Two years ago the jewelry retailer Claire’s saw an opportunity to go beyond traditional advertising when it launched its own production arm, Claire’s Content Studio. Since then, it has debuted multiple original projects, most recently, Dear Claire, a docu-style video series on TikTok and YouTube. Claire’s is now moving into podcasting to reach its young female consumers, teaming up with Audio Up Media to create scripted audio entertainment.
The partnership will kick off with two original audio entertainment concepts with opportunities for physical extensions across merchandise and publishing as well as cross-platform extensions tied to the original series. That leap from viewing to shopping is something Claire’s has already embraced: ShimmerVille – Claire’s completely original franchise and immersive digital world on Roblox now has physical products.
"Audio Up's proven thesis has long been that audio entertainment is the perfect IP incubator; allowing us to build bespoke entertainment franchises that flywheel from audio to TV, music, books and merchandise," said Jimmy Jellinek, Audio Up Chief Creative Officer. “With Claire's, we're partnering with a storied brand with tens of millions of fans, a massive digital presence and a robust brick and mortar business; allowing us to put our thesis successfully to work.”
Through Claire's Production Studio and original IP franchises, Claire's has been transforming into a content creator. As it targets Gen Z and Gen Alpha – or what it calls “Gen Zalpha” – Claire’s says it is looking for new ways to engage potential shoppers in new ways around the Claire's brand lifestyle that has become a fixture in malls around the globe. It sees podcasting as a way to build on the brand's extensive equity in self-expression and creativity, as well as its existing global audience and reach, by tapping into Audio Up's multi-platform outlets for original programming.
"For more than 60 years, Claire's has been a beloved brand and cultural trendsetter, inspiring self-expression in teens, tweens and young adults. As we continue to unleash our brand lifestyle, we see an opportunity to build on our power and equity through storytelling," said Kristin Patrick, Executive VP and Chief Marketing Officer of Claire's. "As purveyors of intellectual property across the products in our stores, original content, platforms and experiences, we are continuing to build on the love our Gen Zalpha consumers have for us as a powerful brand force in partnership with Audio Up."
The expansion into audio follows the brand’s recent announcement that its CMedia production studio had formed a collaboration with premier content creator Sony Pictures Television – Kids to create a new series for young people for the global marketplace. "In our ongoing dialogue with Gen Zalpha, they have told us they would love to see more content from us,” Patrick said.
For Audio Up, home to music-heavy podcasts such as The Ballad of Uncle Drank and Hip Hop Horror Stories, the connection with Claire’s will allow it to reach another segment of podcast listeners. It has earlier created branded content for companies including Nike, The Golden State Warriors, and Xfinity.