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Oh to be forever twenty-one

Here’s an object lesson in ‘knowing your audience’

Not sure if it’s me or whether, at this stage in my life (or should I say ‘my kids’ lives’), it just seems to be highlighted more. But recently my attention was drawn to a shop in Birmingham, allegedly the first of its brand in this country, called Forever 21. According to people between the ages of 13 and 21 – admittedly based on a small research group of about four teenagers – there is no shop in the world, let alone the UK, that is as great as this place.

Now I’ve stood outside this shop and, to me, it looks like an upmarket version of Primark combined with H&M, just with brighter lights, better point of sale and a Costa.

This may just start to sound like a grumpy old man complaining that he doesn’t look good in skinny jeans and a thin tie (and shirt) anymore. But it’s not (well, a bit maybe). On the contrary, it’s a ‘pat on the back’ for a retailer who, somehow, through their visual communications and point of sale experience, seems to have succeeded in creating some kind of unconditional loyalty amongst the people that, I am sure, it considers its target audience.

Apparently, the fact that it looks like an upmarket version of Primark combined with H&M, with brighter lights, better point of sale and a Costa is exactly what makes it ‘completely out there, man’.

Oh, also, the fact it has an American department store feel to it (? – whatever) and is spread across three floors, makes it the best shopping experience in the world. Not really sure how you can have a department store that just sells clothes, but, hey, that’s kids for you.

Anyway, I did point out to my daughter and (much to her embarrassment) her friend, that Waterstones has five floors and its own Costa and has lots of departments.

Not well received.

Let’s face it, I’ve never been in and never will, and I didn’t see anyone over 21 in there when I walked past.

Thing is though. If it’s called Forever 21, shouldn’t it really be for sad losers like me who’ve gone past that particular landmark in life but just can’t seem to let it go? Not for those who still can’t drink, drive, vote, go to college/university…