DTC Dispatch #023

Brands look to the past for marketing success!

🕐️ This year is flying by!

This week in DTC Dispatch:

🧼 Dove pledges to not use AI models in lieu of real women in its advertising

🎵 Taylor Swift’s music is back on TikTok, despite platform’s ongoing UMG dispute

👟 Nike remains one of the most popular brands among teenagers

📈 Throwback pricing and low-res imagery: Established brands look to the past for marketing success

🧥 Study: Gen-Z males show greatest interest in second-hand luxury fashion


Dove pledges to not use AI models in lieu of real women in its advertising

Dove, in its unwavering commitment to its Real Beauty initiative, has declared that it will not rely on artificial intelligence to depict women in its advertising and communications. This announcement comes as the iconic platform celebrates its remarkable 20th anniversary, marking two decades of empowering women worldwide.

In a new ad campaign titled "The Code," Dove captivates audiences with a stirring rendition of "Pure Imagination," the beloved song from the timeless film "Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory." The campaign showcases women submitting prompts to AI image generators, only to be confronted with unattainable and unrealistic beauty standards. However, Dove's visionary perspective emerges, revealing a breathtaking array of diverse women, exemplifying the immense potential of this technology.

Unilever-owned brand has not only changed how women are shown in ads but also created Real Beauty Prompt Guidelines. These guidelines help users of generative AI make images that truly show the beauty and diversity of women.

Dove has asked famous celebrities like Reba McEntire, Drew Barrymore, Beanie Feldstein, and Marsai Martin to help spread their message worldwide. They will work together to challenge society's expectations and celebrate the true beauty of all women.

Our take: In the coming years, the discourse surrounding artificial intelligence (AI) will persist as a prominent subject of deliberation within the realm of advertising, particularly concerning the permissible boundaries. The demarcation between deceptive practices and technological advancements will be subject to extensive debate, potentially prompting legislative intervention to establish the parameters of acceptability. In this context, Dove's commendable commitment to abstain from employing AI models in their advertising endeavors represents a commendable stride towards ethical advertising practices for the brand.

Taylor Swift’s music is back on TikTok, despite platform’s ongoing UMG dispute

The resumption of Taylor Swift's presence on TikTok following a 10-week hiatus has garnered attention. However, it is important to note that only her newer songs and the "Taylor's Version" cuts are available, as she possesses the rights to these compositions.

The removal of Taylor's music, as well as the music of all artists under the Universal Music Group (UMG) label, from TikTok was a consequence of the failure to reach a consensus on a revised licensing agreement. The situation became contentious, with UMG issuing a strongly worded statement accusing TikTok of attempting to coerce them into accepting a deal that was less favorable than the previous one. UMG remained steadfast in their position, asserting that their actions were motivated by a desire to safeguard the interests of emerging artists. They contended that TikTok engaged in unfair practices by selectively removing the music of rising stars while retaining that of established artists. UMG perceived these tactics and refused to acquiesce to an agreement that undervalued music and disadvantaged artists, songwriters, and their supporters. In contrast, TikTok offered minimal commentary on the matter.

Our take: The issue of music rights has been a recurring concern for Taylor Swift, who has consistently engaged in disputes with different music platforms such as Spotify and, more recently, TikTok. The Universal Music Group (UMG) has justified these actions as imperative measures aimed at safeguarding the interests of emerging artists. Consequently, it is foreseeable that artists will persist in their struggles against social platforms like TikTok in order to assert their rights over their musical creations.

Nike remains one of the most popular brands among teenagers

According to a recent survey conducted by Piper and Sandler, Nike has emerged as the most favored brand among teenagers in terms of apparel and footwear. However, the study also reveals that other brands such as On, Hoka, and New Balance have made significant progress since the previous year.

It is worth noting that the average teenager has experienced a decrease in disposable income this year. This conclusion is drawn from the responses of 6,020 participants, whose average age was 16, indicating a self-reported decline of 6% in spending compared to the previous year. Nevertheless, this figure represents a 1% increase from Piper's survey conducted in the autumn of the same year. It is important to highlight that even in the aforementioned survey, teenagers were found to be spending 4% less year over year and 1% less compared to the previous survey conducted in the spring of 2023.

Abbie Zvejnieks, a senior research analyst at Piper Sandler, asserts that there have been notable shifts in brand preferences, with smaller and more innovative brands gaining market share at the expense of established incumbents. Zvejnieks further suggests that the accelerated trend cycle, influenced by social media, has placed greater emphasis on key products, necessitating brands to be adaptable in order to remain competitive.

Footwear emerges as the primary purchase choice for teenagers, although overall spending in this category has experienced a 1% decline year over year. Additionally, the study reveals that average-income teenagers have witnessed a 3% decrease in their spending, while their upper-income counterparts have increased their expenditure by 5%. Notably, parental contributions to their children's spending habits have remained consistent with the previous year, accounting for 62% of the total expenditure. Furthermore, the survey indicates that nearly 38% of the teenagers surveyed reported being employed part-time.

Our take: Despite a general decline in adolescent expenditure, Nike continues to maintain its prominence as one of the most favored brands within this demographic. Notably, the current fiscal year has witnessed a reduction in disposable income among teenagers, rendering this observation intriguing.

Throwback pricing and low-res imagery: Established brands look to the past for marketing success

In the dynamic realm of marketing, an increasing number of brands are turning to tried-and-true methods to captivate consumers.

Enter Carl Banks, the esteemed president of G-III Apparel Group, who staunchly believes in the power of analog marketing to forge genuine emotional connections. Having witnessed the ebbs and flows of the iconic brand Starter, Banks is now resolute in resurrecting its former glory. Once the go-to choice for trendsetters in the '90s, Starter adorned the likes of luminaries such as Brooke Shields and Will Smith. In this digital age, Starter is boldly embracing traditional marketing techniques to seize attention.

By revitalizing their street team and strategically plastering posters in unconventional locales like bustling construction sites, Starter is orchestrating an awe-inspiring resurgence that is revolutionizing the game through the art of analog marketing.

Our take: In contemporary marketing practices, brands are increasingly turning their attention towards historical approaches as a means to devise novel strategies for consumer engagement. Given the overwhelming saturation observed in digital channels, analog channels have been witnessing a resurgence in popularity and effectiveness among consumers. Consequently, it is anticipated that brands will persist in their pursuit of inventive methods to establish meaningful connections with their respective target markets.

Study: Gen-Z males show greatest interest in second-hand luxury fashion

The act of purchasing pre-owned garments has gained popularity, particularly among consumers seeking to maximize their monetary value, seek out vintage items, or minimize their impact on the environment. However, while many individuals derive pleasure from discovering bargains through thrift shopping, this behavior is commonly observed among discount-oriented shoppers.

Remarkably, the luxury fashion resale sector boasts a substantial market value of nearly $50 billion. Ongoing polling data from CivicScience reveals that approximately 35 percent of adults in the United States express at least a moderate inclination to acquire second-hand luxury fashion and/or accessories within the next 30 days (based on 2,140 responses collected from March 22 to April 2, 2024).

In a blog post, CivicScience asserts that the highest level of interest in second-hand luxury fashion emanates from the Gen Z cohort, closely followed by Millennials. Furthermore, a noteworthy shift in consumer conduct has been observed, with 40 percent of men aged 18 to 34 expressing a greater likelihood of purchasing second-hand luxury items today compared to 2023, in contrast to 33 percent of women within the same age bracket. CivicScience affirms that this trend is not a passing fad but rather a burgeoning movement.

Our take: It is widely acknowledged that contemporary consumers belonging to Generation Z exhibit a notable inclination towards the acquisition of pre-owned goods. This predilection can be attributed to their strong commitment to sustainability, as well as their desire to procure distinctive and specialized items. A recent survey conducted by CivicScience substantiates this trend, revealing that male members of Generation Z exhibit the highest level of interest in purchasing second-hand luxury items in the present era.

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