Khalid and Noah Cyrus are the new faces of Hollister Co.’s #CarpeNow campaign.
The global teen retail brand’s back-to-school promotion kicks off Friday with the slogan “Carpe the Fit Out of Denim.” The two emerging music stars will also be part of an anti-bullying initiative that begins in September, as well as Hollister’s holiday campaign that launches in October. “Silence” by Marshmello featuring Khalid and “Team” by Cyrus will be featured in the campaign.
“Khalid and Noah are highly relatable to our teen audience and both talk openly about their passion for acceptance and inclusivity, a focus that ties to Hollister’s value of celebrating the freedom to belong,” Hollister VP of marketing Michael Scheiner told Billboard. “Khalid and Noah bring strong followings and we see a lot of overlap among our combined fan base.” Hollister’s primary age demographic is 11-to-16, which overlaps with both Cyrus and Khalid’s young audiences.
Both Khalid, 20, and Cyrus, 18, grew up with Hollister clothing. “Every kid in my high school or middle school had a pair of Hollister jeans and Hollister flannel,” Khalid said. “My career has lit up so fast, unbelievable, and I was in high school two years ago, so what’s super cool is in that little small town that I’m from near Carthage, New York, there are going to be kids who probably know I lived there for a little bit of my life who are going to walk into Hollister and see my face and I hope that that inspires them.”
Cyrus’ memories are a little closer to home: “My brothers loved Hollister underwear,” she said, adding that she is a big fan of the company’s jeans. “Their jeans are the only ones that fit me. I had trouble getting jeans when I was growing up. I had little skinny legs and this booty that came out of nowhere. I said, ‘Just pay me in jeans.’”
Given that teens are digital natives, the campaign will live primarily online, as well as in Hollister’s 540 stores globally. “We look to connect with them whenever, wherever and however they choose to engage with our brand,” Scheiner said. “Our marketing efforts will predominantly be on Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, YouTube and Spotify. On our owned channels, the campaigns can be seen globally through video and through in-store marketing in our 500-plus stores. Content will also be shared on our website, email, our social channels and our Hollister app.”
Both Khalid and Cyrus are most enthusiastic about the anti-bullying campaign, for which Hollister will align with Sit With Us, an app that connects disenfranchised students with other kids to eat lunch together.
“I’ve definitely been a new kid and I’ve not necessarily been pushed to the side, but treated as if I’m of no importance because I was new. It was definitely hard for me not having a place to sit,” Khalid told Billboard.
Cyrus wasn’t physically bullied, but did get teased so much that she switched schools. “I had some shitty kids in school say some stuff to me about my family or my last name, so my father or brother would sit with me at school even though we only had 45 kids,” she says. “Lunchtime is hard when you don’t have a lot of friends.”
Details of the Sit With Us affiliation are still being firmed up, but Khalid says he believes part of it will include his performing an acoustic set for some high school students.
The best part of shooting the campaign for Cyrus was “I had to get all flirty with Khalid. I love him. He’s like a big, snuggly bear. I hopped in his lap,” she said. “It was so fun. I loved getting cuddles from Khalid.”
Khalid returned the compliment: “I really love Noah and I love how she’s not afraid to express herself in any terms. She’s so bright and so much fun.”
Hollister’s 2016 back-to-school campaign featured Echosmith, while Charlie Puth was the face of the 2017 program.