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Campaigns social media

Dove teams up with Kelly Rowland to release song encouraging young girls to love their hair

Personal care brand Dove has teamed up with singer Kelly Rowland to co-write a song aiming to empower young girls to love their hair. Titled “Crown”, the song is part of Dove’s ongoing Self-Esteem Project, which has reached 29m people since launching in 2004.

“I felt many of the pressures young girls face today when it comes to embracing their hair, but my mom would always tell me that your hair is your crowning glory and you should wear it proudly,” says the singer.

A music video shows the singer accompanied by a diverse cast of young girls, who share their individual stories of how they have been made to feel self-conscious about their hair. Stories include those of 11-year olds Tyrelle Davis and Faith Fennidy, who were sent home from their school for wearing hair extensions. Jorja Orrick, meanwhile, was once bullied for cutting her hair short, which spurred her sister Sarah to do the same in solidarity.

The campaign was created after research conducted by Dove showed that although 65% of young girls see hair as part of their self-expression, almost 50% said it could make them feel self-conscious as well. Furthermore, 71% of respondents cited music as an influential factor in their lives, which prompted the brand to create the empowering tune.

“Dove wants all young girls, and women, to have the confidence to wear their hair anyway they choose, and to see their hair as a source of confidence, not anxiety,” said Piyush Jain, Unilever VP of marketing and general manager of hair care.

To further promote the campaign, Rowland and the Self-Esteem Project will create a workshop at a local Boys & Girls Club of America (BGCA) in New Jersey. The organization offers children and teens after-school programs where they can learn new skills.

How are you thinking about your brand messaging? 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.

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Campaigns e-commerce Editor's pick social media

Harvey Nichols introduces shoppable choir visits via Instagram

Harvey Nichols' Harvey's Angels
Harvey Nichols’ Harvey’s Angels

Ahead of the holiday season, British department store Harvey Nichols has introduced a charitable shopping experience discoverable via a real-life choir whose looks are available via Instagram.

The initiative benefits women going into the job’s market through the Smart Works charity.

The Harvey’s Angels, as the choir is called, were sent to offices across London – from Google to Estée Lauder – last week, donning partywear available to shop from the retailer, by designers such as Roland Mouret and Peter Pilotto. All looks could be purchased directly through its Instagram account via shoppable posts.

Additionally over four days, 10% of all purchases made at Harvey Nichols’ Knightsbridge location or online using the code “HNAngels” went to Smart Works.

“At Smart Works we are lucky enough to witness every day the impact that great clothes and good advice can have on a women’s life. We believe that fashion can be used as a force for good, and that is why we are thrilled to be working with Harvey Nichols on this exciting Christmas shopping experience,” says Kate Stephens, CEO of Smart Works. “Every shopper at Harvey Nichols who uses the dedicated code HNangels online or in store over the next three days will be helping a women to be her best.” The charity gives women across the country the tools to enter the job’s market, including clothing and self-belief and practical tools required to succeed.

For Harvey Nichols, the campaign ties to the company’s history as well as its continuous support of women in the workplace – at present, seven out of nine people of the company’s board are women.

“Our partnership with Smart Works is a natural extension of our values. Christmas is the fashion season, because it’s also party season. But we know that our customers are rushed off their feet,” said Deb Bee, group marketing and creative director at Harvey Nichols. “So we have partnered with Smart Works to raise awareness of this partnership and help busy women in London find a party outfit even if they can’t take time out of work. This will be delivered in the most Christmassy way we know; with a fun, glamorous, party-song-singing, shoppable Christmas choir.”

Are you thinking innovatively enough in your brand messaging? We’re all about finding you the perfect partners to do so. TheCurrent 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.

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Campaigns social media Uncategorized

Olay celebrates unique personality traits with real women

Face Anything, Olay, Female Empowerment
Olay’s “Face Anything”

Skin care brand Olay has launched “Face Anything”, a campaign that encourages female empowerment by celebrating unique personality traits.

The campaign, launched across print and video, features nine inspiring women sharing personal stories of how they face criticism for being ‘too much’ of something, such as too emotional, or too confident, and how they embrace their uniqueness.

The cast includes Olympic gymnast Aly Raisman, comedian and YouTube star Lilly Singh and fashion model Jillian Mercado, who suffers from spastic muscular dystrophy and has become a voice for diversity in the industry.

The campaign is powered by a dedicated microsite that further highlights their cast’s individualities, as well as an influencer campaign that will run on Instagram for 28 days. For the social media element, a cast of influencers have been tasked with documenting themselves using a curated collection of Olay products for the campaign period.

At the end of the programme, the influencers will be invited to join some of the cast on a New York Fashion Week runway. To underscore the authenticity principle of the brand, the influencers will not be wearing any make-up.

The campaign was developed after Olay commissioned a survey that revealed that 54% of women prefer a “natural look”, while 84% said that social media images pressure them into conforming to beauty standards.

Olay is not the first cosmetic company to embrace authenticity, with body care giant Dove, for instance, having championed this mindset throughout its communications for over ten years – such as most recently introducing a tool to identify any image that is digitally enhanced.

The fact that increasingly beauty and skin care brands are choosing to feature real women – flaws and all – to speak to their customer base is a huge indication that this is no longer a trend, but rather a shift in mentality that has been a long time coming.

Are you thinking innovatively enough in your brand messaging? We’re all about finding you the perfect partners to do so. TheCurrent 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.

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Campaigns Editor's pick product

Aerie pushes empowerment with new product, campaign and experience

Aerie - "Bras make you feel real good"
Aerie

Aerie is launching a 360-degree campaign that aims to create a positive environment for women to shop and feel good about themselves.

The initiative, titled “Bras make you feel real good”, includes advertising, a new bra collection and a reinvented shopping experience, all of which aid the brand’s mission to promoting female empowerment and inclusivity.

Speaking of the brand’s overarching message of empowerment in January, Jennifer Foyle, Aerie’s global brand president, said: “At Aerie, we believe in authentic, real beauty and never airbrush our models.” Adding: “Now, more than ever, we want to encourage women everywhere to feel empowered to embrace their own unique qualities and beautiful REAL selves.”

The unretouched print campaign features a cast of 57 real women, which includes contest winners such as a cancer survivor, a woman with a colostomy bag and a woman with an insulin pump, as well as Olympic gymnast and sexual abuse survivor Aly Raisman.

In-store, the experience translates into two new consumer-facing features: a new bra fitting process titled Best Fit Finder (BFF) that provides a less invasive tool to finding the perfect bra fit; and in the fitting room, encouraging consumers to leave sticky note affirmations behind for the next woman to see, not too dissimilar from an experience found at mirrors in their Soho, New York flagship.

Moreover, the initiative also includes staff training: the brand has implemented a body confidence training campaign for its store team in partnership with the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA), which is designed to create a judgement-free zone during the shopping experience.

To accompany the #AerieReal campaign, the American Eagle-owned brand is launching a new bra collection that includes products such as The Real Happy™, Real Me™ and Real Power™. All styles feature enhanced details such as softer fabric, removable padding and j-hooks for easy adjustments.

Appealing to real women both in its communication strategy and in-store experience, has worked in the Pittsburgh-based brand’s favor, as it announced a same-store sales growth of 38% in the first quarter of 2018, adding to a 25% increase in 2017.

The success reflects a clear appetite for realistic messaging, one which brands such as Victoria’s Secret have failed to swiftly respond to – in comparison, L Brands’ (the group that owns the lingerie company) stock has fallen by more than 45% in 2018.

Are you thinking innovatively enough in your brand messaging? We’re all about finding you the perfect partners to do so. TheCurrent 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.

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Editor's pick Podcast

Bumble on innovating through kindness

Rachel Arthur and Louise Troen

Emotion holds huge value for modern business, says VP of international marketing and communications for Bumble, Louise Troen, on the latest episode of TheCurrent Innovators podcast.

Speaking to Rachel Arthur on-site at the British Fashion Council’s annual Fashion Forum in London, Troen says that while there is no shortage of entrepreneurs and incredible ideas, Bumble’s success is based on a very simple premise. “Often people turn around and say ‘what is the magic?’ And really it’s the fact that we built a business based on kindness,” she notes. “We really think that there is a value in a company that bases itself on fundamental values.”

Listen here: Apple Podcasts | Android | Google Play | Stitcher | RSS

Bumble launched in 2012 as the antithesis to successful yet problematic dating apps that had been crowding the market with their models of placing men in charge of making the first move. From the get-go, founder Whitney Wolfe Herd wanted to create a platform where women could feel both empowered and protected.

This, paired with the notion of kindness, is particularly resonating at a time when movements like #MeToo and #TimesUp are taking hold. As a society there’s a shift in behaviour happening, Troen notes, which the business has always been focused on.

What’s been critical, she explains however, has been to do this with authenticity. Her advice to every other business in the space is to think about it in the same way – to question whether it is authentic to the brand to be taking a standpoint that is affecting the social agenda, or placing messages that are politically charged.

For Bumble, it’s working. Since launch, it has evolved into two new verticals – Bumble BFF and Bumble Bizz – which similarly take the startup’s motto into other areas of their female users’ lives, in this case friendships and careers respectively. It now has a reported 22 million users across all services.

But this has only been made possible because users have helped the platform evolve, Troen explains. Her second piece of advice to brands is to give the product to real people and have them tell the story. “We do our focus groups and we can understand what they want from protection services, what they need feature-wise in the product, what they can see, and manage the algorithm based on feedback, as opposed to drafting a marketing plan set in stone 12 months in advance, which obviously will change within a month.”

Through this approach, the business is able to be nimble with its responses, evolving in time with its community and the broader societal conversations alongside.

Tune into the interview for a further deep dive with Troen on the importance of giving female users a voice, how the company’s consumer-facing values seep into its own office culture, and how Bumble is dreaming of global domination with its steady country-by-country rollout.

Catch up with all of our episodes of TheCurrent Innovators here. The series is a weekly conversation with visionaries, executives and entrepreneurs. It’s backed by TheCurrent, a consultancy transforming how 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.

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Campaigns Editor's pick

Dove introduces no-distortion labelling across all imagery

Dove “No Digital Distortion Mark”

Dove has introduced the “No Digital Distortion Mark” to represent when an image has not been retouched, as it furthers its approach of representing beauty in an authentic aesthetic.

From July onwards the Mark will be rolled out across all branded content globally, with deodorant campaigns first.

The brand says that by January 2019, the mark will be incorporated across all static imagery showcasing women, including print, digital and social. With the initiative, Dove hopes to showcase women in their most realistic setting and reassure girls and women consuming media content that there is no such thing as a beauty standard.

“When content in the media is not reflective of reality, it has a profound negative effect on the viewer,” says Jess Weiner, cultural expert and adjunct professor at University of Southern California (USC) Annenberg School of Journalism, in the press release from the brand. “By viewing unrealistic and unachievable beauty images it creates an unattainable goal which leads to feelings of failure. This is especially true of young girls who have grown up in a world of filters and airbrushing.”

Moreover, Dove’s strides towards realistic representation of women in media is backed by research that the brand has conducted in this field. According to the 2016 Dove Global Beauty and Confidence report, 77% of women believe that all images in the media have been digitally altered or airbrushed, while 69% of women cited the pressures for advertising and beauty to reach such unrealistic beauty standards play a major role in driving appearance anxiety.

The Mark is a continuation of Dove’s Real Beauty Pledge announced in 2017, in which the brand publicly recommitted to only portraying accurate representations of women and beauty. “Last year, we pledged to use images with zero digital distortion,” says Dove’s global vice president, Sophie Galvani. “This year, we want to go one step further and give women a tool to help them understand what is real and what isn’t. The Mark will take help women identify reality and relieve some of the pressure to look a certain way.”

Dove “No Digital Distortion Mark”

The new announcement also sits under the Self-Esteem Project umbrella, which was launched by the brand in 2004 and highlighted a commitment to reaching 40 million young people globally with body confidence and self-esteem education by 2020. Among the education element is the topic of how to counter the negative influence of media, with the hopes to not only teach consumers to be more aware and critical of what they see, but also push other brands to take action in accurate representation.

“Through the work of the Dove Self-Esteem project, we teach children to question what they see in the media and not to take everything at face value,” said Dr. Phillippa Diedrichs, body image expert and consultant to the brand. “However, the responsibility shouldn’t solely be on the viewer. Brands can do more to showcase reality and take this unnecessary pressure away. By doing so, we can have a positive impact on the lives of young girls.”

Categories
Campaigns film

SK-II launches campaign to empower women to embrace their age

The Expiry Date - SK-II
The Expiry Date – SK-II

Japanese beauty brand SK-II has launched its #INeverExpire campaign in the US after a successful reception in China, focusing on empowering women to embrace their age.

The campaign centers around a video called The Expiry Date, which has so far garnered over 100 million views globally and opened a discussion on Asian age-related pressures. To make the content more relevant to the American audience, the brand chose key influencers, among them actress Chloe Bennet, who kicked off the campaign this week, and #Girlboss founder Sophia Amoruso.

In total five women are starring in a series of video interviews, which will be released throughout this week, where they discuss the premise of the campaign and from their personal viewpoint, the societal pressures they believe are put on women in the US.

SK-II has been playing in this space for some time. Its most famous campaign to date is the Marriage Market Takeover, which highlighted China’s “leftover” women –  women above age 25 who are deemed too old to be marriage material. The viral video showcases so-called “marriage markets” that take place all over the country and see families putting out ads for the marriage of their female offspring. It then ends in an emotional message of Asian women defending their singledom status to their families. It was viewed over 1.2 million times in one day.

The#INeverExpire campaign, as well the Marriage Market Takeover, both sit under SK-II’s brand philosophy titled: Change Destiny. Launched globally in 2015, the ethos focuses on communicating female empowerment through a series of campaigns and other marketing activities that encourage women to take charge of their own destinies.

Marriage Market Takeover by SK-II
Marriage Market Takeover by SK-II

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Editor's pick product sustainability

The North Face launches recycled product line to support National Parks

The North Face - Bottle Source collection
The North Face – Bottle Source collection

The North Face has launched a new product line that uses recycled material sourced from three US national parks to support the sustainability within the parks themselves.

The Bottle Source collection, which includes t-shirts and tote bags made from cotton and recycled bottles, will donate $1 for every item sold, which will go back to the parks through the National Park Foundation to support upcoming sustainable projects.

So far, the Bottle Source program has collected more than 160,000lbs of plastic bottles sourced from waste at Yosemite, Grand Teton and Great Smoky Mountains National Parks. Donated funds will in return go into the development of projects such as bear-proof recycling bins and reusable bottle filling stations.

“Bottle Source is a fitting next step in our materials innovation,” said James Rogers, director of sustainability at the brand. “This collection helps fund sustainability efforts in our national parks as more and more people enjoy these stunning places.”

“The North Face partnership inspires people to think about sustainability in a whole new way,” added Katherine Chesson, vice president of grants and programs at the National Park Foundation. “The Bottle Source program not only helps reduce waste, it is also a source of funding for important projects at national parks.”

This collection joins a series of other efforts the brand has been developing to improve the environmental impact of their products. Since 2016 The North Face uses only 100% down certified under the Responsible Down Standard across all product lines, while a 10-year-old partnership with bluesign has seen the brand make efforts towards helping their mills reduce their impact by using water and energy more efficiently.

Other sustainable products include the Reaxion line and the Denali jacket, both of which use recycled polyester, and the Cali wool beanie, that uses regenerative farming practices to produce wool to pull carbon into the soil.

Partnering with the right organizations has been key to the outdoor brand’s strategy of creating positive impact, as also recently seen with their announcement of a multi-year collaboration with the Girl Scouts of USA (GSUSA) to promote female empowerment.

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Campaigns Editor's pick

The North Face celebrates female explorers with campaign to inspire future generations

The North Face "Moves Mountains"
The North Face “Moves Mountains”

The North Face has launched its first-ever campaign focusing on women and celebrating the achievements of female explorers around the world.

Move Mountains is an initiative that aims to empower the next generation of explorers by highlighting the stories of courageous and adventurous women, and by partnering on a multi-year outdoor adventure collaboration with Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA).

The campaign features a series of short videos telling the stories of trailblazing women including alpinist Hilaree Nelson, climbers Ashima Shiraishi and Margo Hayes, and ultrarunner and activist Fernanda Maciel. The North Face is also featuring women who are paving the way in their respective fields including NASA scientist Tierra Guinn Fletcher, musician and activist Madame Gandhi and women’s rights advocate, America Ferrera.

According to Tom Herbst, global vice president of marketing at The North Face, the theory behind Move Mountains was simple: if women and girls could see female explorers represented more widely, it will create a new generation of female role models.

As part of the initiative, The North Face has made a commitment to represent women equally in all advertising, social media and content moving forward.

The Move Mountains initiative is also being applied to the internal business with increased investment in women’s product design, a renewed focus on employee development and an ensured closure of the gender pay gap on the athlete team. The brand will also be expanding their Explore Fund grants to $750,000 with a new program focused on enabling female exploration.

Inspiring a new generation of explorers is a cornerstone of the campaign and The North Face is collaborating with GSUSA to enable women to further push the boundaries. The collaboration includes the creation of 12 new Girl Scouts outdoor adventure badges, with skills ranging from mountaineering, backpacking, hiking and trail running.

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Editor's pick Events technology

NYFW roundup: #MeToo conversations, immersive runways and supersized robots

Models close the Prabal Gurung AW18 show
Models close the Prabal Gurung AW18 show

It was a quieter New York Fashion Week season than usual, as big-name designers including Altuzarra and Tommy Hilfiger chose to decamp to other cities – Paris and Milan, respectively – to host their much buzzed-about runway shows. Even fashion week parties, which in the past provided magazine fodder for weeks to come, have also been scaled down, with the industry seemingly more subdued in general.

That didn’t stop various buzzworthy moments however, including subtle nods to the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements, various more immersive runway presentations, and a dash of the futuristic with Google TiltBrush and an oversized robot.

Here we highlight some of the most interesting conversations that took place, and where there was still room left for improvement…

Cultural statements

There was little direct acknowledgement of the powerful conversation around the #MeToo movement, but shows attempted to create a stage for female empowerment. For Tom Ford, the approach was literal and included models strutting down the runway donning shoulder pads and a “Pussy Power” handbag. For Prabal Gurung, which The Washington Post has previously described as the “most woke man in fashion”, it was a nod to the #TimesUp conversation as models closed the show as a group, carrying white roses.

Tom Ford AW18
Tom Ford AW18

Also alluding to the message of empowerment, designer Jonathan Simkhai presented a Suffragette-inspired collection, while Kesha’s song on speaking out on harassment, “Praying”, greeted guests.

Following the second yearly Woman’s March, which took place globally on January 20, Brother Vellies teamed up with a roster of labels, such as Clare V. and Rachel Comey, to design a capsule collection benefitting the march and Planned Parenthood.

Meanwhile designer Rebecca Minkoff, who was due to give birth to her third child during the week, forwent a formal presentation, instead opting to showcase her see-now-buy-now on 20 powerful women online. That cast includes members of the Women’s March committee, as well as actress Zosia Mamet and fashion presenter Zanna Roberts Rassi. The designer also teamed up with networking app Bumble Bizz to host a speaker night titled “Trailblazers: Women who have started their own company or have forged their own way within their industry”.

The topic of diversity was ever-present during NYFW too, though perhaps rather positively it was less buzzed about as more designers included a variation of ethnicities and sizes on their runway. Designers such as Christian Siriano and one of this season’s favourites, Eckhaus Latta, enlisted models at each end of the spectrum. Meanwhile model Kendall Jenner hosted an Adidas Originals presentation that featured a colourful cast and the showcase of the brand’s first hijab.

Alternative runways

In addition to the designers whose presence was missed in New York this season, many others moved away from formal runway shows to explore new ways to engage with a new, savvier audience.

Kirsten Dunst for Rodarte AW18
Kirsten Dunst for Rodarte AW18

Adidas teamed up with trendy New York label and lifestyle store VFiles to host a multimedia photoshoot at the Terminal 5 venue in Hell’s Kitchen, for instance. As music played for partygoers, models stood on stage posing against white backdrops, thus partaking in a live photoshoot. The immersive event aimed to respond to a community who wants to participate, rather than watch from the sidelines, said Julie Anne Quay, founder of VFiles.

Online, Zac Posen launched his collection via a photoshoot starring actress and friend Katie Holmes. Similarly the Rodarte sisters published the “Women that Inspire Us” lookbook, which features a pregnant Kirsten Dunst and young R&B duo Chloe x Halle, among others.

Perhaps cleverly steering clear from live presentations, which have in the past not received the best of reviews, Kanye West leveraged his online fandom by releasing his Yeezy Season Six collection online, in a lookbook starring women such as Paris Hilton and actress Sarah Snyder dressed up as Kim Kardashian look-a-likes, as well as the woman herself.

The future is here?

In a week primed for entertainment and participation to take place, designers were surprisingly timid when experimenting with technology this season.

Irina Shayk and robot companion at Philipp Plein AW18

As previously reported, Rebecca Taylor teamed up with Google’s Tilt Brush to create an immersive in-store environment for customers to enjoy her collection in, while Badgley Mischka harnessed technology to better receive their immediate audience’s feedback.

Meanwhile, Nicole Miller teamed up with AI and image recognition company RevelGlam to pilot their software on her runway show. The software analyses insights from fashion shows as well as celebrity sightings and influencer activities in order to predict trends.

Never one to shy away from the spotlight, it was German designer Philipp Plein who became a major topic of conversation however; giving the week a much-needed injection of futuristic tech. In a display of extravagance he has become known for, model Irina Shayk entered the runway from a spaceship and strutted alongside a giant bot with the designer’s logo plastered all over it.

In a week where most designers arguably played safe on many fronts – from not taking a truly clear stand on serious conversations to engaging with new technologies – Plein’s stunt may have trumped the collection being shown, but it simultaneously provided an irreverent and timely take on the future.