In this marketing case study, we explore how H&M leveraged a range of celebrity influencers to promote its holiday line on social media. Through collaborations with prominent celebrity influencers, H&M produced four highly engaging video ads that showcased several of its newest holiday outfits to over 12M consumers. In the case study, we review H&M’s marketing approach, brand goals, results, and the factors that led to the campaign’s overall success.
H&M partnered with four celebrities:
Each of the celebrities posted a 10 second “teaser” clip as well as a full ~1 minute ad across Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. There were a total of 6 posts per influencer and 24 posts for the campaign. Each post included #hm as well as a link to the H&M website.
The teaser clips were pulled directly from the full ad and posted a couple of days before the full videos. This strategy helped generate buzz for the campaign. Additionally, by presenting the content in two different ways H&M was able to appeal to more viewers and increase the visibility of their campaign. Peyton List and Jana Kramer actually got more views and engagement on the short clip than the full video, indicating that in some cases the perfect short clip can be even more effective than longer-form content.
1. Choose the right influencers.
H&M chose its celebrity influencers wisely. Rather than spending the entire campaign budget on the largest celebrity influencer it could afford, H&M went with several lesser known celebrities with highly engaged and devoted social media followings. When it comes to influencer marketing, bigger is not always better, and H&M’s awareness of this paid off.
2. Allow influencers to create content their audience will love.
The sponsored videos were customized to align with each celebrity’s existing social media content. For example, Hannah Simone’s sponsored video was centered around her cat, Alphie, who is frequently featured on her social media pages. By creating content that was true to each celebrity’s interests and personality, H&M was able to maximize engagement.
To this point, the top comment on Tyler Posey’s Facebook post was, “Weird thing is this isn’t Tyler acting for an advertisement it’s actually just him being himself ?”. This comment received 1,562 likes, and is a testament to the authenticity of H&M’s campaign.
3. Think cross-social and leverage the audiences each influencer has available on their social networks.
Lastly, by exploiting all social media platforms available, H&M was able to fully maximize the reach of its campaign.
Typically, digital influencers are better at creating an intimate connection between audiences and brands due to their high engagement rates, while celebrities are more useful for raising brand awareness because they reach a mass market of consumers.
That said, the line between celebrities and influencers is blurring. With the growth of social media, many celebrities have become increasingly active online, and many social media influencers have grown followings comparable in size to those of celebrities
Because of this some lesser known celebrities, whose follower counts are substantial yet significantly smaller than those of major mainstream celebrities like Beyonce, can now match the excellent engagement rates we see with social media influencers.
H&M made an effort to choose celebrities that were big enough to be widely recognizable but small enough to have highly engaged followings. Actor Tyler Posey was by far the biggest success of the campaign. He has a very large Instagram following of around 4 million, but was still able to achieve 25% engagement on the platform.
In this humorous sponsored video, Tyler Posey rocks out too hard while getting dressed, causing a fashion emergency that sends him running to H&M. His posts were the most successful of the campaign, garnering an impressive 25% engagement rate on Instagram and a 14% engagement rate across Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
In Peyton List’s video, she models several bedazzled H&M outfits in front of her mirror before finally selecting her perfect last-minute holiday party outfit. This video performed very well, with an overall engagement rate of 9% across all platforms.
In this sponsored video, Jana Kramer and her adorable baby girl pose for their Christmas card in new H&M outfits. Her engagement rates were the lowest of the campaign at around 10% on Instagram and 3.5% across all platforms.
When Hannah Simone’s cat ruins her outfit in a kitchen accident, Hannah rushes to H&M and comes back looking more stylish than ever. Her videos earned 12% engagement on Instagram and 3.5% engagement across Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.