See How YouTube Stars Helped Teens Get Ready for Prom

Journeys and Converse shook up the high school tradition with this experiential event.

Attendees received a pair of Converse sneakers that they could personalize on site at the Converse By You station.
Attendees received a pair of Converse sneakers that they could personalize on site at the Converse By You station.
Photo: Trevor White

YouTube star LaurDIY, DJ Zuri Marley, beauty vlogger Hailie Barber, and dancers and choreographers Michael Le and Analisse Rodriguez were on hand to help the teens get ready for prom.YouTube star LaurDIY, DJ Zuri Marley, beauty vlogger Hailie Barber, and dancers and choreographers Michael Le and Analisse Rodriguez were on hand to help the teens get ready for prom.Photo: Trevor WhiteNEW YORK—Retailer Journeys and sneaker brand Converse want to help teens break out of the old-school prom traditions of tuxedos and corsages by trading in the high heels for a pair of Chucks.

For the second year in a row, Nashville-based marketing agency FlyteVu worked with the two companies to create the Off to Prom experiential event. “The goal of this activation for Journeys and our brand partner, Converse, was to participate in the prom conversation among teens in a useful and creative way,” explained Kari Irons, senior vice president of marketing at Journeys, a retail chain geared toward teens. “We wanted to get teens ready for prom and encourage them to think about how to flip outdated prom traditions and, of course, consider rocking Chuck Taylor All Stars with their prom outfits.”

The afternoon event took place at the YouTube offices in New York on March 22 and featured three rooms designed around the idea of prepping for prom. YouTube stars LaurDIY, beauty vlogger Hailie Barber, and dancers and choreographers Michael Le and Analisse Rodriguez were on hand to assist attendees. For example, Le and Rodriguez taught the teens dance moves in a disco ball-decorated room, while Barber and a local glam squad offered mini-makeovers, along with beauty and grooming tips.

Plus, attendees received a pair of Converse sneakers that they could personalize on site at the Converse By You station, with help from do-it-yourself specialist Lauren Riihimaki, a.k.a. LaurDIY.

Dancers and choreographers Michael Le and Analisse Rodriguez taught the teens the latest dance moves.Dancers and choreographers Michael Le and Analisse Rodriguez taught the teens the latest dance moves.Photo: Trevor White

Recruiting YouTube stars to participate in a teen-centric event seemed like a natural fit for Journeys. “We wanted to meet teens where they are, and these days—based on studies and data—YouTube is the preferred platform for that demographic, Irons said. “Knowing this, we thought there would be no better place for this activation than YouTube Space New York, which is a space generally not open to the public, so it offered an exclusive environment for the event…. We also wanted to give [attendees] access to their favorite YouTube stars in a personalized way. Rather than a classic meet-and-greet, they got to interact with these stars in a hands-on format, focused on key elements of prom.”

She explained that the stars were chosen based on several factors: “audience reach and demographics, a unique perspective on creative self-expression, and who would appreciate the opportunity to interact and engage teens on topics related to getting ready for prom. Lastly, influencers also had to be fans of Journeys and Converse, so the brand integration didn’t seemed forced or unrealistic.”

As for the unique venue, Jeremy Holley, partner of FlyteVu, said that YouTube “understood our needs for not only moving teens through the space but capturing content. Since the space is made for creative content capturing, each room was perfectly rigged and their inventory for creative needs lent itself to be an easy place to activate.”

Beauty vlogger Hailie Barber and a local glam squad offered mini-makeovers to attendees.Beauty vlogger Hailie Barber and a local glam squad offered mini-makeovers to attendees.Photo: Trevor White

The event, which was promoted through targeted social media posts and on the YouTube stars’ social channels, was free to attend via R.S.V.P.; attendees had to be high school students between the ages of 14 to 19. Portland, Oregon-based SEG Services handled fabrication and decor for the event.The event, which was promoted through targeted social media posts and on the YouTube stars’ social channels, was free to attend via R.S.V.P.; attendees had to be high school students between the ages of 14 to 19. Portland, Oregon-based SEG Services handled fabrication and decor for the event.Photo: Trevor WhiteLauren Riihimaki, known as LaurDIY, helped attendees customize their Converse kicks with iron-on patches, metallic studs, and colorful laces.Lauren Riihimaki, known as LaurDIY, helped attendees customize their Converse kicks with iron-on patches, metallic studs, and colorful laces.Photo: Michele Laufik/BizBashThe activation took place at the YouTube Space in New York, which is generally not open to the public.The activation took place at the YouTube Space in New York, which is generally not open to the public.Photo: Trevor White
Franco Vitella Catered Affairs served up “dragon popcorn” and popsicles were provided by Popbar.Franco Vitella Catered Affairs served up “dragon popcorn” and popsicles were provided by Popbar.Photo: Michele Laufik/Bizbash

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