Archive | August, 2011

Dunhill Voice campaign comes to life with Aurasma partnership

31 Aug

Alfred Dunhill has launched an augmented reality experience around its autumn/winter 2011/12 “Voice” campaign, starring expedition leader Sir Ranulph Fiennes.

Using Aurasma’s advanced image recognition technology, the initiative allows consumers to hold up their smartphone or tablet (using the Aurasma lite app) to bring Sir Ranulph to life.

Other stars telling their story include ballet dancer Rupert Pennefather and theatre director Michael Grandage.

From each video, users can also link to Dunhill retail to shop the collection.

Check out a demo of the AR experience in action, below:


Infographic: L2 Digital IQ Index, specialty retail

30 Aug

I love this summary on how to navigate the future of specialty retail online:

Part of the second annual L2 Digital IQ Index: Specialty Retail report from digital think tank L2 in partnership with Buddy Media, it shows the past, present and future of everything from distribution channels to mobile strategy and visual merchandising.

So how far off from “tomorrow” are we – a vision made up of mobile wallets, geolocal content, video chat customer service and shoppable product videos?

None of those suggestions are of course that new, but by the looks of the results from the L2 study, they remain somewhat elusive to everyday practice in US retail.

Just three retailers secured “genius” status in terms of digital competency in the 2011 report – Macy’s, Victoria’s Secret and Nordstrom – compared with seven last year.

This is said to be due to mobile and social platforms taking on new levels of importance in 2011, which resulted in the likes of A|X Armani Exchange (down 32%) and Coach (down 33%) only achieving “gifted” scores.

In fact, of the 64 retailers assessed, the majority (70%) sit in “gifted” or “average”. This figure is however up from 49% from the inaugural study in 2010, proving the industry’s adoption of digital platforms is accelerating.

The retailers were evaluated across four dimensions: their website (including integration of original blog content, ease of content sharing, and interactivity); digital marketing (covering search engine optimisation, email marketing, and user generated sentiment); social media (Facebook, Twitter and YouTube); and mobile offering (defined by breadth of platform development and app features). Retailers had to score 140 across the categories to score genius.

Joining A|X Armani Exchange and Coach in the gifted category (a score of between 110 and 139) are the likes of Bloomingdales, Urban Outfitters, Net-a-Porter, Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue and Ralph Lauren.

Average brands (a score of between 90 and 109) include Barneys New York, Ann Taylor, J. Crew and Lord & Taylor, while those challenged (a score of between 70 and 89) include French Connection and Lucky Brand. The only two with feeble rankings (below 70) are Club Monaco and Tourneau because they are yet to offer e-commerce.

“Historically, specialty retailers have differentiated themselves from low-cost peers by establishing an aspirational environment, edited selection, and top-shelf service, all mixed with traditional media spend. The offline strategy is still the right one, but the tactics and weapons have changed,” said L2 founder Scott Galloway.

“Brands that are thriving are engaging in conversations directly with their customers on social media platforms, creating new and interesting ways to purchase online, and building innovative mobile apps to augment the shopping experience.”

Check out the full report, here.

Digital snippets: Debenhams, Harrods,, Target, Vanessa Bruno, J Crew

29 Aug

Some more great stories from around the web surrounding all things fashion and digital over the past week:

  • Debenhams rewards engagement with Facebook credits [New Media Age]
  • Target takes control of its e-commerce [WWD]
  • Behind-the-scenes on Vanessa Bruno’s new campaign starring Kate Bosworth []
  • See Alexa Chung’s second Madewell collection: video [The Cut]

Uniqlo’s “Have you seen our sheep?”

26 Aug

Uniqlo UK is set to run an interactive competition based on the idea of a missing sheep to celebrate the launch of its 100% Merino sweater campaign.

“A sheep from our flock has gone astray and is gallivanting around London, sending regular tweets that he may venture further afield if the weather’s nice; teasing the remaining flock with pictures of his ventures!,” reads the write-up.

Every morning for two weeks from September 1, consumers will be privy to pictures via Twitter of that stray sheep sighted out and about in London and select other spots around the country.

The mission is to track down the location, take a photo of yourself at the same spot and tweet it back to the brand with the hashtag #haveyouseenoursheep. The most creative are in with a chance of winning a free 100% Merino sweater of their choice.

Be sure to follow the brand on Twitter to participate in the search, as well as visit its Facebook and Tumblr pages for the latest updates.

Topshop targets students with SCVNGR initiative

25 Aug

Topshop is partnering with SCVNGR for a fun digital campaign aimed at students returning to college and university.

From September 5 to November 23, students within a 500m radius of a Topshop store (in the UK and Ireland) can engage with the SCVNGR app on their smartphones to complete fashion-themed challenges that earn them rewards and exclusive offers.

The challenges include snapping a photo of your favourite back to college outfit, or saying which items you think best represent the brand’s trends.

The game works on a points system; players choose the reward they want – from a 20% discount in-store to entry into a competition to win a £500 shopping spree – and then do the challenges needed to accumulate that number of points. To claim rewards, participants will need to take their phone in-store along with their student ID.

Mary Homer, managing director of Topshop, said: “We’re always looking for new and innovative ways to engage our customers. Following the popularity of SCVNGR in the US we wanted to offer our student customers the ability to interact with our brand, on and off-line in a more fun and engaging way.”

The initiative will launch in two phases, the first from September 5 – October 5, and the second, with different challenges and rewards, on October 6.

Also coming this autumn from Topshop is a new iPhone and iPad app, an m-commerce site and a Tumblr blog.

Glee cast back Fashion’s Night Out

24 Aug

Here’s the full-length video of the Glee cast covering David Bowie’s hit song Fashion, in promotion of this year’s Fashion’s Night Out:

Digital snippets: Diane von Furstenberg, Kate Moss, Kenneth Cole, Burberry Body, Harrods, Google

23 Aug

Some more great stories from around the web surrounding all things fashion and digital over the past week:


  • Diane von Furstenberg releases autumn/winter 2011/12 campaign video, Journey of the Dress (as above) [The Cut]
  • See behind-the-scenes on Kate Moss and Terry Richardson’s forthcoming TV campaign for Mango [YouTube]
  • Kenneth Cole courts controversy with new website calling for consumer opinion on abortion, gun control and gay rights [Mashable]
  • Burberry Body fragrance launches with sampling drive via Facebook []
  • Harrods to launch online magazine and new mobile site [Retail Week]
  • Google unveils catalogue iPad app with initial 50 brands [Refinery29]


Fashion communications should be based on selling ideas not products

22 Aug

I wrote this blogpost after returning from Cannes Lions this year – it was recently published on the all-new Huffington Post UK

There’s no escaping the overwhelming association with luxury in Cannes. Star-studded hotels sit next to boutiques from every designer name you can imagine: Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Gucci, Prada. Balenciaga too, Céline coming soon.

But head inside the Palais des Festivals in June for the world’s most famous advertising festival, Cannes Lions, and there’s barely a whisper of the fashion industry at all. In a celebration of the best in campaigns from around the globe, some of the most creative brands existing, are distinctly absent.

The obvious answer is budget. Traditionally, fashion not only doesn’t do big scale advertising (TV), but doesn’t, of course, work with ad agencies. Who needs a creative director from Madison Avenue, when you have one in Karl Lagerfeld, Marc Jacobs or Christopher Bailey in-house?

Print has always been their home. Seasonal campaigns that tie in with seasonal collections. Bold concepts whittled down to a beautiful aesthetic portrayed through a couple of models and an exotic set. Glossy magazines as premium placement, the odd outdoor billboard and the glittering flagship store.

But advertising has changed. Consumers have changed.

Cannes Lions rebranded for 2011 from the prosaic International Advertising Festival to the International Festival of Creativity, to reflect that. Advertising, once clear-cut in definition, can now encompass anything from an experience to new technology, from the use of social media to an event. More often than not, it’s all those things together.

Proof lies in this year’s winners. Yes, Nike’s epic Write the Future spot took the film grand prix, but it was the likes of Decode Jay-Z with Bing, which had no TV attached to it, that cleaned up.

Taking Jay-Z’s new autobiography and leaking it page by page – printing it in inventive spaces such as the bottom of a swimming pool and a vintage Cadillac Seville car – it then released a series of clues online for a month as to each page’s whereabouts, a ruse which saw fans scrabbling to find them in a Bing-enabled scavenger hunt.

It’s in this integrated realm fashion could do well. On a smaller scale, early adopters are already proving such; taking their glossy seasonal campaigns and using them to spark conversation around the brand both on and offline.

“Content” is the new buzzword, with behind-the-scenes footage, viral teasers and fully fledged online films becoming popular formats.

Prada’s spring/summer 2011 effort for instance, won the top spot on The Business of Fashion’s list of fashion films for the season for its “infectious charm and masterfully executed quick edits”. It also worked wonderfully in the interactive banner space, and translated equally well to print.

Meanwhile, for autumn/winter 2011/12, Mulberry brought its campaign stills by Tim Walker to life in a film created retrospectively through the use of numerous CGI techniques.

And Chanel, one of the masters of the teaser spot, even launched a full 30-minute piece around its cruise collection in May called The Tale of a Fairy.

Then there are the more creative integrations – the cunning of a previous Calvin Klein Jeans billboard inviting us to unlock its censored ads through a QR code; or Burberry’s experiential videos allowing viewers to rotate, pause and change perspective through the use of motion-responsive technology.

But, regardless of such clever executions, the basis for each is still (in the main) that print imagery. Fashion communications remain about print ads selling product over campaigns selling ideas. And that is what needs to change.

Sir John Hegarty, worldwide creative director at advertising agency BBH, told a brimming auditorium at Cannes Lions the future is about doing something different. In a telling demonstration he ran a series of beauty industry ads. With their taglines removed, it was almost impossible to tell which was which.

The same could be said for fashion. By the time you’ve seen the collection, heard about the designer’s inspirations and remembered which photographer they’ll use, you can almost even predict the look of the ads before they’re released.

Hegarty referred to this homogenisation as “windtunnel marketing”, and called for a change in approach.

Denim labels, in that case, offers a lot to be learnt from. Ditching the idea of seasonal ads, Diesel launched its Be Stupid campaign in 2010. Based on taking risk, being spontaneous and saying yes, it’s a philosophy spawned from president and founder Renzo Rosso’s experiences in first launching the brand. It won the outdoor grand prix in Cannes last year.

The tagline has remained since, but the ads – often somewhat risqué themselves – are frequently updated: new models, new product, new multimedia executions.

The same can be seen with Go Forth, the long-term campaign from Levi’s, and the brand’s first global creative platform in its 138-year history. Based on a rally cry for positive change in the world, the latest instalment includes a 60-second film called Levi’s Legacy that was unveiled last week (though has been postponed in the UK following riots across the country).

This kind of big thinking for an apparel brand not only makes a campaign more relevant to different hemispheres when launched internationally, but ties in well with the fact collections are becoming increasingly transseasonal.

Accordingly, while the Cannes Lions rebranding might have taken the focus off traditional formats, it doesn’t rid us of the fact that overarching ideas are what advertising remains about, especially in the new digital age, where execution can overshadow concept.

Fashion therefore – an industry with creativity at its very core – needs to shake off its seasonal collection focus and start thinking instead about campaigns built around big ideas.

A good starting point for inspiration, you could say, is Cannes Lions.

Digital snippets: New Balance, Levi’s, David Yurman, Wrangler, Shiseido

13 Aug

Some more great stories from around the web surrounding all things fashion and digital this week:


  • New Balance’s augmented reality campaign (as above) invites New York runners to find virtual batons [Mashable]
  • Levi’s postpones UK portion of new Go Forth campaign following riots [AdAge]
  • David Yurman uses Foursquare to push Summer in the City collection [Luxury Daily]
  • Gilt Groupe unveils its men’s e-commerce site Park & Bond [Forbes], debuts with virtual fitting tool [Just-Style]
  • Shiseido launches e-commerce site in US market [PR Newswire]
  • Stores begin offering electronic versions of receipts [NY Times]
  • Luxury-goods investor Carmen Busquets invests in social networking design business []

I’m now away for another 10 days, so there won’t be any posts for a while. Expect a mega digital snippets update on my return!

Dr Martens commits to digital with #firstandforever campaign

12 Aug

Dr Martens today unveiled a short film starring models Agyness Deyn and Ash Stymest as part of the brand’s new First and Forever campaign.

The spot, which features Deyn talking about her first heartbreak, aims to kickstart discussion in the social space about other ‘firsts’ – from first gigs to first loves, or in the case of those bloggers invited to the launch this afternoon, first fashion shows. Ultimately the intention is to push conversation around that first pair of Dr Martens.

Accordingly, it confirms the brand’s commitment to digital marketing.

Simon Jobson, head of UK marketing, said: “We understand the digitally-connected consumer is increasingly ad savvy. They are editing out linear brand messages that are not relevant to their lifestyles… therefore a lot of our activity going forward is based on digital and social media attitudes.”

He said the #firstandforever campaign (heavily promoted with its own hashtag) was built on the insight that consumers have a lot of love and goodwill for the brand. “Everyone has a first moment or experience they want to talk to you about,” he explained. “That memory or brand equity stays with consumers for a long time.”

That insight was channeled into a campaign that although significantly driven by beautiful and traditional creative, centres on inviting the consumer to interact. The film itself therefore is purposefully short to encourage fans to head to the site and learn more.

Created by integrated agency ODD, the campaign ties in with the Dr Martens way of life by focusing on the ideas of “self-expression, creativity, irreverence and pushing back against the status quo”, said Jobson.

He referred to it as “unmistakenly Dr Martens and unashamedly British”.

Alongside the film created by duo FRED&NICK, the campaign also includes a series of images (as below) shot by Gavin Watson, a photographer revered for his portraits of British youth subculture.

It launches for autumn/winter 2011/12, and will run for 18 months through to autumn/winter 2012/13, with fresh creative each season.

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