Over the past few weeks the way fashion industries use social media outlets has been dissected. From celebrity endorsements to the world’s most renowned designers, a conclusion has been made: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat are the reason audiences feel inspired to purchase your product. In a world where millennials are taking over, fashion industries are constantly striving to reach audiences of all demographics. Not only are we able to scroll, text and swipe with the touch of a finger, but we can watch and live stream, too. Everything is given to us right in the palm of our hands through our electronic devices and social media profiles.
We live in a world where celebrities are idolized and followed on every social media account possible. Who knew that “Keeping up with the Kardashians” would not just be a famous reality TV show, but instead literally mean keeping up with Kylie. Millennials want to be the first to comment, repost, favorite and purchase Kylie Jenner’s new makeup line right off of her Instagram photo within seconds of her post. Social media has given one of Kylie’s 78.7 million followers on Instagram a whole knew meaning. Audiences feel connected and involved like never before. Fifteen years ago, who would have predicted that professional athletes such as Tom Brady and David Beckham would be the faces of UGG and H&M? We live in a society that loves to watch professional athletes on the field as much as we do on the billboards. How are long-time, brand-name designers adapting to the social media culture? A hashtag like “#InstaKors” seems to do the trick.
Our century is surviving through the ability to stay connected. Individuals are a tweet away from the newest trend. This is creating new reputations for the fashion industry and allows them to reach constituent groups with a different outlet, creating a whole new era.
Around the world companies have used athletes to promote their brands since the 1930s, when baseball legend Babe Ruth endorsed a soft drink brand called Red Rock Cola. Since then, the times have changed and social media has taken over in brand marketing and brand promotion. The key for fashion brands is choosing the right athlete to endorse your product. These athletes need to seem like they would be an authentic customer of the product, fashion line, or service that they promote. Trustworthiness and credibility for the brand are most important. They need to be believed in the eyes of the public. This results in fans and consumers buying the EleVen athletic wear that Serena Williams promotes on Instagram and the striving ballers purchasing the newest LeBron James Collection basketball shoes because LeBron states he is an all-around better player while wearing them.
Brands reaching into the social communities of these athletes is the smartest thing they can do. Even an announcement from a brand signing a celebrity or athlete will make the stock prices of the company rise. Just one endorsement can increase sales by 4%. Brands utilizing Usain Bolts social media accounts create a personal interest in his fans and followers. TV commercials and billboards are easy to classify as staged productions, whereas Twitter, Instagram and Facebook profiles make the promotion significant and much more attractive to viewers.
Maria Sharapova partnered with Nike to promote their brand. Not only did she build a successful tennis career, but also a large number of followers across her social media profiles. With 1.8 million followers on Twitter, over 15 million fans on Facebook, and 164,000 on Instagram, she is one of the most desirable athletes for endorsements.
The Nike Jordan shoe brand has become one of the most successful athlete endorsement campaigns in history. In 2009, statistics showed that Jordan continued to boost Nike’s bottom line with the Jordan Brand taking 75% of the basketball shoe market, and a 10.8% share of the overall shoe market in the United States. Brands must pay more than $10 million dollars just to use his imagery! The Nike Jordan fashion line now boasts clothing from athletic shirts and shorts to accessories that include socks, wristbands, headbands, hats, backpacks and of course basketballs. Air Jordan shoes are still one of the mostly highly coveted and highest selling items in Nike’s existence. The iconography of the “Jumpman” logo combined with innovative designs and Michael Jordan himself revolutionized the Air Jordan brand and the look of basketball footwear forever.
Professional athletes have been endorsing products for years, but in the last decade athletes have started endorsing brands that have nothing to do with the sports they play. Professional athletes such as Tom Brady and David Beckham have moved to endorsing brands that are trendy and fashion centric on their social media accounts.
Tom Brady is known for endorsing UGG boots. This eventually skyrocketed the launch of UGG for Men with the help of a giant spread of him sitting against a wall in GQ magazine wearing the furry boots. David Beckham is a big endorser of fashion lines for H&M clothing. Bodywear by H&M suddenly became more desiring. Both Brady and Beckham are not representing themselves as professional football and soccer players on social media but rather presenting themselves as models of desire in the fashion world. This contrasts with the Michael Jordan brand because as models they are relying on sex appeal to endorse these products instead of athletic talent.