Unme Jeans: Branding in Web 2.0

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THOMAS STEENBURGH JILL AVERY

UnME Jeans: Branding in Web 2.0
Anyone . . . trying to make sense of the evolving Internet, might thus want to tread carefully. The Web trend you hop on early may be the next big thing. Or you may wake up one day to find yourself wearing the Internet equivalent of bell-bottoms and paisley shirts. — Lee Gomes, Wall Street Journal1 Brand manager of UnME Jeans, Margaret Foley, left the meeting with her advertising agency. Her head was filled with the new lingo of Web 2.0: P2P, blogs, wikis, Twitter, avatars, tag clouds, widgets, RSS, podcasts, mashups, long tails, and convergence. It was enough to make her head spin! Since her trip to the up-fronts—the kick-off event of the advertising buying season during which billions of television advertising media were sold—Foley had been struggling to justify the money she was spending to advertise her brand in traditional media outlets. Foley was amazed to hear that the prices to purchase television advertising were increasing year over year, despite declining television audiences, increased advertising clutter, and consumers’ desire and ability to skip or delete television ads. As a result of her trip, Foley had asked her advertising agency to investigate some of the emerging Web 2.0 social media options to explore if they could better help her achieve her advertising objectives. The agency had come back with a smorgasbord of social media options for her to consider. Foley knew her biggest challenge would be cutting through all of the hype surrounding Web 2.0 and analyzing its potential for her brand from a media perspective. Were any of these emerging social media channels appropriate for her brand and what were the benefits and risks of each? How could they substitute for or complement her existing media plan? What kind of results could she expect from Web 2.0? Communicating her brand story was certainly getting much more complicated in the ever-changing media environment.

UnME Jeans
UnME Jeans was one of the most successful up-and-coming players in the junior denim market. UnME, whose letters stood for “you and me,” was a brand that was designed to encourage women to forge their own unique identities and to promote tolerance and appreciation for differences of opinions and tastes. The UnME brand story revolved around celebrating the individuality of teenage girls and encouraging teens to speak out against peer pressure and conformity. The UnME product line included fashion-forward jeans that teenage girls coveted for their highly decorated designs featuring glitter, jewels, and metalwork. UnME jeans were available in upscale department stores ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Professors Thomas Steenburgh of Harvard Business School and Jill Avery of Simmons School of Management prepared this case. The company mentioned in the case is fictional. HBS cases are developed solely as the basis for class discussion. Cases are not intended to serve as endorsements, sources of primary data, or illustrations of effective or ineffective management. Copyright © 2008, 2011 President and Fellows of Harvard College. To order copies or request permission to reproduce materials, call 1-800-5457685, write Harvard Business School Publishing, Boston, MA 02163, or go to www.hbsp.harvard.edu/educators. This publication may not be digitized, photocopied, or otherwise reproduced, posted, or transmitted, without the permission of Harvard Business School.

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UnME Jeans: Branding in Web 2.0

and specialty retailers across the United States and sold at a slight price premium to comparable brands. Girls who wore UnME jeans tended to be social and taste leaders in their schools and communities and valued the brand for its unique products, which were produced in small lot sizes, making each jean style a limited edition. The UnME brand story was delivered to target consumers via...
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