Industry / Marketing

Awe Inspired’s New Ad Campaign Asks Customers to Live in Awe


In an alluring new campaign they describe as “community marketing,” Awe Inspired founders Jill and Max Johnson are trying to cut through the digital clutter with emotive images that ask consumers what makes them feel awe.

This is the Los Angeles–based brand’s first formal ad campaign, says Max Johnson, and Awe Inspired aims for community building—to gain new customers and connect people with its jewelry. Billboards and print ads ask, “What leaves you in awe?” In-store events are also part of the program, Johnson says.

“In a lot of jewelry campaigns, women are stoic and posed. They are made to look demure,” he says. “In our ‘live in awe’ campaign, we wanted to create a contrast. When you look at our Melrose Avenue billboard, the woman has an expressive pose and look. We wanted to be provocative and ask, ‘What leaves you in awe?’ because we believe jewelry can be deeply meaningful.”

Awe Inspired billboard
Awe Inspired is asking “What leaves you in awe?” on billboards, such as this one located by its Melrose Avenue store in L.A.

The advertising, which started in August and will continue through fall, focuses on Awe Inspired’s popular Goddess collection of necklaces depicting mythological goddesses and historical women. These real-life goddesses, as Max Johnson calls them, include Florence Nightingale, Frida Kahlo, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

“The campaign lets us speak to this cultural obsession with trending aesthetics, whether it is fairycore or cottagecore,” Max Johnson says. “We see the ‘goddess era’ as empowering in a woman’s life. It is about her taking agency and living life on her own terms. It is about unleashing her potential and living in your empowered truth in the everyday.”

“It’s about being free,” adds Jill Johnson, the company’s cofounder and Max’s mother. “I’ve worked in jewelry for my entire career, and we focus so much as an industry on bridal. We wanted to focus our brand on women buying jewelry for themselves. We spend thousands on shoes or handbags that we select. But jewelry was supposed to be gifted to us.”

Awe Inspired campaign
For its new ad campaign, Awe Inspired chose images of women looking optimistic, as brand cofounders Max and Jill Johnson hope to inspire customers to embrace their personal power and inner goddess. 

By adorning themselves with powerful symbols, like RBG, Athena, or Aphrodite, women show their own power at an important time in political history, according to Max and Jill Johnson. As next year’s presidential election approaches, women will need to be active in politics and elevate their collective voices—and finding their personal power can be key to that, the Johnsons say. Awe Inspired wants to be a part of those discussions, Max Johnson says.

The company on Sept. 13 will unveil an “awe” billboard near its Melrose Avenue store in Los Angeles. It is scheduling in-store events to help women find community and engage in conversations around topics that are meaningful to them, and also updating its website to offer more online discussion space.

“That’s our community piece—we want to build a space online and in-store,” Max Johnson says. “We’ll have full programming in-store, including wellness days, meditation, sound baths, and more. It’s about getting women together and becoming a spiritual hub.… We want women to live in awe, not in pessimism.”

Top: The family-owned jewelry company Awe Inspired recently debuted its first formal brand campaign: billboards, print ads, and in-store events that seek to inspire women to live in awe. (Photos courtesy of Awe Inspired)

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Karen Dybis

By: Karen Dybis

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