Nike, Bra-less-ness, Gen Z's Undies: A Year Of Comfort And Ease

One example of brand activism: Nike takes a stand against racism.

Elasticity and convenience. Those are the words that jump out at me as I scan the list of my most-read Marketing Dailystories for 2020, including multiple mentions of brands that made moving through the difficult months more bearable, like Nike, Lululemon and Aerie. (Really, just about any casual clothing -- especially if was made with lots of stretch, cushioning and zero underwire -- got plenty of clicks.)

And so did pieces about retailers making the fastest inroads into Amazon's ecommerce turf, including Walmart and Target.

But as I try to analyze my Top 10 list, it seems there's more of a lesson in story dates than in headlines. I'd argue we could put some of these pieces in a time capsule so marketers can dig them up during the great pandemic of 2120 (we're on a 100-year cycle, right?)



Take No. 1, Adidas, Nike Pile On The Workout Freebies. It wasn't the story that caught people's eyes, I'll bet -- but the date, April 9. At that moment, when the impact of the pandemic was still so unclear -- Would advertising survive? Would marketers have jobs? -- most brand execs just wondered what they heck they should do. Nike, bless its "Just do it" thinking, led the way. It did plenty.

The second most-read story (and the most shared, overall), Gen Z's Favorite Social-Media Platform? None Of The Above, featured research from Kantar about the safest social space for these kids. (Spoiler: It’s inside their video games.) But the primary reason I suspect it resonated, along with a top-10 piece about Aerie, Gen Z's favorite underwear brand?

They ran on March 5 and 6,, respectively, when COVID was still just a nervous whisper blowing through American brands.

After that, the stories getting the most attention went right to the heart of why readers turn to MediaPost and other industry news sources: They need ideas. Brand tactics are changing, and marketers are determined to keep up. To me, these clicks are a good indication of how hard marketing execs everywhere are looking for lessons that might help their own companies.

Those include insights about fast ecommerce moves that companies like Walmart and Target made to stay on top, and how to avoid the stumbles of retailers like Macy's and JC Penney.

Readers also focused on the trends that consumers most cozied up to, like Lululemon and bra-less fashions.

Finally, as the Black Lives Matter movement's rapid spread blew up corporate perspectives on what purpose-driven marketing should look like, interest grew in brand activism. So among the top 10 was The North Face, REI, Patagonia Unfriend Facebook, which discussed the June ad boycott of Facebook. That boycott began for such reasons as Facebook['s “look[ing] the other way as inflammatory content spreads across their platforms,” in the words of one agency exec quoted in the story.<

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