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business Campaigns

3 ways fashion brands weighed in on the US midterm elections

Tory Burch
Tory Burch

Fashion companies used to avoid dipping into politics, but with society facing greater polarisation than ever, consumers are expecting their favorite brands to speak up.

More than half of US consumers (52%) said a brand’s position on social or environmental issues would impact their holiday buying decisions this year, up three points from 2017, according to research published this week by The NPD Group.

“In this midterm election year, political polarization and activism is on the rise in this country, and it’s bleeding into the upcoming holiday season, especially among younger consumers,” said Marshal Cohen, chief industry advisor of The NPD Group.

With customers becoming more aware of what they support with their dollars, retailers don’t want to look like another callous corporation, but getting activism-based association right, is a challenge of authenticity.

Check out these three initiatives major brands took in the run-up to the US midterm elections:
 

Political backing from Patagonia
Patagonia
Patagonia

Known for its environmental activism, outdoor brand Patagonia took a step further this election. Not only did it join the Time to Vote campaign by closing stores nationwide to give employees the opportunity to get to their local polling stations, but it also made its first political endorsements in the brand’s history, supporting Democratic candidates Jackie Rosen and Jon Tester.

“The company is endorsing candidates for the first time this year because of the urgent and unprecedented threats to our public lands and waters. Nevada and Montana are two states where Patagonia has significant company history and a long record of conservation accomplishments, and where the stakes are too high to stay silent,” the company said in a statement.

In addition, the brand launched an entire section of its website to help customers “make a voting plan”, with links to information about candidates and polling places.
 

T-shirt endorsement from Moda Operandi, Tory Burch and Carbon 38
Moda Operandi
Moda Operandi

Limited-edition tees with “Vote” signs were on sale at numerous retailers to drive awareness around increased voter turnout. Moda Operandi even created a trunk show called “Vote 2018” dedicated to selling them. Tory Burch’s tee was among those featured on the luxury e-commerce site, with the proceeds going to Yara Shahidi’s Eighteen x 18. Prabal Gurung’s bamboo-cotton tee was also on sale, and sold out, with proceeds supporting Rock the Vote.

Activewear brand Carbon38 created 300 tanks emblazoned with “I Am a Voter”, producing a second run after selling out. All of the proceeds support groups including Democracy Works, Headcount, Nonprofit Vote, Rock the Vote, Vote.org, #VoteTogether, Voto Latino and When We All Vote.

“We noticed heavier-than-usual traffic on our site and likely reached a broader demographic than just our core customer since so many people are proud and compassionate about this,” said Carbon38 co-founder and CEO, Katie Warner Johnson, to WWD.
 

Voting booths at Levi’s
Levi's
Levi’s

Another participant in the Time to Vote campaign, Levi Strauss & Co also went above and beyond to encourage turnout. The brand worked with Rock the Vote to install 40 voter registration booths in Levi’s stores.

According to the brand’s president and CEO, Chip Bergh, the current divided political climate and government’s failure to provide for society are pushing companies to weigh in. “We are a $5 billion company. I have a platform that would be wasted if we are not taking advantage to make a difference in this world”, he said at the Fast Company Innovation Festival in New York last week.

Bergh explained the business operates with a concept called “profits through principles”: every year it gives a certain percentage of its profits as a company to its foundation. “Through the foundation, we execute a lot of goodwill towards the communities and the society.”

With so many different social issues to choose from, brands have a responsibility to pick causes that align with their values. As Bergh puts it: “If you stand for everything, you stand for nothing. We’ve had to be deliberate about the spots we’re going to weigh in on.”

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data social media

Rihanna + brand = license to print money, thanks to the fans

rihanna

Who’s the biggest celebrity in the world? No, let me ask that again… who’s the most marketable celebrity in the world? Move over Gigi, Kendall, Gisele, Kim, Jennifer, Justin, Harry and all those other celebs I can’t bring myself to list. Step forward Rihanna.

Her fans have more distinctive brand preferences than those of any other big-name celebrity in any genre (including athletes, actors, musicians, and others), according to data from researcher The NPD Group.

NPD’s new BrandLink database identifies the brand preferences of fans to help marketers identify the celebrities with which brand users are most likely to engage.

But do celebs really influence our product choices? Interestingly, I used to work in a job where we regularly published celeb style reports and subscribers always denied being interested in them – but the hit rates were always through the roof.

The fact is that fame sells but, as this report shows, not all fame is equal. It all depends on the fans.

According to NPD, a celebrity is considered to be a strong endorsement opportunity for a brand if the fans of that celebrity are at least 50% more likely to use the brand. The endorsement score shown below reflects the relative marketability of big-name celebrities, based on the total number of brands for whom they would be a strong endorser. RiRi’s index score of 367 means that she has almost 3.7 times as many strong brand endorsement opportunities as the average big-name celebrity. Besides those shown in the chart below, Rihanna outranks other well-known celebrities including Angelina Jolie, Tim McGraw, Coldplay, and Stephen Curry.

npd-celebrity-brand-endorsement-scores

One of the many brands that drove Rihanna’s top endorsement score was Jeep, which means that her fans show a distinct preference for Jeep. On the surface, if Jeep were considering a celebrity endorsement, it might think that Rihanna and Beyonce are equally good choices. Both are chart-topping female R&B stars with very similar fan bases. However, BrandLink shows that Rihanna’s fans are much more likely to choose that vehicle because of her links with it.

“Celebrities are media properties in their own right, with audiences that have nuanced brand preferences,” said Barbara Zack, NPD vice-president. “In the same way that every sitcom is not equally valuable to a particular brand, neither is every celebrity equally valuable to a particular brand.”

Although this analysis is focused on big-name celebrities (those with over 10 million big fans), the database includes lesser known talent as well. Smaller celebrities with a high number of brand endorsement opportunities include talent as diverse as M.I.A. (rap/hip-hop), Michelle Phan (YouTube), and Luis Suárez (soccer).

This post first appeared on Trendwalk.net, a style-meets-business blog by journalist, trends specialist and business analyst, Sandra Halliday

Categories
film Uncategorized

Oscar winner Jennifer Lawrence features in making-of Miss Dior handbag ad

In case you hadn’t heard enough about Jennifer Lawrence this week, here now is a video from the behind-the-scenes of her debut Miss Dior handbag ad.

Shot by Willy Vanderperre, it shows the new Oscar-winning actress posing for the spring/summer 2013 stills shots, all the while speaking over the top about her love of Dior and the timelessness of the bags in question.

“Dior represents beauty and strength in women and that’s how I feel when I’m wearing his clothes, they just make you feel so confident,” she says.

Kudos to Dior for adding her to their Academy Award-winning line-up: Marion Cotillard, Charlize Theron and Natalie Portman included.

On that note, Portman’s latest Miss Dior fragrance film, directed by Sofia Coppola, is also just out. “La vie en rose”, as it’s called, is a beautiful spot, and well worth the watch.

(Be sure to view this and this too by the way)