L.e.i. hosts model contest to 'inspire' teen fans

NEW YORK: L.e.i., a Jones Apparel Group brand sold exclusively at Wal-Mart, launched a corporate branding initiative targeting its teen audience through a model contest and partnership with 'Teen Vogue.'

NEW YORK: L.e.i., a Jones Apparel Group brand sold exclusively at Wal-Mart, launched a corporate branding initiative targeting its teen audience through a model contest and partnership with Teen Vogue. Working with Harrison & Shriftman and Attention PR, the company will promote the initiative, called “L.e.i. Model Citizen Campaign,” through social media and PR. The campaign also includes a national ad component.

Debbie Woloshin, SVP of marketing for L.e.i., explained that the company initially tried to come up with a strategy that could top the brand's successful association with Taylor Swift.

“What she's done is inspire a generation to sort of aspire to be clean-cut and philanthropic,” she said. “Our platform is life, energy, and intelligence, and we want to really show it. We're looking at this [new campaign] as a natural fit for the brand.”

Working with Teen Vogue, the team launched a 23-day-long contest on February 1, tasking 15- to 21-year-olds to upload videos at microsite leimodelcitizen.com for the chance to be featured in its spring ad campaign. Consumers will be able to vote for their favorite videos, but three winners will be chosen by a panel of celebrity judges, including designer Rachel Roy and model Chanel Iman.

“It was a logical extension," Woloshin said of the partnership. "They have the opportunity to reach this audience in an aspirational and positive way.”

The team will promote the effort at casting events in New York, Los Angeles, and Miami, where it will also encourage young girls to donate jeans to charity Fashion Delivers. For every repost of a call to action on Facebook and Twitter, L.e.i. will make a donation to benefit the charity.

Woloshin also implied that the group is hoping for surprise celebrity appearances at the events.

To further promote the effort, the brand will host a live video Q&A session with model Chanel Iman on a Facebook page devoted to the campaign, as well as updates and judges comments on Twitter and Facebook.

“Social media, in conjunction with the PR, is a huge part of this,” said Woloshin. “We're giving the consumer lots of vehicles to motivate other girls.”

The team kicked of the campaign with media outreach to outlets like WWD, as well as consumer fashion publications, blogs, and regional press around the events.

An ad campaign is promoting the contest, and a spring campaign will feature the winning models.

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