Forever 21: The John 3:16 Marketing Message

by pamelawright on August 26, 2011

Yesterday, I heard about how Forever 21 has been criticized for putting John 3:16 on some of its labels and on the bottom of its trademark yellow bags.  Forever 21 is a retail store that sells trendy fashions for women.  This  company started with a little 900 square foot store in Los Angeles, California and has  grown into an international chain of stores.

When I heard about Forever 21 being blasted by some in the clothing industry for putting John 3:16 on some of its products I thought, “Really?”  John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”  For some reason, I think there’s a green eyed monster at the root of this.

From a  marketing perspective, I really love what Forever 21 is doing!  When I was having this conversation about Forever 21 yesterday, I was talking to a friend.  I happened to be showing her how Forever 21 uses an opt-in box at the top of its website to get people to opt into  their newsletter.  This may seem like a simple thing but many traditional brick and mortar stores who’ve been around for a long time have not yet caught on to the need to do this.  Forever 21 gets the need to build deep connections with its customers.   

I am not surprised by the mega-success of this billion dollar company.  Forever 21 speaks the language of its customers really well.  They also stay connected with them on a consistent basis with an email newsletter.  And if that was not enough, they send their customers off with a message of hope on some of their clothing labels and on the bottom of their yellow trademark bags.  

In any industry as in life, there will be critics.  So, don’t let that surprise you and don’t focus on them.  Instead, focus on your mission and getting your message out to the world. 

Here’s 3 questions for you inspired by Forever 21:

  • Whose your target audience?
  • How do you build community with your customers regularly?
  • What’s your message of hope?

Let Forever 21 inspire you today!

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

denny hagel August 26, 2011 at 2:52 pm

To thine own self be true…I always rely on the wisdom of my beloved mother… as a child experiencing inner conflict she would say, “denny, as long as your heart is good with God, ignore man’s opinion!” Great article Pamela! Thanks for sharing:)


pamelawright August 26, 2011 at 6:46 pm

Denny, your mother is so wise. Thanks for sharing her wisdom! It’s interesting how the things in our childhood affect us as adults, parents, and business owners. Sometimes, we must learn to be true to thine own self in our personal life and in business when we didn’t learn this as a child. There are many businesses that would benefit from a strong brand and marketing message that is true to the spirit of the brand.


Olga Hermans August 26, 2011 at 10:26 pm

Pamela, I had never heard about Forever 21 since now; I love it when companies stand up for their brand and escpecially t oglorify God of course. That is whey they were/are attacked that much of course. Thanks for letting us know.


pamelawright August 27, 2011 at 8:23 am

Olga, I love when companies stand up for their brand too! Forever 21 was founded by a husband and wife. One report states that the John 3:16 message is a “demonstration of the the owners faith.”


Carol Giambri August 27, 2011 at 8:17 am

Pamela, thanks for sharing Forever 21 here; I think CO has one but not sure. Now I have to go to their website and get to one of their stores if local. They built their success on something others wish they had or knew about obviously.


pamelawright August 27, 2011 at 8:24 am

I agree with you, Carol. Have fun!


Solvita August 28, 2011 at 5:54 am

Thanks for sharing your thoughts, I agree with you…I think there should be more positive messages around us and Forever 21 is doing a good job :)


pamelawright August 28, 2011 at 6:52 pm

I agree, Solvita! We do need more positive messages around us!!


AJ August 28, 2011 at 1:30 pm

You know what they say about an opinion nobody asked for? It’s worthless, and that’s the way I feel about people always criticizing everything they don’t like or disagree with.
If the company wants to do this, go for it. Nobody is being forced to shop there. I respect people for taking a stand and making their own statement.
Great post!


pamelawright August 28, 2011 at 6:55 pm

AJ, you’re absolutely right!


Jennifer Bennett August 29, 2011 at 7:21 am

Great article Pamela! Love the questions to ponder!


pamelawright August 29, 2011 at 6:45 pm

Thanks, Jennifer!


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