Asos' acid test: marketing to young men

Asos has its work cut out in its latest strategy, that of targeting young men.

Billie Joe Armstrong, singer/guitarist in Oakland veteran nu-punk band Green Day, was recently thrown off a Southwest Airlines flight when a cabin attendant decided his trousers were sagging too low.  Ah, the price of fashion.

No doubt his fans would have shared his indignation.  After all, for clothes-obsessed teenagers, musical heroes provide a ‘look’ as well as aural inspiration.

Ever since the Beatles were put into sharp suits and given mop tops, popular music has led the trends on the high street.

But can brand-owners hijack this process?  Online fashion retailer Asos is having a go.  Its new global advertising campaign is targeting young men. These guys don’t pore over fashion mags, so Asos and their agency BBH think they’ve found a new way to reach their audience.

Hand-picked dance talent in cities across the world will be filmed and shown on the web.  Of course, all the artistes will be kitted out in Asos gear.  If you like something, click on it to purchase.

See the ad here.

It sounds plausible enough.  But of course, as with any kind of fashion advertising, much of its power lies in the nuances of the executions.

The Asos ‘Urban Tour’ campaign is aiming for achingly hip street cred.

But isn’t there a paradox in making someone a clothes-horse for a single brand when nobody dresses tip to toe in one label?

OK, the youngsters may not have the classic chiselled features of professional male models, but models they will be. In the end, like the conventional campaigns it eschews, Asos asks for the suspension of disbelief.

None of this will matter if the clothes themselves look good enough and, vitally, get admiring glances from the purchaser’s peers.

That is the acid test: when your mates want to know where you got your gear.

Noelle McElhatton is editor of Marketing

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