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Editor's pick product Retail social media

3 ways streetwear is reinventing the product ‘drop’

The streetwear ‘drop’ model of drip-feeding products in order to generate a constant sense of newness is now a tried and tested one. But as luxury brands and retailers borrow from its success recipe, the big question is: is the hype bubble about to burst?

While many of streetwear’s forefathers now claim the once-niche movement is long-dead, brands are still finding different ways to capitalize on such an invested audience. Beyond product releases that draw crowds outside stores at major capitals, from New York to Tokyo, there is a new level of creativity being deployed in order to keep the momentum going.

Here, we highlight the most disruptive ways in which streetwear brands are continuing to achieve the same level of frenzy:

Reinventing the scavenger hunt
Fred Perry x Raf Simons

The traditional ‘drop’ strategy involved feeding the audience with specific release dates and locations, and waiting for the masses of eager streetwear fanatics to show up and queue. But as a system of resale and unfair buying behaviors began to develop, brands had to rethink their strategy.

By gamifying the drop experience, consumers feel a bigger sense of ownership and emotional response to the whole experience – in other words, by making them work for it, they value their purchases, and the brand, more.

At last year’s ComplexCon taking place in Long Beach, California, adidas was arguably the biggest sportswear presence with a number of activation booths throughout. But it took advantage of the larger-than-life venue by deploying giant cubes that hung from the ceiling and facilitated the purchase of limited edition shoes.

Through the ComplexCon app, it told Con-goers of the exact time a new model was about to drop. Users were then encouraged to stand under one of the cubes and scan to gain access to the e-commerce page and proceed to purchase. As a result, before the clock struck every few hours, one could see small crowds gathering under the cubes, hoping to be able to ‘cop’ the shoe before anyone else.

Fred Perry meanwhile, took it to the digital sphere to promote its latest collaboration with Belgian designer Raf Simons. It created a Google Streetview-like experience where, by visiting a virtual map of a suburban English town, users could navigate its empty streets to spot people wearing the latest collection. Once they found someone sporting the new look, they could click it to purchase, and be led to an e-commerce page.

Rewarding post-purchase
Converse’s Chuck Stop café

If digital channels have made it far too easy to get one’s hands on a limited edition item, then brands should also be focusing on the important post-purchase moment as an opportunity for creating longer-term bonds. In doing so, brands are creating a never-ending cycle of engagement, with a clear reward keeping fans coming back for more.

To promote Air Max Day, Nike’s yearly celebration of the Air Max shoe, the brand launched a virtual store where limited edition items could only be accessed if the consumer showed proof they had already purchased the latest model of the shoe in the first place. Logging in a purchase number generated Air Max ‘credits’ that were put into a virtual wallet, which then allowed access to items such as bottles, socks and stickers.

Meanwhile, when launching the latest iteration of its much-hyped collaboration with Off-White last October, Converse rewarded consumers with access to an exclusive experience at Selfridges in London. Any consumer wearing any item of Chuck Taylor clothing, and having bought the new shoes at sneaker retailer Offspring’s concession at the store, were given a Converse “coffee loyalty card”.

This granted them access to the Chuck Stop café, where they could enjoy a drink and a bagel, pick up freebies like tote bags and socks, and add their own graffiti to a wall.

Tapping into social
Nike x HQ Trivia’s limited edition kicks

Social media is arguably the most important driver of the popularity of streetwear – from enabling users to discover and covet new brands or products, as well as connecting labels to a larger community that keep their popularity going.

Ultimate rivals Nike and adidas are often the first ones to tap into new channels of engagement, in a constant battle for the top spot in positive consumer sentiment (and spending). Last year, amid the craze surrounding live gaming app HQ Trivia, Nike sponsored a live game that included access to exclusive shoes and a cash giveaway of $100,000. Previously, it had taken to Snapchat to pre-release Air Jordans at an NBA after-party in Los Angeles. Only guests on-site could scan Snapcodes to gain access to purchase.

Adidas has also played with Snapchat, and recently used Apple’s “AirDrop” functionality on the iPhone to gift attendees at Coachella Valley Music Festival with a new shoe collaboration with musician Donald Glover (also known as Childish Gambino).

Also leveraging social is NTWRK, a new social media platform by Aaron Levant, the former founder of Complexcon. Dubbed as the “HSN of streetwear” and with ambitions to become a full-on entertainment platform, the app works by broadcasting live bite-sized ‘shows’ that feature exclusive product drops. Users who wish to get their hands on product, which includes collabs with the likes of Levi’s and New Balance, need to log into the app at the exact time the show airs.

How are you thinking about retail and product innovation? We’re all about finding you the perfect partners to do so. The Current Global is a consultancy transforming how fashion, beauty and consumer retail brands intersect with technology. We deliver innovative integrations and experiences, powered by a network of top technologies and startups. Get in touch to learn more.

Categories
Campaigns Retail

Converse pushes hype beast culture with London hotel activation

The Converse One Star Hotel in London
The Converse One Star Hotel in London

Converse is opening a pop-up hotel in London to mark the drop of its new One Star collection this weekend.

The One Star Hotel, based in Shoreditch, will see rooms curated by artists including A$AP Nast, Yung Lean and MadeMe, as well as two days of gigs, workshops and conversations.

A dream for sneakerheads and music fans alike, the activation promises “staff with attitude, loud neighbours, the freshest sneakers as standard and all-nighters in shoebox rooms”. Live music will also reportedly come from Princess Nokia, IAMDDB, SlowThai, Skinny Macho and more.

What’s interesting is to see how Converse is building hype by following numerous tried and tested rules emerging in sneaker drop culture.

Teaser information from both the brand and influencers involved in the project has been released in advance, for instance. Included is a supposed product list driving curiosity among fans interested in key pieces, such as the collaboration with A$AP Nast that was only released in limited edition in the US previously.

A dedicated microsite meanwhile, provides not only further details of the event, but a series of tongue-in-cheek hotel reviews.

The campaign, which happens to fall during London Fashion Week, taps heavily into a cultural movement surrounding streetwear and sneakers at present, whereby pushing scarcity is king, not just in terms of limited edition products, but particularly unique experiences in which to get hold of them.

We’ve seen this achieved by brands including Supreme, Palace, adidas and Nike in a big way. Meanwhile, the likes of Vetements launching a laundry pop-up in Los Angeles is another example, as is the first Adidas Originals x Alexander Wang collaboration, which secretly dropped in different cities around the world out the back of 17 trucks in trash bags as though the items were on the black market.

The Converse One Star Hotel opens February 16-17 at 155 New North Road, London N1 6TA.

Categories
business digital snippets e-commerce product social media sustainability technology

What you missed: Amazon’s AI designer, sewing robots at Nike, AR iPhone apps

Inside the Grabit robots making Nikes
Inside the Grabit robots making Nikes

A round-up of everything you might have missed in relevant fashion business, digital comms and tech industry news over the past fortnight.


TOP STORIES
  • Amazon has developed an AI fashion designer [MIT]
  • A new t-shirt sewing robot can make as many shirts per hour as 17 factory workers [Quartz]
  • These robots are using static electricity to make Nikes (as pictured) [Bloomberg]
  • A preview of the first wave of AR apps coming to iPhones [Techcrunch]
  • In a Zara world, who orders custom clothing? [Racked]
  • What happened to wearables? [BoF]

BUSINESS
  • Matchesfashion.com sells majority stake to Apax after fierce bidding war [NY Times]
  • Making sense of Chanel’s secret filings [BoF]
  • Is Nordstrom the next acquisition target for Walmart or Amazon? [RetailDive]
  • North Korea factories humming with ‘Made in China’ clothes, traders say [Reuters]
  • Is counterfeiting actually good for fashion? [HighSnobiety]
  • C&A Foundation highlights ‘gaps to overcome for clean and circular fashion’ [Fashion United]

SOCIAL MEDIA
  • ‘Game of Thrones’ actor Maisie Williams will kick off new Twitter series for Converse [Creativity]
  • How Instagram and Snapchat are benefiting from Facebook’s declining teen and tween numbers [AdWeek]
  • Facebook furthers WhatsApp monetisation efforts with verified business pilot [The Drum]
  • Condé Nast and Facebook are debuting a virtual reality dating show [AdWeek]

MARKETING
  • Zalando turns festival into three-day live marketing campaign [BoF]
  • Donatella Versace works with eight creatives for new versus ads [WWD]
  • 40% of consumers want emails from brands to be less promotional and more informative [AdWeek]
  • In first-ever TV ad, Patagonia targets Trump administration [MediaPost]

RETAIL & E-COMMERCE
  • What is Amazon, really? [Quartz]
  • How Westfield is combating the Amazon threat with digital upgrades at its malls [Digiday]
  • Betting on brick-and-mortar: Alibaba’s billion-dollar retail experiment [Forbes]
  • H&M’s Arket encourages transparent shopping on its new e-commerce site [WGSN]
  • Uniqlo’s retail empire embarks on a digital revolution [Nikkei]
  • Farfetch Black & White partners with Certona to offer personalised e-commerce to luxury brands [The Industry]
  • Shopify’s e-commerce empire is growing in Amazon’s shadow [Bloomberg]
  • Voice search, 3D modelling and chatbots named as 2017’s most significant e-commerce trends [The Drum]

TECHNOLOGY
  • 11 tech leaders share the real truth about artificial intelligence (and what really matters) [Forbes]
  • How Bitcoin is making waves in the luxury market [CNN]
  • How blockchain could boost the fashion industry [BoF]
  • Walmart and Google partner to challenge Amazon’s Alexa [Retail Dive]
  • Google and Vogue are bringing voice-activated content from the magazine to home devices [AdWeek]
  • Latest Magic Leap patent shows off prototype AR glasses design [Techcrunch]
  • ‘Self-driving’ lorries to be tested on UK roads [BBC]

PRODUCT
  • Everlane’s quest to make the world’s most sustainable denim [Fast Company]
  • The zipper: the innovation that changed fashion forever [Bloomberg]
  • A new high-tech fabric could mean the end of bulky layers in the winter [Quartz]
  • Watch how Vans can now put any custom design on your shoes in under 15 minutes [Fast Company]
  • How RFID tags became trendy [Engadget]
  • Leather grown using biotechnology is about to hit the catwalk [The Economist]
  • These brands are teaming up on smart hang tags [Apparel Mag]
Categories
Editor's pick social media

Converse launches GIF campaign for back-to-school season

Millie Bobby Brown in Converse's First Day Feels back-to-school campaign
Millie Bobby Brown in Converse’s First Day Feels back-to-school campaign

Converse is focusing in on the butterflies kids (and adults) get before their first day for the back-to-school season, with a GIF-laden campaign called First Day Feels.

Starring Stranger Things’ Millie Bobby Brown, the 32 GIFs are designed to represent all manner of different emotions that might be felt – a visual language if you will. From excitement to disgust, surprise, boredom, hysterics and more, there’s something for everyone to share.


The campaign was created with Big Spaceship, with the GIFs appearing on Giphy and Tenor as well as the brand’s own social channels. The aim is to place them where they’re easily discoverable by the teen target market.

In doing so, Converse is hoping to resonate with its audience in a more authentic way than a straightforward anthem video spot, according to The Drum.

There are also 60 and 30-second videos that combine all of the GIFs and will appear as paid media on the likes of Buzzfeed and Teen Vogue.

Categories
business data digital snippets e-commerce film social media Startups technology

What you missed: debating tech at retail, the role of AI in fashion, Massenet joins Farfetch

Natalie Massenet announced her move to Farfetch as co-chairman
Natalie Massenet announced her move to Farfetch as co-chairman

All eyes might have been on the Milan collections, but the big business news this week is back in London where Natalie Massenet announced her move to Farfetch as co-chairman. An Instagram Story featuring Massenet with José Neves answering a Q&A followed – do watch it via @Farfetch before it disappears.

Otherwise, some interesting stories this week debating retail tech – what consumers do and don’t want on the one hand, versus why the industry hasn’t adopted artificial intelligence faster, on the other. Both are worth digging in to and digesting. Beyond that, there are new campaigns from Calvin Klein and Converse, as well as a scathing (but amusing) piece over on Digiday about just why fashion advertising is all out of (terrible) ideas. And if you’re still not sure about your video strategy, you might want to pay attention to the fact YouTube users now watch one billion hours per day.


TOP STORIES
  • Consumers don’t want Amazon or Google to help them shop [Bloomberg]
  • AI can make us all dress better, so why isn’t the fashion industry using it more? [Fast Company]
  • How Neiman Marcus is turning technology innovation into a ‘core value’ [Retail Dive]
  • Tommy Hilfiger looks to technology as it combats Macy’s decline [Bloomberg]
  • The trouble with all those t-shirt slogans about diversity on fashion’s runways [Quartz]

BUSINESS
  • Natalie Massenet joins Farfetch as co-chairman [BoF]
  • How teen retailer Aerie is thriving while its competitors flounder [CNBC]
  • Céline names new CEO, joins Instagram, announces plans to launch e-commerce [The Fashion Law]
  • John Lewis to cut hundreds of jobs [Campaign]
  • Menswear e-commerce startup JackThreads hanging by a thread [Retail Dive]

SOCIAL MEDIA
  • People now watch one billion hours of YouTube per day [TechCrunch]
  • Instagram users can now share up to 10 photos and videos in a single post [AdWeek]

MARKETING
  • Fashion advertising is out of ideas [Digiday]
  • Calvin Klein debuts new campaign featuring the men of Moonlight the morning after the Oscars [AdWeek]
  • #ForeverChuck: Converse throws a party as Chuck Taylor turns 100 [BrandChannel]
  • Did Walmart’s high-concept short films on the Oscars work? [AdWeek]
  • Why data targeting was a natural fit for cotton marketers [AdAge]

RETAIL & E-COMMERCE
  • The future of shopping is more discrimination [The Atlantic]
  • Ebay is tapping into the under-24 demographic by partnering with Snupps [Fashionista]

TECHNOLOGY
  • Retailers invest in chatbots, but consumers remain ambivalent [BrandChannel]
  • Why chatbots are dangerous territory for retailers [Forbes]
  • Why payment companies are flocking to messaging apps [Fast Company]
  • Your clothes could soon create and store their own electricity [Wired]
  • Grow your own clothes: three concepts for the fashion for the future [DW]

START-UPS
  • VC Eurie Kim: ‘Most fashion businesses don’t make good investments’ [Glossy]
Categories
mobile social media

Harper’s Bazaar launches Emojis 2.0 app, nods to key brands and fashion personalities

harpersbazaar_emojis_anchor

Converse shoes, Hunter boots, Chanel bunny ears and a Birkenstock sandal are among some of the new emojis released from Harper’s Bazaar magazine in time for the fashion week season ahead.

The US-based publication has introduced over 40 new icons to the collection on its dedicated iPhone app, with further references made to fashion personalities including Cara Delevingne and Derek Blasberg, as well as on-trend items such as denim dungarees and a fedora.

There’s also a specific illustration of the waterfall in front of the Lincoln Center (which is home to Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in New York from September 4-11), as well as things like kale, iced coffee, a low-battery sign and more.

The app is sponsored by fashion brand Equipment, accordingly also including five Equipment-specific emojis. It was designed and developed in partnership with SixAgency.

BUNNY EARSPUDDLE JUMPERCARA DELEVINGNEEQUIPMENT EARN YOUR STRIPESNEED JUICEOLD SCHOOL KICKSOVERALLSSTRAPPED IN

 

Categories
film social media

Cannes Lions 2013 round-up: fashion and beauty winners

CannesLions_JustinCooke_Topshop

It was a big year for fashion at the 60th annual Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity – the ad industry’s version of the Oscars if you will. As already reported, Burberry, Vivienne Westwood and Annie Leibovitz were all on stage, as was Justin Cooke, CMO of Topshop (as pictured), in a guest appearance during YouTube’s slot.

He talked to the idea of emotion in marketing: “When people feel happy, they want to influence others to do the same. At Topshop we refer to the three I’s; ignite a conversation, inspire our customers and then use that influence to build our UK-centric brand into a global entity.”

Topshop walked away with a bronze Media Lion for best use of social media for its Future of the Fashion Show campaign in February.

Here are some of the other fashion and beauty campaigns that won:

Dove Real Beauty Sketches: No surprise here – this campaign picked up the Titanium Grand Prix at Cannes as well as gold Lions in nearly every other category. Created by Ogilvy Brasil, it aimed to prove to women they’re more beautiful than they think they are by conducting a social experiment whereby an FBI-trained sketch artist drew their portraits based first on their own descriptions and then a stranger’s. The resulting film, which captures their reactions to the sketches, racked up over 4.5bn social media impressions. Dove also won a gold in the Film category for its Camera Shy campaign.

Nike Find Your Greatness: Always a big winner at Cannes, this year was no exception for Nike. It won a silver in the Titanium category for its Find Your Greatness campaign that surrounded last year’s Olympics. Ambush marketing at its finest (given Nike wasn’t an official sponsor), it highlighted that greatness isn’t reserved for just the elite athletes participating in the big event in the chosen city, but can be found worldwide – importantly in all the other places around the world also called London. Nike also won a silver for its Jogger campaign, and bronzes for She Runs the Night and Voices.

adidas Window Shopping: Not to be outdone, adidas also walked away with an armful of awards, this time for its adidas Neo Window Shopping initiative created by TBWA Helsinki. This saw a fully functional virtual store accessible from on the street by combining windows with the brand’s already existing e-commerce. Users could connect their smartphones via a simple URL and a pin (no need for an app or QR codes here), and then interact with the products on screen, dragging them into a shopping bag to make them appear on their own device to buy. It won both gold and silver Cyber Lions, as well as three bronzes in the Media and Mobile categories.

Macy’s Yes, Virginia the Musical: Macy’s localised its long-standing Yes, Virginia campaign in 2012 with a musical for schools in the busy run-up to the Christmas period. That initiative, created by JWT New York, saw it winning both a gold and a silver Lion in the Branded Content and Entertainment category.

Uniqlo Storms Pinterest: A smart move by Uniqlo over Pinterest also scooped a gold Lion in the Design category at Cannes this year. To promote its new Dry Mesh T-Shirts the Japanese retailer, along with Firstborn New York, created an impossible-to-miss, branded mosaic on the virtual scrapbooking site. As users scrolled through Pinterest’s public feeds giant blocks of branded images appeared and seemed to animate. It was done using 100 shell accounts on the platform that were later switched to branded Uniqlo ones. Uniqlo also won a bronze Media Lion for its Wake Up campaign.

Kmart Ship my Pants: You may have spotted this one already – Kmart’s humourous new video ad that plays on the phrase “Ship my Pants” to tout its new free shipping service. A winner for me on element of surprise alone, and at Cannes with silvers and bronzes in both the Film and Promo & Activation categories.

Geox Amphibox: Geox’s campaign for its everyday waterproof shoe walked away with gold, silver and bronze awards in the Cyber category as well as a bronze in Media. The aim was to prove the performance qualities of the shoes, so the team took four Facebook fans to the wettest place on earth, Cherrapunjee in India (which receives 11.7m of annual rainfall) to put them to the test. An online interactive documentary resulted.

Asos #bestnightever: I’ve commented a lot on shoppable films in the past, but there’s no escaping the fact they’re slowly making an increasing impact in the advertising space. Asos won a silver Media Lion on that basis this year for its #bestnightever campaign (even if the stats that went alongside aren’t necessarily directly the result of it to be honest), which saw three shoppable music videos created.

Bronze awards otherwise went to:

  • Louis Vuitton in Film for its Core Values campaign starring Muhammad Ali
  • Converse in Outdoor for its Highways campaign

And here’s a particularly nice message from Christopher Bailey, chief creative officer of Burberry, to close: “You have to take a leap of faith to move into a world that your industry or sector is not used to, but if you believe in it, and can feel it, it will be stronger and more believable in itself.”