As part of its ongoing brand revitalization and efforts to endear itself to Gen Z, retailer Claire’s is centering the voices of these consumers in a new video series.
The social media series, titled “Dear Claire,” revolves around candid, thoughtful discussions among a group of 12 young people who reflect on themes including self-love, cultural identity and mental health across five episodes.
In the first episode, released on Friday, four young people speak about the importance of friendship and community, with one sharing past struggles finding close friends and another describing the isolation she felt during her freshman year as a Black student at a predominantly white college.
Rather than set the discussion topics for the cast members, or limit them to talking about Claire’s and its accessory and beauty products, the brand effectively turned creative control of the series over to the talent themselves, said Kristin Patrick, EVP and chief marketing officer at Claire’s. Though Patrick and her team selected the co-hosts—creators and actresses Zolee Griggs and Ava Michelle Cota—the cast members themselves determined the discussion topics and steered the flow of each conversation, Patrick said.
“Gen Z is a really special generation. They are super entrepreneurial, they're very creative and they really care about what’s happening in the world,” Patrick told Ad Age. “And unlike past generations, they really want to share their experiences … So, we started to think, ‘What if we took this megaphone that is Claire’s, turned it over to our consumers, and used it to amplify their voices and tell us what’s important to them?’”
The “Dear Claire” series also reflects a broader effort from Claire’s to transform its in-house production studio, CMedia, into a full-fledged media network, Patrick said. Since launching CMedia as its “content arm” last year, Claire’s has leveraged the production studio to create its “C.Studio” makeover series—and now, “Dear Claire.”
Claire’s effectively has a built-in audience for these series through the 16 million members of the brand’s loyalty program, Patrick said. The brand intends to continue targeting those “captive eyeballs” with similar video content honing in on Gen Z interests and values, she added.
“In some ways, it’s like we have our own TV network because of those 16 million loyalty program members,” Patrick said. “For us, it’s about figuring out, along with the consumer, how we can play a role in their lives beyond just our products.”
With “Dear Claire,” for example, “we gave Gen Z the stage—but what I’m finding is they’ve given us a voice and a view into their lives,” she added.
The remaining four episodes of “Dear Claire” will air weekly across Claire’s TikTok, Instagram and YouTube.