Content brand of the week: Jack Wills, the student-friendly brand that knows it all

Screen Shot 2014-09-26 at 17.01.18Wait, Jack Wills is a brand? I thought it just happened to be the name of a lot of messy blonde-haired young people.

You’re actually half-right, Jack Wills is a self-styled ‘fabulously British’ clothing brand from Devon that has found enormous popularity within the student market.

But hang on, all of these products are extortionately expensive. This T-shirt is 45 quid. That was two nights out and a week’s food shopping when I was a student. How do the perpetually impoverished academic ingenues afford this?

Well Jack Wills isn’t popular with every student. In fact, it probably splits opinion more than 90% of brands, precisely because of the type of customer it has come to be associated with. People like this guy.

Oh, you mean the fiercely precocious, plum-voiced children of the upper-middle classes! Who could possibly have anything against them?

Well quite. Like ’em or loathe ’em, you can’t deny Jack Wills has nailed it in terms of amping up the aspirational nature of its brand. While the hefty price tag serves as a barrier to entry, (some) students are only too desperate to break through, even if it means living on supermarket ramen noodles for a month to afford it. The brand uses content to great effect to boost the desirability of its products yet further.

I’m not seeing how content could convince me to buy a £40 cushion.

Well, let’s start with the brand’s blog. It’s jam-packed with student-friendly stories on fashion and music, and, importantly in the eyes of keen content specialists like ourselves, it’s given a prominent position on the brand site’s main nav. That prominence means it feels like part of the shopping experience, rather than an afterthought. And of course, if you’re looking for a reason to buy, look no further than the brand’s product copy. It perfectly strikes the balance between luxury and pomposity, with loads of rich adjectives and the odd splash of colloquial language to hold interest. They’re so good we’ve actually written about Jack Will’s product descriptions before.

So far, no sofa (cushion). I’m still not convinced.

What about video then? Doesn’t this sumptuous film make you want to join right in with those gorgeous, tousle-haired model types?

What on earth was that about?

Honestly, I have no idea. But you can’t deny it makes you want to skip through a summer meadow in a white cotton dress.

You’re right. I can’t.

Jack Wills also uses brand advocates to good effect. Its army of ‘seasonnaires’ are the envy of many university students. They’re given free clobber and sent to do amazingly fun-sounding things for free – all in return for preaching the gospel of Jack.

I’m sure an all expenses paid jaunt to the USA in your university summer holidays isn’t as fun as it sounds.

Yeah, right. So there’s all that great content, which lives largely on Jack Wills’ blog, site and content hosting accounts (like Vimeo or YouTube), but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. The brand’s social presence is off the charts, with Pinterest in particular used to great effect. One of the nice things we’ve notice lately with Pinterest is it gives a bit of a longer lifespan to collaborations and one-off projects. We didn’t see anything about this awesome Penguin Classics team-up because the sheer volume of posts in the last three weeks pushed it off the front page of the blog, but the pics to prove it happened are right there on Pinterest.

Screen Shot 2014-09-26 at 16.44.47


Ok I’m coming round, maybe £100 for this isn’t so bad – I mean just think how much use I’d get out of it on all those late-summer, meadow-running excursions I can go on.

Let me break it down for you one more time and see if you’re convinced. Jack Wills has a great wealth of regularly updated content, as well as strong core product copy and video assets. It uses brand ambassadors to get its message out, as well as creating content off the back of their experiences. And finally, its social accounts act to not just persuade you to buy but also reminds customers of the great things the brand has done in the past.

That’s it, I’m signing up for a degree in Equine Business Management. Now where do I apply for a student loan?

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Author: Tom Owen

A strategic storyteller and compelling content creator, awash with acuity and adept at alliteration. I work for Speak Media.

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