Coach’s newest pop-up, Life Coach, celebrates the label’s roots in New York City with a series of immersive experiences that aims to “heighten your senses, stimulate your soul and wake up all the feels”.
The activation, which is running from June 12 through to June 17 in the Soho neighbourhood in NYC, which is where the brand was founded in 1941, invites guests to participate in tarot card readings, drawing, and playing carnival games.
Visitors enter the space via a neon storefront filled with psychic symbols and Coach visuals. Upon first entering the space visitors are asked to check in, and when reaching the first room, they are met with an entirely blank canvas on which they are encouraged to draw on.
The next room represents a typical Coney Island-type of fairground scene, including old-fashioned arcade games and photo props, as well as a boardwalk made from pieces salvaged from Coney Island after Hurricane Sandy.
In the third and final room, visitors can walk through a dark forest where they can find white tents that house tarot card readers.
Speaking to the New York Times, Carlos Becil, Coach’s chief marketing officer, said of the concept: “Whether you call it mindfulness, spirituality or self-help, seeking answers is the new pop culture.”
Activities that help consumers through their self-discovery include free sessions with mystics including tarot card readers Hoodwitch and astrologists Astrotwins. The event, which has no Coach product in sight, will keep its concept of self-discovery and elusiveness by introducing surprise guests and events throughout its programming until the pop-up’s last day.
The entire initiative ties to a broader theme we’re seeing in consumer retail, whereby the experience economy is evolving into the transformation economy – a state that is about driving self improvement and enhancement for consumers through brand activities, rather than mere moments meant to encourage dwell time or social sharing.
Snapchat has teamed up with accessories brand Coach to create a limited edition set of pin badges featuring the social media site’s “Snapcodes”.
These codes are scannable from the Snapchat app and provide access to an exclusive arcade game based on Coach’s festive campaign.
This is the first iteration of Snapcodes existing in a real world product. The pin itself has been given the Coach twist therefore, with the now well-known Snapchat ghost outline accompanied by either a unicorn, a dinosaur or a shark – each of which all feature in the brand’s holiday theme for 2017.
“The pins are all about creativity and individuality,” said Marni Schapiro, Snap’s director of retail. “They’re fun, playful and allow our community a way to Snap the virtual onto reality.”
To get their hands on one, customers have to take part in a quiz about their favourite of the three mascosts – either online or in one of the 20 Coach stores participating across the US.
The quiz will also appear on Snapchat itself in some of its ad products. Taking part then unlocks campaign-themed Snapchat filters.
Space travel has long been a source of inspiration to the fashion industry. When the space race between the Soviet Union and the US was underway in the 1960s, it influenced designers including Paco Rabanne, Courrèges and Pierre Cardin into all manner of both sculptural and streamlined looks.
High fashion houses since have regularly referenced everything and anything related to the galaxy, the fantasy of its contents and the way in which we could navigate it.
One giant leap to modern day and little has changed. This time around it’s the likes of Chanel and Gucci taking their cues directly from exploring our solar system and beyond.
Accessories brand Coach, meanwhile, recently unveiled a limited edition capsule collection of NASA-themed pieces, including handbags, purses and sweatshirts. Said creative director, Stuart Vevers, at the time: “The collection is very nostalgic. There’s something about the time of the space program that just gives this feeling of possibility. The space references, rockets, and planets are symbolic of a moment of ultimate American optimism and togetherness.”
In today’s political environment, that feeling of hope may be particularly sought after once more, but the renewed interest in space goes beyond just nostalgia. Head over to Forbes to read all about the space travel on the horizon fuelled by private companies, and what that means for designers in terms of potential branding opportunities as the spacesuit for Elon Musk’s SpaceX is revealed.
Coach is inviting shoppers to experience its latest runway show using virtual reality in ten Simon malls across the US.
The initiative, running in collaboration with IMG, will see VR headsets in select Coach stores providing full access to the show in stereoscopic sound from February 17.
“Coach and IMG didn’t want to venture into this unless the technology was at a point where watching a runway show online would give you a better experience than being there in the flesh,” Mark Shapiro, co-president of WME | IMG told BoF. He said virtual and augmented reality have been a priority for the company over the last year. “We’re bringing online audiences closer to fashion. And that’s something that I think is paramount for the industry going forward.”
The aim is to use the campaign to turn buzz around the show into actual sales. Certain stores will offer a free “Rexy” dinosaur bag charm with any $300 purchase, for instance, and the Roosevelt Field location will reportedly give away 75 “Rexy” editor’s envelopes holding tickets to a future New York Fashion Week show.
The VR experience will also be extended to a wider consumer base than those visiting physical locations, thanks to Facebook 360, YouTube and VR networks.
Coach follows in the footsteps of brands including Tommy Hilfiger, Rebecca Minkoff, Dior and Topshop, who have all used virtual reality in a bid to drive traffic into stores in the past. Usually that follows six months later as the line in question hit the shelves. This example is immediately following the runway, albeit still showing a future season (autumn/winter 2017).
The show itself (Coach 1941) took place in New York yesterday, streamed exclusively via Instagram Live, which has also been gaining traction this season.
The holiday season has become a big opportunity for retailers and brands to create a deeper emotional connection with their customers at a pivotal time of year for spend. 2016 continues much in the same way, powered by big launches including a message of female empowerment from M&S with Mrs Claus, another iconic nod from John Lewis with Buster the Boxer, and a big cinematic piece from Burberry.
Whether the intention is to encourage happy tears or just have your audience laugh, brands are stepping up to the challenge of showing a strong sense of self, and conveying a powerful message in the process, all in a bid, of course, to drive some of that all-important Q4 revenue in their direction.
Read on for our pick of the best campaigns across the fashion and retail space in Europe and US this year (beyond those already mentioned), as well as a bevvy of further ones to know about below…
Mulberry: It’s What’s Inside That Counts
Mulberry tugs at the heartstrings for the holiday season with an endearing story of love and acceptance played by child actors pretending to be grown-ups. The two-part film, which was shot in the British countryside in Surrey, tells the story of a traditional Christmas where three siblings return to their childhood home to spend the holidays with their difficult mother. As the story unravels, secrets and problems come to light. At the end of Part I, in an act of generosity, one sibling gifts her sister her much loved new Bayswater bag, in a realisation that “it’s what’s inside that counts”.
Directed by Albert Moya and written by Hugo Guinness (The Grand Budapest Hotel), it explores a deeper meaning of accepting each other for who they are. As Johnny Coca, the label’s creative director, explains: “When I was a kid, all that I wanted to do was to be grown up so I could be like my dad. Now that I am an adult, I just want to be a kid again! Christmas brings out the kid in all of us, and this is what I love about using children to tell our story this year.” The second and final version, which shows the family coming to terms with each others’ faults and weaknesses, premieres later this month.
Macy’s: The #SantaProject
The tagline for Macy’s holiday campaigns has long been about the idea of “Believe”. For 2016, they’ve turned that into an exploration of whether children today do indeed believe in Santa Claus. Cue a series of seriously cute clips featuring young kids sharing their thoughts on the miracle of Christmas, before a reminder message of the sort of realities they’re faced with when turning to the internet to search out the truth instead. It’s a positive note revolving really around kindness with what we post online, which let’s face it, can be applied to all parts of life, especially after this rocky year.
Rebecca Minkoff: Holiday My Way With @arielle
Rebecca Minkoff teams up with Vine star Arielle Vandenberg to tell the story of an independent woman trying to navigate the holidays by herself as she decides to stay in the city for the first time, and not go home to see her family. Each video, or chapter, focuses on a different achievement as the main character stumbles into adulthood, from decorating the apartment, to hosting a Friendsgiving, alluding to Thanksgiving as well.
Rebecca Minkoff, the designer herself, makes a cameo as a friend disappointed with the (clumsily wrapped) gift she receives from the main character. On other platforms, the #holidaymyway hashtag is being used to promote a Christmas gift guide and additional marketing content.
Harrods: A Very British Bear Tale
Seemingly inspired by Disney’s Frozen, Harrods tells an animated tale of a young teddy bear serving as the only (snuggly) survivor when an ice storm takes over the palace thanks to a mischievous elf. Hugh, as he’s called, comes to the rescue by climbing to the rooftop in order to signal help from Father Christmas in the North Pole. As the narrated story continues, the spell is broken and Hugh ends up crowned a prince thanks to his courage.
In addition from Harrods this season, is A Very British Fairy Tale in partnership with Burberry; a stop motion short made from paper cutouts.
Coach: A Holiday Film Starring #RexyTheCoachDino
Coach continues its good-humoured approach to luxury with a holiday film starring its now beloved mascot, Rexy the Coach Dino. The film shows what happens at the label’s New York City workshop after hours, when one rogue Rexy leather dinosaur comes to life. Aiming to wreak havoc, the dinosaur runs free pushing over boxes, breaking baubles and generally creating a mess, all while dancing – by herself – to the soundtrack of Billy Idol’s “Dancing with Myself”, as sung by The Donnas. As the sun rises, Rexy spots an open window and sets herself free, roaming the streets of the city independently.
Kate Spade: Make Magic Happen
Kate Spade’s short but sweet spot, starring model Jourdan Dunn and stylist Catherine Baba, features a small cameo by the iconic Miss Piggy. Shouting over the spot in a possessive manner, “Mine! Mine! Mine!”, the fabulous Muppets’ character attempts to keep all handbags to herself. The campaign also promotes the designer’s latest collaboration, with Miss Piggy herself. The holiday line includes wallets, phone cases, and accessories with the character’s “Who, moi?” catchphrase.
Speaking to WWD, Miss Piggy talked of her excitement to join the great group of women associated with the brand: “Moi was already a big fan of Kate Spade New York’s Miss Adventure’s series. I mean you see all these fabulous and incredibly strong and wonderful women like Anna Kendrick and Zosia Mamet having fun. So, I thought: I’m fabulous, incredibly strong and wonderful, I need to be part of this. When I discovered they wanted to create product inspired by moi: Well, it was a done deal.”
Target: The Toycracker
Target is betting big on its holiday campaign with an eight-minute musical titled The Toycracker, a cheeky take on the Nutcracker classic that reimagines the Tchaikovsky soundtrack as a modern hip hop track. Developed by ad agency 72AndSunny, the spot stars singer John Legend as the Rat King, his wife, model Chrissy Teigen, as the Nutcracker and Isabella Russo (The School of Rock) as Clara. This year’s popular toys, such as Trolls and Teenage Ninja Mutant Turtles, have replaced classic characters such as the Sugar Plum Fairy and toy soldiers, while the play’s famous sword fight scene will be told as a rap battle.
The full musical will air in two four-minute spots during ABC’s network premiere of the film Frozen on December 11 in the US. Meanwhile, the brand has launched behind-the-scenes footage of the night of the musical in the shape of a trailer, starring the Bullseye dog and a young girl, Marisol, as well as toys that have come to life to work on the production. The campaign will be supported by further marketing activity that includes a Snapchat filter and a “10 Days of Deals” promotion.
Farfetch: The Holiday Remix
For this Christmas season, Farfetch is presenting a remix of all things festive with a shoppable video that takes on a modern twist of the Nutcracker story. The e-tailer worked with choreographer Dana Foglia, of Beyonce’s Formation fame, to create a modern-day version of Dance of the Sugar-Plum Fairy, with dancers donning this season’s best partywear.
When watched on Farfetch.com, the video allows customers to shop by displaying circles over certain garments, thanks to a partnership with touchable video platform Cinematique. Clicking the circles will showcase more information about the outfit, and allow users to add to a basket and checkout at the end.
Warehouse continues its ‘Resolutely British’ reinvention, under the helm of newly appointed creative director Emma Cook, with a video campaign that celebrates what happens in the girl’s room, or the ladies’ room at public spaces, from nightclubs to bars. The short video shows women touching up their make-up, socialising and generally letting their guard down, in a space where “strangers become allies, the compliments are free and the drama is left on the dancefloor”.
Topshop: The Anti-Cliché Christmas
Topshop appeals to its young and trendy demographic with a call to express individuality. The spot showcases models of all different styles, from modern sportswear to grungy, walking as cuts outs in front of backgrounds including cityscapes and the beachside, emphasising the idea of party dressing “without the one-size-fits-all approach” in order to represent an anti-cliché sort of Christmas.
To celebrate the sentiment, Topshop has also launched its still image campaign presenting its next generation of rising fashion stars, which are models Stella Maxwell, Londone Myers, Cami Morrone, Jing Wen, Kiki Willems, Marjan Jonkman, Damaris Goddrie, Caitie Green and Lottie Moss, Kate Moss’ youngest sister. Explaining the campaign, Kate Phelan, the retailer’s creative director, says: “This season is about the individual spirit of a woman – she no longer wants to be part of a tribe, she has her own style.”
House of Fraser: Christmas is Coming for You
British retailer House of Fraser is aiming to convey the excitement and anticipation that precedes the season with a modern dance spot, in the same vein as Farfetch. Teaming up with choreographer Suzette Brissett, the spot showcases dancers going through a whirlwind of settings, including an opulent dining table and a forest where trees are filled with presents. The upbeat soundtrack is courtesy of British songstress Laura Mvula, who reinterprets The Fugees’ classic Ready or Not track.
Additional ones to check out below include Cartier, Very.co.uk, Louis Vuitton, Dior, Harvey Nichols, Jack Wills, Boohoo.com, Debenhams, New Look, Tiffany & Co, Gap and Banana Republic. As a bonus: also tugging our heart strings outside the fashion space, is Sainsbury’s The Greatest Gift.
Ralph Lauren is top dog in the US when it comes to luxury brand website visits, according to the latest study from digital-marketing company PMX Agency and data-analytics firm Hitwise.
The pair measured website visits in the year to June, and Ralph Lauren overtook last year’s winner Michael Kors. Ralph Lauren had a 19.2% share (that’s nearly one in five visits) compared to 18.5% for Kors. The figures were arrived at by measuring website visits, social media interactions and brand searches.
With Coach in third place (12%), Louis Vuitton next (9.5%) and Gucci fifth (5.3%), it clearly doesn’t leave a lot of room for the other 75 brands the companies tracked. In fact they said that the top 10 brands accounted for almost 80% of the website visit share. The remaining top 10 brand include Chanel, Burberry, Hermès, Christian Louboutin and Versace, and as the number 10 spot only gives the Italian giant a 1.7% share it’s obvious that everyone else is trailing the big players at the top of the list by a huge margin.
Online interactions are largely driven by women of all ages, but among men, it’s the 34-to-44 age group that engages with these brands the most.
Interestingly, even though luxury is seen as more of a physical store or at least a large screen experience, global luxury brands got more than half (52% actually) of their US web traffic from smartphones or tablets. Perhaps that’s part of the trend that sees social media driving 6.3% of the website traffic. While that’s still a surprisingly low number, luxury brand social media followers have risen 40% year-on-year and we’re likely to see more explosive growth over the next few years.
Consumers visited websites 185.2m times over the study period, which meant 11.2% fewer visits than a year earlier. That’s odd given how much luxury brand have upped their game when it comes to offering richer online experiences and better e-commerce features for those who want to buy online rather than tripping off to a destination city’s flagship store.
Of course, the fall also comes at a tough time for the luxury sector with global economic woes and currency exchange issues denting sales of luxury goods worldwide.
“The drop in online visits can be attributed, in part, to external factors like fluctuating exchange rates, uncertain economic outlooks across the globe and reduced travel due not only to financial concerns but also terrorism,” said Glenn Lalich, VP of research at PMX Agency.
“Also notable is that more luxury interactions may be occurring solely with social platforms on social applications – predominantly mobile – and not always reaching the traditional luxury brand website,” he added.
This post first appeared on Trendwalk.net, a style-meets-business blog by journalist, trends specialist and business analyst, Sandra Halliday.
Macy’s has achieved the title of most-viewed Christmas ad in the US with its heartwarming tale of a young girl spreading festive spirit and granting wishes wherever she goes.
“The Wish Writer”, as it’s called, nods to the idea of giving to others over the holiday season, and dutifully sees such warm thoughts and good deeds returned to the main protagonist for her generosity. It’s thoughtful, emotional, and a nice example of a retailer embracing the idea of storytelling.