Genevieve Irby 14
  15. 15. H&M First opened in 1947 as a women’s store, H&M Hennes & Mauritz has expanded rapidly to thepoint where it operates about 2,470 stores in over 35 countries. The brand targets mainly men andwomen age 18 to 45, but it also offers children’s apparel. The brand is known for being “cheap andchic”. Germany is its number 1 market, which brings about 20% of its sales. The firm buys itsproducts from suppliers in Asia and Europe, while not owning any of its own factories. (H&M Hennes & Mauritz AB Company Profile) The company’s collections are created in Sweden andthe production is done by purchasing from around 750 suppliers—60% of them in Asia, and rest inEurope. (Case Study: Hennes & Mauritz) Stores are the main distribution channels for H&M eventhough it offers mail order and online channels. FSH 381-OL1 Genevieve Irby 15
  16. 16. • Example of an H&M advertising: FSH 381-OL1 Genevieve Irby 16
  17. 17. Forever 21 Founded in 1984, Forever 21 is a fast-growing retailer which operates more than 480 stores under the namesForever 21, XXI Forever, ForLove 21, and Heritage 1981 in many countries globally. It is a chain that offers “cheapand chic” apparel as well for women, men, teens, and children. Forever 21 carries footwear, lingerie, plus size, andcosmetics for women. Most of the clothes are private labels made in Southern California. Forever 21 offersdistribution in stores and online. (Forever 21, Inc.) Forever 21 has been defending itself for over 40 copyrightinfringement lawsuits. The brand has also been pushed to create a “Made in L.A.” factory to improve workingconditions. (The Gospel According to Forever 21) Forever 21 has blamed its suppliers, even the factory outside L.A.for supplying copied designs. (Forever 21’s Suppliers Are Also Being Sued for Copyright Infringement) Forever 21’skey to promotional strategy is “Always Changing”. (Cheap Chic) The main promotional strategy in Forever 21 is toprovide something new every week in stores. FSH 381-OL1 Genevieve Irby 17
  18. 18. • Example of a Forever 21 advertising: FSH 381-OL1 Genevieve Irby 18
  19. 19. The Gap This is a brand that could also be found everywhere, in many countries around the globe, and it has beenaround since 1969. It operates over 3,200 stores around the world and is known for its casual clothes for men,women, and children. It has expanded to own Banana Republic, Old Navy, Piperlime, and Athleta over the years.Other extensions of the brand include GapBody, GapKids, and babyGap. The brands are all private labels and madeexclusively for the Gap. Gap controls the trademark casual look. (The Gap, Inc. Company Profile) The Gap has 12distribution centers, 9 in the US, 1 in Canada, 1 in the United Kingdom, and 1 in Japan. It also has a sociallyresponsible supply chain whereby employees working at various points of the supply chain are treated with“fairness, dignity, and respect”—it partners with hundreds of owners of factories, NGOs, managers, and industryassociates around the world who are experts in social and environmental issues. (Gap Inc. Supply Chain) FSH 381-OL1 Genevieve Irby 19
  20. 20. • Example of a typical Gap advertising: FSH 381-OL1 Genevieve Irby 20
  21. 21. Perceptual Mapping Against Competitors FSH 381-OL1 Genevieve Irby 21
  22. 22. Competitive Advantages• American Apparel uses full vertical integration, which promotes independence in decision-making and control within the company. In the long run, it will prove to be more cost-effective as well.• The “Made in the USA” label holds a lot more significance now that people are more aware and educated about ethics.• Most of the clothes produced by American Apparel are basics, thus making them timeless, and more wearable for many occasions.• People buy American Apparel for the brand, not just for the style of the clothes—that proves the support for the company.• American Apparel stands out from its competitors in advertising because it creates eye-catching ads that have big ideas and similar aesthetics throughout its different campaigns, making them more memorable than the others. FSH 381-OL1 Genevieve Irby 22
  23. 23. The American Apparel brand has a very unique strategy in positioning itself against itscompetitors. First of all, it is fully vertically integrated and promotes a lot on social responsibilityand ethics. In this current economy where inflation is not unusual, even in apparel, it is ideal tohave a company that controls its own production so that it does not have to rely on suppliers forprices and products, such as H&M. Compared to Forever 21 and the Gap, both which are trying toincorporate ethics and social awareness into the company, American Apparel is ahead by keepingthe public aware of what’s going on with the company—inside and out—not just to the investors.This way, it makes the public feel more involved and less valued than the investors. Therefore, thepositioning of American Apparel requires no changes within the market. FSH 381-OL1 Genevieve Irby 23
  24. 24. Audit of Current IMC Strategy and Execution FSH 381-OL1 Genevieve Irby 24
  25. 25. • American Apparel creates individual ads that target each target at specific groups or markets. For example, an ad featuring dancewear may be seen by itself. For someone who has not heard of American Apparel, or who does not know much about the company, he/she may think that American Apparel is solely a company catering to dancers.• Because of its past reputation, American Apparel has been known to create advertisements that may seem pornographic. Even though it has transformed its advertising style to the current artistic and tasteful disposition, many may still remember the advertisements from the past years. The advertisements may not be seen as appropriate in all the countries that American Apparel is at. While the advertisements are truthful about the company, the push the limits of appropriateness at every single campaign.• American Apparel continues to have revolutionary statements and advertising that may be seen as controversial in the society. The tone of voice can sometimes be seen as political and slightly aggressive. When being socially responsible and ethical is no longer unique to American Apparel, it would lose its unique selling proposition and may not stand out as much against its competitors.• American Apparel continues to create advertising in its own nature, while pushing the boundaries of them being accepted in the American society, especially. Some of the advertisements of American Apparel may seem unprepared, spontaneous, and unrefined, because sometimes, naturally, they were made on impromptu. As a creative, that may portray a symbol and personality of not caring enough for a project. American Apparel gets enough press coverage because of its controversial advertising as it is. While it is ultimately a form of creative, perhaps it should not be used too much.• American Apparel does not begin and end with the product. The public relates American Apparel to revolutionary ideals, it relates it to the hipster movement—at the end of the day, American Apparel is seen with a brand identity that is outside its product. FSH 381-OL1 Genevieve Irby 25
  26. 26. Proposed IMC Strategy and Objectives FSH 381-OL1 Genevieve Irby 26
  27. 27. • American Apparel should find a new unique selling proposition besides being a transparent company to its customers, and providing more to care about besides social awareness and ethics. Revolution and controversy may not be for everyone. American Apparel may have to consider appealing to a wider target market to boost its sales, while not losing its current customers. Perhaps a good approach could be changing the tone of voice into being more passive and persuasive.• American Apparel could make the creative even stronger by showing more coherence by season. Instead of having random advertisements generated here and there, perhaps they could have extended “big ideas” per season that pulls everything together. As mentioned in Module 5 as well, American Apparel could further introduce a person/model in its advertisement to increase the proximity and relationships with the customers. One way of doing it is to have American Apparel suggests ways on how to wear a product in practical ways in these advertisements such as Louise likes to wear the Chiffon blouse to the beach or Lulu likes to wear the Terry Robe to bed and to work, etc. I think an extra phrase as such could add on to the “big idea” of the campaign, further enhancing the imagery and semiotics of the campaign.• American Apparel needs to create ads that can touch a more varied and wider base of customers all with a single ad, instead of creating many ads to appeal to different groups of customers.• American Apparel should introduce illustration to its advertising—instead of having models introduced by texts and words, American Apparel could have the models draw whatever inspires them, whatever they like, even write their own name. I think that illustration and hand-written documents may portray a more sympathetic proximity for the consumer. It would make the consumer relate to the drawing a lot more, think about it a lot more, and of course, remember it in the long run.• While it is also part of American Apparel’s unique selling proposition, American Apparel should perhaps focus more on selling the products than its ideas. American Apparel’s branding should revolve more around the products. Instead of just vertical integration, perhaps it could have more of its statements shown or depicted on its products. FSH 381-OL1 Genevieve Irby 27
  28. 28. Proposed Really Big Idea FSH 381-OL1 Genevieve Irby 28
  29. 29. • Instead of creating individual and different ads that appeal to different kinds and groups of people, American Apparel should create more coherence in advertising so that the ads could touch a more varied and wider base of customers.• American Apparel should find another unique selling proposition to emphasize on its existing social responsibility in the fashion industry.• American Apparel should consolidate all its online presence and create a “Community” section on its website so that they could be accessible by all in an easier manner. FSH 381-OL1 Genevieve Irby 29
  30. 30. Sample Creative Executions FSH 381-OL1 Genevieve Irby 30
  31. 31. Advertising Even though the poster ads that American Apparel produce may seem toportray some aspects of the “big idea” of American Apparel, in terms of beingcontroversial and provocative, the strategy is not ideal because the masses ofeach geographical area are very varied and not every single person, or even themajority of each area, may want to be subjected to viewing something that isshockingly sexual. There is no awareness created as such, since a viewer who maynot know American Apparel at all would not be aware of the “big idea” of thecompany—its revolutionary roots and current ideas/campaigns, etc. For postersthat would be subjected to a wider viewership, I would suggest a moremainstream approach. To avoid getting lost in the crowd of other posters,American Apparel should maintain its “un-airbrushed aesthetic”, its use of modelsof various shapes and sizes, its taglines, its current logos, etc. For a change, forthe billboards, American Apparel should consider putting up less provocative ads.They may get more viewership/acknowledgement/support if the models werefully-clothed for once. FSH 381-OL1 Genevieve Irby 31
  32. 32. •American Apparel uses print advertising very heavily. All the advertising archives on the American Apparel webpage are print ads. The print adsare American Apparel’s main channel of reaching its audience. American Apparel has been progressively improvising on the ads—maintaining the “bigidea” of American Apparel, maintaining the provocativeness that it wants to display, but also making the sexiness more tasteful. Over the years, theidea of sex in fashion has also become more accepting. Adweek.com wrote an article on how the Gap seems to be copying American Apparel’saesthetics. •That being said, with the competition starting to imitate American Apparel, American Apparel should keep on with what it is doing, but slowlyadd on some other ideas to evolve the “big idea”. As mentioned in Module 7, American Apparel could make the creative even stronger by showingmore coherence by season. Instead of having random advertisements generated here and there, perhaps they could have extended “big ideas” perseason that pulls everything together. As mentioned in Module 5 as well, American Apparel could further introduce a person/model in itsadvertisement to increase the proximity and relationships with the customers. One way of doing it is to have American Apparel suggests ways on howto wear a product in practical ways in these advertisements such as Louise likes to wear the Chiffon blouse to the beach or Lulu likes to wear the TerryRobe to bed and to work, etc. I think an extra phrase as such could add on to the “big idea” of the campaign, further enhancing the imagery andsemiotics of the campaign. Also, American Apparel should introduce illustration to its advertising—instead of having models introduced by texts andwords, American Apparel could have the models draw whatever inspires them, whatever they like, even write their own name. I think that illustrationand hand-written documents may portray a more sympathetic proximity for the consumer. It would make the consumer relate to the drawing a lotmore, think about it a lot more, and of course, remember it in the long run. FSH 381-OL1 Genevieve Irby 32
  33. 33. merican Apparel uses a lot ofcrowdsourcing as well. Bykeeping a transparent company,American Apparel communicatesa lot with its fans and welcomesthe fans to talk to them as wellthrough various platforms of themedia. For example, AmericanApparel has a page on Facebookthat it uses to notify viewers ofcertain events and also ask forfeedbacks. FSH 381-OL1 Genevieve Irby 33
  34. 34. • American Apparel consults its fans very regularly and encourages them to send in submissions to model for the store, or to have their music played on Viva Radio. I think American Apparel can further use this platform to reach out to its customers in terms of advertising ideas—through its current Facebook page and its website, American Apparel should consult its customers and fans on the next campaign, and to submit ideas on how it should be done. This will allow American Apparel to see if its current advertising strategy is popular and influential within its fan base, that they may continue to submit and support provocative and risqué ideas that the media negatively comments on sometimes, or if it needs to change. If change is required, at least American Apparel would be doing it the way the fans want it, and it may go into a better direction where new and fresh ideas may be produced since its number one fan base is the hipster group, which typically tends to be a creative and intelligent group of people. FSH 381-OL1 Genevieve Irby 34
  35. 35. • As the module in the outline described, the Internet has caused web videos to be a popular means of films. American Apparel uses Vimeo as a platform for its videos. All of American Apparel’s videos are available on the Internet, which is the main platform of media for its target market—the hipsters, and also the fashion followers. Seeming that the media has called the hipsters and American Apparel to be synonymous, putting advertising on television may cause its biggest fan base to feel like American Apparel is becoming too mainstream for them. Though, if using advertisement on television is a must for American Apparel, I would suggest putting the advertisements on networks like Showtime or HBO—American Apparel would be at liberty to spread its “big idea” at liberty, without restrictions from the mainstream networks that may take offense to American Apparel’s preferences of depicting certain sexual tendencies.• This American Apparel video is an example of a commercial from the company that would suit well on a channel like Showtime or HBO.• However, none of its films have been directed with a storyline, except the American Apparel commercial featuring the children breakdancer (watch the American Apparel commercial that hit the televisions and received quite a bit of acknowledgement.)• Film-wise, American Apparel has always sought to create more of a documented journey inside the factories and offices of American Apparel. That has been a method to showcase American Apparel’s “big idea” as well, by making its company more transparent. Immigration Reform Now is an example of a documented video, with a storyline. American Apparel should continue using this platform to show its “big idea” by having story lines in its revolutionary ideas and campaigns. FSH 381-OL1 Genevieve Irby 35
  36. 36. • American Apparel owns an Internet radio station called Viva Radio. This is based out of Brooklyn, New York. This is a radio site that runs for 24 hours, 7 days a week. It allows listeners to participate a lot more easily than regular radio on air. Like American Apparel, listeners and fans can be a contributor to the site. For musicians, this is ideal because they can submit their own recordings as well. Every American Apparel store turns in to this channel. The store also sells apparel for Viva Radio online and in stores. Since American Apparel owns the radio station, there is no other competition in terms of promoting through this channel. The execution of the promotion via this channel should remain the way it is as it is not only a platform for promotion, but to keep its fans involved and promoting young musicians’ work. FSH 381-OL1 Genevieve Irby 36
  37. 37. • Out of the several platforms of media, I think that the most important platform for American Apparel continues to be press. It has been a vital mean of advertising for American Apparel, and would continue to be. As the Internet advances, the press would be transferred more towards the Internet, as it already has commenced. This would give American Apparel more exposure internationally, and also more quickly.• Secondly, the films are important, as American Apparel has already established itself on the web with its own video channel through Vimeo. Creating films would create a more memorable advertisement for its viewers, especially since the Internet is a high-traffic market throughout the world. The films would allow American Apparel to express itself without too much restrictions, viewers can choose to watch them or not, and American Apparel is at more liberty to tell its “big idea” either through a storyline or a documented film. Either way, it is a platform to instill visual and auditory memories into a viewer.• Crowdsourcing is the next thing that is essential to American Apparel. To maintain its “big idea”, which involves transparency of the company, the communication has to go both ways. Crowdsourcing allows that. Customers like to be involved and aware—American Apparel will continue to be popular as long as it continues to crowdsource and utilize the ideas put forth by the customers.• Following that would be the Viva Radio station that American Apparel owns. Even though it is not widely known, it is important for American Apparel to keep up with it as it is a place where fans get together to contribute to music, to discuss, and to listen to music. It is quite an original idea, and fans may cherish this station as a place not only to have their music played, but also support other fellow musicians. Ultimately, the act of keeping this radio station alive is part of American Apparel’s “big idea”.• American Apparel has used posters, but it has always been seen in a negative light. While American Apparel may benefit from having posters, it has to consider making the sexual innuendos milder and respecting certain social conventions. Therefore, I would suggest American Apparel to focus more on the previous methods of advertising instead of posters. FSH 381-OL1 Genevieve Irby 37
  38. 38. Public Relations and Special EventsSome PR story ideas: • American Apparel will launch a new project• Customers can start customizing selected whereby every store in each country would shirts when purchased online. carry a t-shirt unique to that country itself,• Customers can sign up for a loyalty program with slogans such as, “Little Town, CA, USA— Been Here” in each language. whereby they can receive points for every item purchased and be able to claim outfits • From the previous idea, American Apparel with the points or donate them to respective will launch an interactive website where campaigns. customers can upload pictures of themselves• American Apparel would work with selected in all these shirts. There may be a contest as well and American Apparel would feature students from fashion schools within the contestants on their sites and have the top United States to teach them semester or three win a modeling contract with American yearlong programs on successful vertical Apparel. integration and also to design and create clothes with ethical materials. American • American Apparel in some major cities would Apparel would hold a casting call for dancers collaborate with some hospitals to provide who wear American Apparel’s dancewear. newborn onesies for babies born in those Up to 30 dancers would be casted hospitals. internationally for a music video specially • American Apparel would partner with TOMS made by American Apparel. shoes to create a new style of shoe and• This Christmas, American Apparel would continue the same causes that TOMS start a “Family Pack” promotion whereby initiated. families could have matching outfits (or not) and have them customized. FSH 381-OL1 Genevieve Irby 38
  39. 39. List of Media to Pitch to:• Curve Magazine• Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA)• Women’s Wear Daily (WWD)• MTV FSH 381-OL1 Genevieve Irby 39
  40. 40. List of Potential Partners, Sponsorships, and Celebrity Endorsers:• TOMS Shoes• CDFA and fashion schools like the Academy of Art University, Fashion Institute of Technology, Parsons, etc.• Dance companies and competitions such as the New York City Dance Associations (NYCDA).• Hospitals like the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and Babies and Children’s Hospital in New York City.• Lana del Rey• Rumi Neely FSH 381-OL1 Genevieve Irby 40
  41. 41. Some Ideas for Special Events:• With the CFDA putting more resources and time into creating more companies that are “Made in the USA”, American Apparel is a great example for the students and members to learn from. American Apparel would work with selected students from fashion schools within the United States to teach them semester or yearlong programs on successful vertical integration and also to design and create clothes with ethical materials.• American Apparel will launch a new project whereby every store in each country would carry a t-shirt unique to that country itself, with slogans such as, “Little Town, CA, USA—Been Here” in each language. An interactive website will then be launched where customers can upload pictures of themselves in all these shirts. There may be a contest as well and American Apparel would feature contestants on their sites and have the top three win a modeling contract with American Apparel.• American Apparel in some major cities would collaborate with some hospitals to provide newborn onesies for babies born in those hospitals. This way, first-time mothers who may or may not have heard of American Apparel would be introduced to the baby line of the brand and may choose to shop there because of the adorable designs and the fact that they are made in the US. First-time mothers tend to want the best for their child, and may decide to support organic and local brands more, especially during the first few months. It is the best time to gain new customers, especially for the kids’ line.• American Apparel would hold a casting call for dancers who wear American Apparel’s dancewear. Up to 30 dancers would be casted internationally for a music video specially made by American Apparel. This video would bring in varied genres of dance and would be shown in-stores, as ads on TV channels, and also on the Internet. FSH 381-OL1 Genevieve Irby 41
  42. 42. • American Apparel has many stores all around the world. To make its presence known globally, and for customers to participate in it, American Apparel would create a T-shirt that would be unique to each country, all with similar slogans marking presence in that country, and in that language as well. On American Apparel’s main website, there would be a link to an external interactive website whereby fans from all over the world could upload pictures of themselves in these shirts. They could also be tagged through Lookbook.nu. A contest would be held to see who has the most number of shirts from around the world. Contestants would be featured on American Apparel’s website and Facebook page for viewers to vote on the “creativity” of the picture in its entirety. The top three contestants— regardless of age, size, and gender—would win a modeling contract with American Apparel. Other prizes would be included respectively. FSH 381-OL1 Genevieve Irby 42
  43. 43. Interactive and Direct Marketing• For direct marketing, American Apparel contacts their customers directly via email and also through social networking sites, especially Facebook. What American Apparel does to capture the attention of its customers and not have the message to directly to junk mail is the giving of promotional codes through e- mail updates.• American Apparel’s interactive marketing tactics are a lot more strategized that the direct marketing tactics. The American Apparel label could be found all over the Internet, on sites such as asos.com, Hautelook, Polyvore, Lookbook.nu, etc. The online advertisements of American Apparel could be found on many popular bloggers’ websites as well. American Apparel and Lookbook.nu collaborated to create a 64- page lookbook by Lookbook.nu members wearing American Apparel. It was available for free online and in stores. French blogger, The Chic Muse (a.k.a. Denni) posted about it on her website, and there was a long conversation worth of comments on the Lookbook.nu’s website about this book. It certainly created a lot of buzz among the lookbook community, which in itself is virtually enormous.• American Apparel also has a website that is extremely rich in content where one can shop online or explore more about the company. It has external links to its Facebook and Twitter pages. FSH 381-OL1 Genevieve Irby 43
  44. 44. FSH 381-OL1 Genevieve Irby 44
  45. 45. FSH 381-OL1 Genevieve Irby 45
  46. 46. • The “big idea” in this case is really to continue and enhance the marketing techniques that American Apparel currently utilizes. I think that the website could be more community-oriented so that customers and fans do not have to click to external websites like Facebook, Twitter, and Lookbook.nu to connect with other American Apparel supporters.• Since American Apparel has great presence in the blogosphere world and on social networking websites, they do not have a blog. Even though Facebook is a huge social networking site, I think that part of the big idea should be for American Apparel to create a blog as well, so that everything is on the same page and not scattered all around. It can be difficult to find newest looks by members, videos, collections, etc. via the different sites of American Apparel (Facebook, Twitter, Vimeo, americanapparel.net, Lookbook.nu, etc.) FSH 381-OL1 Genevieve Irby 46
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  48. 48. Visual Merchandising and Experiential Marketing• American Apparel has stores all over the world, however, the visual merchandising the stores are not consistent.• For the most part, American Apparel stores tend to blend into the street.• Therefore, it is essential for American Apparel to improve its visual merchandising. FSH 381-OL1 Genevieve Irby 48
  49. 49. • Most American Apparel stores have quite a • This is an American Apparel located at the flat and basic exterior such as this: Marais (the biggest gay neighborhood) in Paris. According to my research, one of the biggest target markets for American Apparel is the LGBT community. I would imagine that an American Apparel in the gay neighborhood of Paris would stand out a lot more, but it doesn’t. In fact, there are so many other thrift and vintage stores in this neighborhood that completely outshines American Apparel in terms of attraction to the stores FSH 381-OL1 Genevieve Irby 49
  50. 50. • Even though the above image is an American Apparel in Soho, it has a very European look and feel to it, which seems to be quite a favorable juxtapose for a brand like American Apparel. • American Apparel should feature up and coming• American Apparel stores should change its typical, flat musicians featured on their radio channel or any other layout to something similar to the exterior of an local musicians/artists, so that they can be a source of American Apparel store in SoHo, New York City: word-of-mouth marketing for American Apparel. • The interiors of most American Apparel are very easy to navigate. All the items on the sales floor are within reach so it is easy for customers to experience and feel the products. The employees also always wear American Apparel, thus giving ideas on how to wear certain items. • American Apparel should put their newer and later collections and items towards the front of the store so that customers can shop those newer items first and last. FSH 381-OL1 Genevieve Irby 50
  51. 51. Sales Promotion and Personal Selling• American Apparel offers flash sales online. Notifications are sent through emails or posted on Facebook.com FSH 381-OL1 Genevieve Irby 51
  52. 52. • American Apparel offers 15% off a first purchase one when a person subscribes.• All orders over $75 ship for free within America (100€, within Europe).• American Apparel always have a sales section on its website whereby one can choose to purchase a “surprise” pack, which can have 3-8 unknown pieces per pack. FSH 381-OL1 Genevieve Irby 52
  53. 53. • Employees within the American Apparel stores wear American Apparel clothes when they are working, thus promoting personal selling. Customers who walk into the store would notice what the employees are wearing and may get an idea on how to piece garments together.• Another method of personal selling is the videos that American Apparel put on Vimeo, where it demonstrates the various ways to wear certain garments. FSH 381-OL1 Genevieve Irby 53
  54. 54. • Because of the versatility of a few garments within the store, American Apparel should employ at least one personal stylist per store to assist more with personal selling.• American Apparel could benefit from having a personal stylist within the store, because that would enable real-time experience on how to wear garments differently (like the online shoppers who could watch them on Vimeo). FSH 381-OL1 Genevieve Irby 54
  55. 55. Ethics and Cause MarketingSome of American Apparel’s • Vertical Integration Current CSR and Cause model of American Marketing Efforts are: Apparel includes:• Taking part in the Cleaner  Made In USA/Jobs Cotton (a.k.a. B.A.S.I.C.  Sustainability cotton) campaign led by  Corporate Responsibility by  The Sustainable Cotton Project Political Activism by purchasing 30,000 pounds of cleaner cotton. FSH 381-OL1 Genevieve Irby 55
  56. 56. • Factories and manufacturing operations are concentrated to a small circle of buildings in downtown Los Angeles. There are over 7,500 employees at the LA-factories, and the workers there are the highest- paid in the world, making up to $21/hour (or $40,000/year).FSH 381-OL1 Genevieve Irby 56
  57. 57. • American Apparel seek to reduce carbon footprints. As is, with all the factories concentrated at one area at LA, it reduces unnecessarily shipments and use of supplies all over the world. American Apparel tries to create as little waste as possible by minimizing the gaps between the pattern pieces when cutting out the garments, using scraps to make accessories, selling “Bag O Scraps” online to customers who many be able to use the scraps, making them into rags for the housekeeping team, and recycling whatever else that can not be used. American Apparel also donates packaging/supplies that they can no longer use to local schools and non-profit organizations for them to use in their art programs. Solar panels are installed on the roof of the downtown LA factory where it generates 150 kilowatts of clean, renewable power. There is an organic line sold under the “Sustainable Edition” whereby all products featured are 100% organic. American Apparel sells over 800,000 100% organic cotton garments annually. American Apparel has also been lending bikes to employees since 2005 and subsidizes bus passes for the employees. This is an effort to encourage a sustainable alternative for transportation. FSH 381-OL1 Genevieve Irby 57
  58. 58. • American Apparel involves itself in various charities. One of its buildings in downtown LA is a home to hundreds of thousands of overstocked/imperfect garments where they can be quickly packed into boxes and sent to different places when disaster hits and when clothes are needed quickly within hours. In 2005, over 80,000 shirts were sent to the victims of Hurricane Katrina. Two years later, CEO of American Apparel, Dov Chaney, donated 300,000 articles of clothing to passersby on the streets near an American Apparel location at Portland (Willamette Week). The next year, the “Legalize Gay” shirts were donated to any gay rights group that needed them, resulting in more than 50,000 of those shirts being distributed. In 2009, the Justice for Immigrants Factory Sale was hosted by American Apparel where over 15,000 overstocked pieces were sold and all the proceeds went to immigrant rights groups. In the following year, over 80,000 garments were donated to support the Haiti Relief, and over 70,000 garments altogether to other charities such as Operation USA, Fashion Delivers, and Soles4Souls. FSH 381-OL1 Genevieve Irby 58
  59. 59. • American Apparel is known for its revolutionary statements and ideas. The two biggest issues have been Immigration Reform and Gay Rights. Having campaigned for immigration reform for over 11 years, American Apparel has become more creative with using technology and the garments to put out its message. Using similar PR techniques, when California voters passed the prop 8 in 2008, American Apparel started standing up for gay rights all over the world. FSH 381-OL1 Genevieve Irby 59
  60. 60. • American Apparel created its own code of ethics as to what a vertical integration should be, surpassing a merchandising perspective. As the current module stated, it is beneficial for a company to implement its own code of ethics and exercise its “invisible hand” over the company and its employees. American Apparel has exercised a lot of social responsibilities as seen above, from human and employee rights to supporting charities and pro-environmental causes. Despite doing a lot, there is room for American Apparel to improve its CSR, especially from an environmental perspective. FSH 381-OL1 Genevieve Irby 60
  61. 61. • Because American Apparel is an all-American, made by Americans for Americans brand, I think it would be beneficial for it to start carrying a group of American brands as well. My suggestion, per earlier on in this plan, would be for American Apparel to start carrying TOMS shoes. Since TOMS shoes is a for-profit brand based in California as well, the target market for TOMS shoes and American Apparel would be quite similar. TOMS shoes are not produced in the USA, but in other developing countries. Therefore, I would further suggest for American Apparel to invite TOMS shoes to have a special line produced in the American Apparel factories. TOMS shoes are getting more and more popular within the US. However, its presence outside of the US is still quite limited. American Apparel already has stores in over 20 countries, this would not only increase awareness and sales of another brand, but customers would also see the support by American Apparel in the causes by TOMS shoes. Within the US, customers who look for TOMS shoes (and maybe not American Apparel) may discover American Apparel through TOMS. FSH 381-OL1 Genevieve Irby 61
  62. 62. • Another brand that I would suggest for American Apparel to carry is Coup d’état Brooklyn. From the previous IMCs report that I did, American Apparel has been said to be synonymous with the Willamsburg hipsters. Even though Coup d’état Brooklyn is not a hipster brand, the brand is founded on similar revolutionary values that American Apparel has. Being a brand based out of LA, it would develop the brand identity further to carry a brand significant to the east coast, to New York City, so as to make it more well-rounded and American, and not just Californian. It would also bring in another value and revolutionary idea for American Apparel to stand for as per its political activism ideal in its code of ethics as mentioned previously. I think carrying these two brands exclusively would give American Apparel more variety. FSH 381-OL1 Genevieve Irby 62
  63. 63. • American Apparel has been employing a marketing technique unique to its brand since it has been established. American Apparel creates all its ads and videos on its own, using models of different sizes (even using employees to model the clothes), and limits the retouching. The final products are all very raw and look home-made. The content of the pictures, however, has been causing a lot of controversy. Even in the current module’s discussions, American Apparel was raised as a brand that does not seem to portray the ethical messages that the company represents. The advertising has certainly capture the attention of people all over the world, nonetheless, not all the attention received were positive. According to The Daily Beast, the “socially responsible” message of American Apparel seems to become twisted into a money-making scheme whereby as long employees are paid fairly, the company gets to exploit them. Yet, within the same article, the author describes the ads as refreshing because American Apparel is a rare company that does not manipulate or airbrush the models, so much so that they make them more relatable to the public, compared to mainstream, overproduced fashion images that people end up detaching themselves from. The article concluded saying that “beauty or exploitation: it’s in the eye of the beholder”. Good contemporary art has been said to be one that provokes an emotion of any kind—it is not successful if it does not provoke an emotion. American Apparel’s ads have caused a lot of controversy, that I would say that it has succeeded and made its point in creating attention. Therefore, to improve its brand image, I would suggest a change in the advertising, which would create a shock factor yet maintain its integrity. I would suggest removing the sexual innuendo completely and go to the other extreme of portraying an extremely unadulterated image. Because of what it stands for, it would need to replace the sexuality with another relatable (yet attention-seeking) human experience, such as out-of-the-world dreams or child-like ecstatic memories. This would require American Apparel to include more elements and let go of its naturalistic untouched photographs. I would highly suggest employing digital artists like Justin Maller or 96k to create very eye- catching ads that would twist the sexual innuendos to a different state of mind, or remove it completely. FSH 381-OL1 Genevieve Irby 63
  64. 64. • Art by digital group, 96k• Art by digital artist, Justin Maller FSH 381-OL1 Genevieve Irby 64
  65. 65. • By developing its brand identity and improving its brand image, American Apparel can shock the public with a complete turnaround while emphasizing on its social awareness, which has always been very important to the company and to Dov Chaney; to involve more brands and local talents, which has also been started with the in- house radio station, Viva; and raise awareness to the soul of American Apparel instead of having the public focus on the sexuality of the ads and having the wrong idea of the company. FSH 381-OL1 Genevieve Irby 65
  66. 66. Evaluation and Measurement of Success FSH 381-OL1 Genevieve Irby 66
  67. 67. • Decisions in the creative, media, and budgeting could be tested by implementing a survey in form of getting feedbacks by customers.• This way, American Apparel could see the reaction from the target audience and which sample execution appeals more.• This would also reinforce the brand position.• For pre-test, American Apparel could flightily publish new ads as suggested in the sample execution plan. This would create awareness and curiosity among customers.• The tests should employ consumers (target audience) to be the juries of ad assessments.• Via americanapparel.net, American Apparel can monitor if there is an increase of traffic online by having an internal hit counter and a timer. FSH 381-OL1 Genevieve Irby 67
  68. 68. Conclusion FSH 381-OL1 Genevieve Irby 68
  69. 69. American Apparel’s existing marketing plan has put the company on the map and somesee it as a controversial company. Nonetheless, it provokes a response and generatesattention from the media. However, to improve the IMC of American Apparel, the companyshould seek to revitalize its advertisements and messages by creating more coherence withits advertisements and online presence so that it would reach a wider group of audience. Itshould also emphasize its social responsibility within the fashion industry by collaboratingwith other local brands like TOMS shoes and coup d’etat Brooklyn. This would create morebrand awareness and curiosity as well. American Apparel should consider working withdigital artists to create advertisements that would shock the public because of how differentthey would be from the former. The success could be measured by having test copies printedout sporadically to see the reaction of the market. The target market could also be used asjuries to see if the plan would cause the company to perform better. FSH 381-OL1 Genevieve Irby 69
  70. 70. Works Cited• "American Apparel | Vertical Integration." American Apparel. Web. 19 Mar. 2012. <http://www.americanapparel.net/verticalintegration/>.• "Coup Detat Brooklyn (www.cdtbk.com)." Coup Detat Brooklyn (www.cdtbk.com). Web. 07 May 2012. http://cdtbk.com/site/.• Cowles, Charlotte. "New York Magazine." The Cut. 17 Aug. 2011. Web. 19 Mar. 2012. <http://nymag.com/daily/fashion/2011/08/forever_21_vendors_lawsuit.html>.• Databank Consulting. "Case Study: Hennes & Mauritz." E-business Watch. E-business Watch, 2004. Web. 20 Mar. 2012. <http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise/archives/e-business-watch/studies/case_studies/documents/Case%20Studies %202004/CS_SR01_Textile_2-HM.pdf>.• "Environmental Leader." American Apparel Makes Big Cleaner Cotton Purchase · Environmental Management & Energy News ·. 28 Apr. 2008. Web. 07 May 2012. http://www.environmentalleader.com/2008/04/28/american-apparel-makes-big-cleaner-cotton-purchase/.• Friedman, Arthur. "Apparel Prices Caught in Complex Cycle." Fashion, Beauty and Retail News. WWD, 12 Mar. 2012. Web. 19 Mar. 2012. <http://www.wwd.com/markets-news/textiles/apparel-prices-caught-in-complex-cycle-5791285>.• "Gaps New Ads Seem Very American Apparel | Adweek." Adweek – Breaking News in Advertising, Media and Technology. Web. 26 Mar. 2012. http://www.adweek.com/adfreak/gaps-new-ads-seem-very-american-apparel-13787.• Lipke, David. "American Apparel Faces Crunch of Debts, Losses." Fashion, Beauty and Retail News. WWD, 14 Mar. 2012. Web. 19 Mar. 2012. <http://www.wwd.com/retail-news/financial/american-apparel-losses-narrow-5795784>.• Pfaff, Kimberly. "Cheap Chic." SCT. ICSC. Web. 19 Mar. 2012. <http://www.icsc.org/srch/sct/sct0302/page35.php>.• Saini, Mayu. "India Lifts Cotton Export Ban." Fashion, Beauty and Retail News. WWD, 12 Mar. 2012. Web. 19 Mar. 2012. <http://www.wwd.com/markets-news/textiles/india-lifts-cotton-export-ban-5791958>.• "Supply Chain." Supply Chain. 2012. Web. 19 Mar. 2012. <http://www.gapinc.com/content/gapinc/html/csr/supply_chain.html>.• Wiseman, Eva. "The Gospel According to Forever 21." The Guardian. Guardian News and Media, 16 July 2011. Web. 19 Mar. 2012. <http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2011/jul/17/forever-21-fast-fashion-america>.• "TOMS SHOES LOGO." Corporate Information. Web. 07 May 2012. http://www.toms.com/corporate-info/. FSH 381-OL1 Genevieve Irby 70