Champion eyes young adults in new initiative

WINSTON-SALEM, NC: Consumer and media outreach is playing a key part as Champion executes a major PR effort in support of the sports apparel maker's largest marketing campaign in a decade.

WINSTON-SALEM, NC: Consumer and media outreach is playing a key part as Champion executes a major PR effort in support of the sports apparel maker's largest marketing campaign in a decade.

Claire Edgar, director of brand marketing at Champion, said the "How You Play" campaign is aimed at 20-somethings. It seeks to re-energize the brand with a younger generation by positioning it as clothing for "your life," not just the gym.

"It is the biggest marketing program we have done in 10 years," she explained. "That's across the board, including PR and advertising." Edgar wouldn't disclose the campaign's budget.

Champion believes it can accelerate the company's growth by engaging a younger consumer.

Realizing that its ad campaign wouldn't be enough to connect with that demographic, the company is relying on an online presence on social networks and word-of-mouth to "make it real to people," Edgar said.

To help "make it real," Champion will use its college campus-based brand ambassador program. Through the program, currently used on six campuses, student ambassadors wear Champion clothes, discuss the brand with fellow students, and hand out catalogues.

Champion is also partnering with MTV.com on its Christmas Style shopping guide. A number of its products will be featured in the guide along with a "write up about its limited edition Super Hood, a red pinstriped hooded sweatshirt," Edgar said.

The company is also using its Facebook group called Champion Fan Zone to generate interest. Champion will eventually increase its outreach to fashion bloggers.

"We've reached out to bloggers in the past, and it will certainly be more of a focus going for-ward as we target younger audiences and balance the style and performance message," Edgar explained.

Jennifer Leonard, product PR director at Champion's parent-company, Hanesbrands, is handling media outreach - targeting fashion, fitness, lifestyle, and influencer titles such as InStyle, Shape, Maxim, and Details.

Weber Shandwick, AOR for Hanesbrands, is providing support on media outreach efforts.

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