Reformation's Monica Lewinsky Campaign Reflects Power, Purpose and Promise

The brand featured the former White House intern-turned-activist in this year's voter advocacy campaign, 'You've Got The Power'

Inspiration meets innovation at Brandweek, the ultimate marketing experience. Join industry luminaries, rising talent and strategic experts in Phoenix, Arizona this September 23–26 to assess challenges, develop solutions and create new pathways for growth. Register early to save.

‘Conscious consumerism,’ the commitment to making purchasing decisions based on social, economic and environmental impact, is on the rise. 63% of Gen Z say they will only purchase brands that stand with them on issues, and 90% expect brands to be involved in causes that improve the world. Gen Z is the fastest-growing and most racially diverse generation and is expected to account for 40% of consumers. They choose brands that authentically reflect their identities and align with their values.

That’s why brand purpose needs to be embedded at the foundation of all brands’ ethos and in their advertising. It goes beyond the products and services offered; it is a reflection of what a brand stands for and its impact on the world.

One brand that has consistently incorporated its values and ethos into its campaigns is Reformation, an eco-friendly women’s apparel brand known for its commitment to sustainability, philanthropy and social impact, all of which are at the core of its DNA.

Most recently, the brand featured former White House intern-turned-activist Monica Lewinsky for its “You Got The Power” workwear campaign. Reformation also partnered with for the collection and created a user guide to promote voter registration. It will donate a portion of the proceeds from the collection to the organization.

The goal behind the campaign is to remind people that they have the power and need to vote this year. This is the third election in which Reformation has launched a voting advocacy project to encourage customers to vote.

Let’s look closer at how Reformation stayed true to its purpose-driven brand with a campaign that simultaneously empowers women and elevates the importance of voting.

Empowering women

Over the last decade, Lewinsky’s activism and advocacy for anti-bullying and women’s rights have made her a role model for many Gen X and millennial women, a core consumer group of Reformation, in addition to Gen Z. In this campaign, Lewinsky can be seen wearing a collection of strong silhouettes and suits and reminds people that they’ve “got the power.”

Through this campaign, Reformation introduced Lewinsky to a socially conscious Gen Z and leveraged her influence to send a powerful message about the intersectionality of women and politics.

Building a purpose-driven brand and campaign

Reformation’s partnership with Lewinsky emphasizes the importance of brands embedding a purpose into the foundation of their ethos. By doing so, brands can build a deeper connection with consumers, create trust and build loyalty along the way.

One of the elements of Reformation’s campaign that stands out is its tangible impact. By donating proceeds from the “You’ve Got The Power” sweatshirt to, Reformation walks the walk and turns its words into action.

Why brand purpose matters

Reformation’s collaboration with Lewinsky is just one example of how purpose-driven branding can drive business success and also have a positive impact on society. A key component to accomplishing that is authenticity, which is especially essential when trying to appeal to Gen Z consumers. Brands with a clearly defined brand purpose will find that it’s not just a good thing to have, but it is also good for business.

For Reformation, sustainability is at the core of what the brand does, as seen in its Climate Positive roadmap released in 2021. From its commitment to being fully climate-positive (removing additional carbon dioxide from the atmosphere) by 2025 to launching its textile-to-textile recycling program, RefRecyling, Reformation regularly updates its commitments to environmental impact.

The brand also has a partnership with online consignment and thrift store ThredUp, offering an Upcycle Kit for customers to send their old clothes from any brand for a shopping credit. Initiatives like this provide conscious consumers the opportunity to recycle and shop with a brand dedicated to minimizing its environmental footprint.

According to ThredUp’s Impact Report, 61% of Gen Z consumers look for secondhand items before buying them. More than 50% say they’re more likely to purchase from a brand that offers secondhand merchandise alongside new. ThredUp’s Resale Report states that the global secondhand market is expected to double by 2027 and reach $350 billion.

Lessons for marketers

Reformation’s “You Got The Power” campaign serves as an example of purpose-driven advertising done right. It has captured consumers’ attention, empowered women, elevated the importance of voting and put brand values into action for all to see.

Here are a few things for marketers and brands to consider and ask themselves when building out their campaigns and brand purpose:

  • Authenticity is key. Is supporting this purpose a way of bringing brand values to life?
  • How can the brand support the consumer?
  • What are other ways to bring these purpose-led initiatives to life? And does it make sense for the consumers or will it alienate them?

Even with the ever-evolving landscape of consumer expectations, marketers need to remember that brands can be agents of change. How does your brand embed brand purpose into its ethos?