How nostalgia proved to be a success for men’s fashion retailer Stayhard

Elin Johnsson Echávarry / August 2019

Whether it’s the flares of the ‘70s, the shoulder pads of the ‘80s, or the sporty minimalism of the ‘90s, fashion has the power to evoke memories (good and bad) – none more so than when we’re looking back at old photos from our childhood.

It was this concept of nostalgia that was the driver behind Swedish fashion retailer Stayhard’s campaign, Barndomsminnen (Childhood Memories). Stayhard worked with podcasters Alex Schulman and Sigge Eklund on a video series aimed at the brand’s core audience of young, style-conscious men.

“The central concept involved Alex and Sigge discussing the clothes and outfits they remembered from childhood, which we recreated to fit them in the present day,” says Malin Hultqvist, CEO at Stayhard. By telling human stories, full of humour and emotion, the campaign conveyed a powerful message about nostalgia, memory and the life-long role fashion plays in our lives.

With video at the heart of the creative brief, YouTube was a natural home for the campaign. “We knew that YouTube provided us with the opportunity to reach just the right audience, in a cost-efficient way compared to traditional TV,” says Andreas van Reis, Online Marketing Manager at Stayhard. “And using Audience Manager meant we could accurately estimate our potential reach.”

Bites, snacks and meals – serving viewers the ad length they want

From this audience insight, the brand worked with their agency Precis Digital, to develop their marketing approach of ‘bites, snacks and meals’, creating videos of 15-, 60- and 360-seconds’ duration, along with two 6-second bumper ads. Viewers were first shown the 60-second version to establish their level of engagement; if they skipped that video, they were subsequently served a 15-second ‘snack’ version next time, and a 6-second bumper if they skipped that. Videos were released in pairs over a three-week cycle, with the campaign sequenced so that viewers were shown the ads in the correct order. Finally, at the end of the cycle, viewers could access the six-minute, ‘full meal’ version.

Targeting and remarketing to boost engagement

To reach their intended viewers, Stayhard used a combination of Similar, In-Market and Custom Affinity Audience targeting. “Audiences and target groups were easy to choose in Google Ads,” recalls van Reis. “Custom Affinity Audiences meant our initial push reached the right people at scale, which we could then filter based on engagement level. This was a critical factor for us.” In addition, the campaign also used Remarketing Audiences to build lists of engaged viewers who had watched the videos. “We chose to start out spending our budget in a burst,” continues van Reis, “and then gradually decreased our investment based on the remarketing audience size at each step in the campaign sequence.”

Strong branding never goes out of fashion

Stayhard’s primary success measure for the campaign was changes to key branding metrics. During the active period, the team recorded a 55% increase in site traffic year-on-year, with strong equivalent increases in brand-related measures like direct traffic and organic search. Engagement with the content was strong, with a view rate of 43% against a total impression count of nearly 2.8m, and with 34% of viewers watching the videos to completion.

The final film got a view through rate of 56% – a notable achievement for a film of six minutes in length. Perhaps most striking of all was the fact that the full six-minute film got a view-through rate of 56% Finally, while sales were a secondary goal for the campaign, data from Google Analytics showed a year-on-year increase of 18% in revenue for the month of the campaign launch, followed by a 13% uptick the following month.

For Stayhard, the campaign has yielded valuable lessons at every turn. “We’re going to aim for a similar strategy in our future productions,” Hultqvist says, “reaching for the right audience, engaging with those who show an interest, and not spending too much on people who skip our ads. We’ll also be focussing on our YouTube strategy as much as on our creative strategy, digging deeper into audience and target groups to ensure continued success.”

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