The late '90s were huge for Steve Madden in the advertising world. It's when the shoe designer debuted the famous "Big Head Girls" ads — giant heads, tiny waists, big feet — which went on to help define early-2000s fashion (they even influenced the Bratz dolls' bobble-headed look).
By then, Steve Madden was practically synonymous with teen culture, with placements running in magazines like Cosmo Girl, Seventeen and Teen People. The ads were discontinued in 2005, but now they're being brought back with the help of a new cast of stars more familiar to Gen Z including Normani, Sydney Sweeney and Jordan Alexander.
The latter, who's currently starring in the new Gossip Girl reboot, was transformed into a virtual 3D avatar as part of the new "Steve Maddenverse" campaign, which was produced by Elite World Group. She wears the brand's Maxima style (her character Julien on GG notably prefers chunky sneakers over flats and heels) while perched atop a bicycle.
"Partnering with Steve Madden has been an experience like no other," she says of her involvement in the campaign. "Going in for the scan was the craziest thing I've ever done. It was so futuristic... and it was absolutely pouring rain in New York that day so it felt even more intense. The real matrix experience."
Additional campaign components include digitized products, a virtual shoe try-on and V-commerce. Alexander and the rest of the cast will create content to showcase their favorite Steve Madden pieces, animated videos, customized messages and an AR filter that allows their followers to morph into their avatars.