H&M hands mic to Pete Davidson in ads courting male shoppers

    • H&M has enlisted Pete Davidson for a global campaign that seeks to broaden its appeal with male shoppers, per details shared in an email with Marketing Dive.
    • “Wear that feeling” was developed with agency B-Reel and depicts Davidson in quirky situations that call attention to his personal style. In one ad, the comedian and “Saturday Night Live” main cast member is walking down the street with a friend and mistakenly believes his companion is repeatedly complimenting his shirt. In reality, a vintage car on the side of the road has a parrot in the passenger’s seat squawking the line, “Nice shirt!” creating a communication breakdown.
    • The effort started running across TV, online video social media channels on April 28 and includes in-store marketing materials. H&M said the concept isn’t tied to a seasonal collection but is instead meant to grow overall market share with men.

    On top of his comedy chops, Pete Davidson has cultivated a reputation online for his unique personal taste. The heavily-inked comedian frequently sports outfits with clashing patterns, loud colors and plenty of accessories in an aesthetic that fashion blogs have termed “scumbro,” attempting to encapsulate a look that is both unkempt and specifically punky. H&M hopes the celebrity’s devil-may-care approach to styling could spur more male shoppers to visit its stores and feel a boost in throwing on what they’re most comfortable wearing.

    The fast-fashion retailer said its latest campaign was inspired by the insight that men often feel more confident after trying on a new piece of clothing. However, the majority of the group doesn’t take inspiration from traditional fashion promotions like runway shows, but instead rely on cultural touchstones like movies and music for inspiration. In that respect, tapping Davidson for ads could be a savvy play, and H&M is indicating the work will have longer legs in not tying into a specific seasonal collection.

    The comedian has seen his star rise in recent years thanks to a main cast member spot on SNL and appearances in feature films. He’s also currently dating Kim Kardashian, an arbiter of today’s fashion and social media trends. The couple made their red carpet debut over the weekend, a buzzy event that could further bolster interest in the launch of the H&M’s campaign.

    A fresh marketing play comes as brick-and-mortar businesses land on steadier footing after a brutal few years of off-and-on pandemic closures. As people step out more and the weather warms, some may be reassessing their closets as well, with a focus on comfort over formality. In the “Wear that feeling” spot, Davidson dons a flowy Hawaiian shirt and lavender sweatpants.

    H&M ramping up a consumer-facing play targeted at men arrives amid disruptions to its global operations. The war in Ukraine and surging COVID-19 cases in China, two major markets, have impacted sales. The Swedish company missed Wall Street’s earnings estimates in the first quarter.


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