Tommy Hilfiger is celebrating the launch of its collection with actress Zendaya, which is to be unveiled at Paris Fashion Week tomorrow, by encouraging social media followers to post branded Instagram Stories.
Ahead of the upcoming launch of the TommyXZendaya collaboration the label is partnering with app Unfold, which creates templates for Instagram Stories, on a series of 15 Tommy-branded templates that include prints and logos.
Upon using the Unfold app users can select the Tommy group of templates, and from then work on top of them by adding their own imagery and copy. Designs include variations of the Tommy Hilfiger logo, as well as colorful prints exclusive to the TommyXZendaya collection.
Templates will be available until March 12, while during the show tomorrow, Unfold will take over the brand’s Instagram Stories coverage.
Tommy Hilfiger’s fashion week presentations have become the brand’s platform of choice to test out new technologies that further invite its audience – whether watching the show in person or at home – into its universe. For example for its spring 2018 show in Milan, Formula 1-inspired TOMMYNOW DRIVE, attendees could scan QR codes to unlock more content on the collection and the manufacturing of a Mercedes racing car.
Last year the Current Global’s Innovators podcast spoke to Avery Baker, recently departed chief brand officer at Tommy Hilfiger, on the brand’s innovation strategy and how risk and authenticity play major roles in achieving it.
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How Rihanna’s Savage x Fenty is changing the lingerie game [Vogue]
What can luxury brands learn from Gucci about millennials? [Forbes]
How are you thinking about innovation? 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.
Moncler has enlisted Sophia the Robot to launch a digital campaign exploring the relationship between man and machine.
The campaign, which was developed by the New York Times’ creative agency T Brand Studio, promotes the label’s newest collection under the Genius line, this time by Japanese designer Kei Ninomiya. In the short film, Sophia is accompanied by actress and musician Ryan Destiny in a garden, exploring the definition of friendship.
“Sophia’s presence catalyzes new questions about the future of the social zeitgeist,” reads the accompanying copy. “In a new age of art and technology, will A.I. beings — all far more advanced than Sophia — become our friends? Will they develop their own capacity for thought and free will?”
The choice of Sophia comes down to not only its realistic features, but how it was conceived in the first place: the robot has been developed to portray emotions and warmth, not too dissimilar from a real human.
Moreover, the man versus machine theme is particularly relevant to Ninomiya’s collection as its clothing merge traditional origami traditions with futuristic designs, thus converging craft and technology.
The short ad campaign is available to watch on Moncler.com and through paid advertising on Instagram Stories.
This is Moncler’s sixth iteration of the Genius line, which takes inspiration from the ‘drop’ model made popular by streetwear labels, where merchandise is released on a recurring basis, rather than the traditional seasonal retail model. In following suit, the Italian brand hopes to engage with a younger generation who has become accustomed with having faster and more differentiated access to fashion.
This month, the Italian luxury label also launched Moncler Beyond, a wider advertising initiative highlighting 19 men and women who are “pushing the limits”, including British actor John Boyega and Stranger Things star Millie Bobby Brown.
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Strategy and creative shouldn’t be opposing forces, said the marketing team from Kate Spade at SXSW this week, highlighting how they balance both for every initiative they put out.
Mary Beech, executive VP and CMO, Kristen Naiman, SVP of brand creative, and Krista Neuhaus, senior director of digital brand marketing, spoke about how every digital initiative the brand embarks on involves understanding the symbiotic relationship between strategy, the story they want to tell, and the channel they want to tell it on.
The team finds balance between being strategic about what platform to invest their time and budget on, and what they should jump in early and learn along the way. They gave numerous examples of the way in which they have done this.
When Facebook Live came out, for instance, they developed a fully-fledged campaign shot professionally and hosted by a celebrity influencer, which quickly became resource-intensive and logistically tough, and made the brand realise that bigger is not always better. Eventually, the content was scaled back to feature in-the-moment footage often shot by the brand’s team.
Kate Spade had only recently decided Snapchat wasn’t the best platform for the brand when Instagram Stories came out, and rather than applying the same behind-the-scenes content plan to the feature, it began by engaging with fans via a series of quotes and questions to the audience – thus allowing them to plan content ahead and understand what stuck.
A new fragrance launch was the perfect opportunity for the brand to engage and potentially acquire a younger audience, the team said. YouTube was an easy choice for the campaign as the beauty category performs particularly well among the Gen Z audience in that space. Rather than pushing pre-roll ads based on basic demographics such as gender and age, Kate Spade uncovered queries that were high volume for their target demographic on YouTube – such as what love is, and how to become successful – and put paid media against it.
The result was a series of discovery-based ads featuring notable women aged 51, 31 and 21 (such as actress Laura Dern, as seen above) talking about a selection of topics in a very personal and honest tone of voice. In doing so, the brand targeted a woman who was looking for guidance or often solace, and aimed to provide a more meaningful brand interaction, even if short.
Working with influencers and quirky brand ambassadors is at the heart of Kate Spade’s engagement strategy otherwise, as with its #MissAdventure series. Its influencer strategy is split two-fold, said CMO Beech: long-time fans who speak to a very engaged audience and whose style and aesthetic is ‘on-brand’; and influencers who at first might seem like an odd choice for the brand, but help them acquire a new customer base. Man Repeller’s Leandra Medine is an example of the latter.
Kate Spade is a brand deeply rooted in America, so it has to fundamentally streamline its strategy for its global audience, Beech said. She highlighted the need to understand what is fundamentally only relevant in their home country, and what is universal. As a result, communications are ‘cleaner’ and simplified internationally, focused on non-verbal elements that are easier to digest in any territory or language. Its comedy series was deemed too regional, for instance, while elements such as color, the idea of joy, and even animals and a lot of product visuals are brought to the forefront worldwide.
The brand’s main intention, the team concluded, is to take an intent-rich customer and serve them a more narrative-driven and dynamic service over time.
Prada has worked with Lil Miquela, a computer-generated virtual influencer, to promote its Fall 2018 collection via animated GIFs on Instagram Stories.
To announce the partnership alongside the label’s Milan Fashion Week runway show, Miquela posted a series of short Instagram videos featuring the GIFs, and invited her followers to head to Stories and play. The call to action read: “Go off!! #pradagifs are live in stories! Start posting and tag me.”
Over on Prada’s account, the CGI avatar gave followers a mini tour of the show space, a new Rem Koolhaas venue, while flying a drone around, which she controlled with her phone.
GIFs ranged from inspiration of Prada’s current collection, as well as nods to more archival pieces such as the SS10 flame shoe and the SS11 banana print.
Miquela Souza, or Lil Miquela, is a virtual version of a 19-year-old Los Angeles based influencer, who boasts over 600k followers on Instagram, and whose creators remain purposively elusive.
Speaking to the Business of Fashion in February, Miquela explains her success: “Initially, it probably stems from curiosity. I think people stick around because they end up learning more about themselves through the questions they’re asking. I love being able to communicate, learn and talk to everyone from all corners of the world. There is a sense of community to it as well, the people who follow me end up being friends with each other and the communications that it opens up is inspiring.”
Since “launching”, the influencer has been seen wearing the likes of Vetements and Proenza Schouler, while her music track “Not Mine” has been played over 100K times on Spotify.
It’s always interesting looking back at the most-read stories on the site for the year – a hugely indicative view on what the big subjects have been and the direction of travel accordingly for the industry.
This year – while we’ve been living a particularly tough time for retail, with multiple bankruptcies and ongoing store closures – the lens through which we report, has only been a positive one.
There’s been a big focus on sustainability for instance, from new bioengineered materials actually hitting at a commercial level, through to the role blockchain can play in enabling greater transparency.
Artificial intelligence has also been a particularly pertinent subject – ranging from the impact it’s having on personalisation, to the future of automated stores and the role of voice technology.
On the subject of the future, our ongoing fascination with space travel hit fever pitch this year too – as a society at large, and within the fashion industry itself once more – which was reflected in our long-read on the future branding opportunity that lies in spacesuits.
On top of that in our 10 most popular stories on Fashion & Mash this year was a look at augmented reality, the evolving view on the store of the future and the way in which Instagram Stories is being used.
Ermenegildo Zegna has introduced a series of short videos on Instagram Stories telling the remarkable tales of real people through the mode of illustration.
The Italian brand collaborated with 30 artists globally to achieve the project, inviting each of them to creatively respond to each real-life story with the animations. The videos are being posted on Instagram Stories throughout the months of September and October, and will then live permanently on the brand’s profile.
“We wanted to explore a new digital creative element to our global Defining Moments campaign and put the consumer at the heart of the story. We collaborated with artists from around the world to bring to life our consumers stories in an unexpected creative way that speaks to the dynamic video landscape of social media. Instagram Stories provided the perfect playing ground for this type of storytelling which could be consumed in a short snackable and tappable way,” says Zegna’s creative director, Alessandro Sartori.
The social activation is part of the brand’s Defining Moments campaign for the AW17 season, which started in SS17 and aims to reinforce a spirit where “every story begins with a moment”. This season, the campaign stars American actor Robert de Niro and French dancer and choreographer Benjamin Millepied, who share a passion for New York and, according to the brand, a natural penchant for elegance.
As a wider part of the campaign, the Defining Moments platform on Zegna.com will feature conservations from successful individuals of different ages and cultural backgrounds. On the microsite, users are also able to submit their own Defining Moments story for the chance to win a Made to Measure Zegna suit.
Instagram Stories is the current darling of the fashion world, or so it seemed in New York this past week as each and every designer brand took to the platform alongside their runway shows.
Fashion week has long been a central part of the social media strategy for these businesses – a ripe opportunity to capture what’s being putting out into the world with their new collections and build noise around their brands accordingly.
Providing fans with a “first look” or a step “behind-the-scenes” is somewhat par for the course these days, however. Much like live-streaming is no longer newsworthy (though Instagram Live was also in heavy use this season), neither really is a glimpse backstage or front row – more par for the course.
What Instagram Stories has provided however is an opportunity to do all of that at a rapid pace, without having to worry about the quality of the content. As with Snapchat before it, it’s the fact this content disappears 24-hours later that’s so appealing to these brands. Blink-and-you-miss-it as standard provides the exclusivity they appreciate, while not compromising on the beautiful feeds they are otherwise curating on their main accounts.
What’s more, this is a space that can generate big numbers – of the 700 million users on Instagram worldwide, 250 million are viewing the Stories feature everyday. What’s interesting to look at then, is how exactly brands are taking things a step further and playing with content in this environment. Head over to Forbes to read the highlights straight from Instagram Stories this season, including from Ralph Lauren, Marc Jacobs and Michael Kors.
You’d be hard pushed to find anyone thinking about campaign integration quite so much as British fashion brand Ted Baker these days. Its latest campaign for the season includes everything from a 360 VR experience, to an interactive window display, a shoppable video, over 2,000 different assets for social media, a contest-led Instagram Stories initiative and a digital look book.
And that’s just the half of it.
Keeping Up With The Bakers, as the initiative is called, centres in on a young family living on Tailor’s Lane – a (pun-intended) fictional street that is reminiscent of something between Stepford Wives and Pleasantville – a sort of suburban utopia with a strange undercurrent.
That feeling is represented in the 360-degree video more than anywhere else – a combination of stills and cinemagraph-like animations, it sees each of the looks displayed on the characters available to shop, all the while all sorts of other activity and hidden content takes place around it. A girl waves from the window, a car boot opens, a shadow passes in the doorway, the fire flickers, an oven opens, the washing line rotates, and more.
Gail Dobinson, global head of marketing and PR at Ted Baker, says the team learnt lots from its holiday film Mission Impeccable about doing shoppable content well. On the one hand, the clarity of the clothing needed to be stronger, she explained, while consumers also wanted to be able to save just one part of a look and not the whole thing. Both of those factors are represented this season.
The creative work was no mean feat either – the team built the entire set, including the kitchen, garden, supermarket and more. Done in partnership with Happy Finish and Wirewax, the film is available on TedBaker.com as well as exclusive UK and US partner sites ASOS.com and Nordstrom.com. The VR version meanwhile is presented via Google cardboard, of which Ted Baker is distributing 20,000 in key stores, though the resulting content is not shoppable.
In-store the brand has then teamed up with Nexus Studios’ Interactive Arts division to create interactive windows that invite passers-by to peek into the Bakers’ private affairs. By placing their hands onto palm print sensors on the windows, they will trigger cameras that catch them in the act and composite their images onto elements of the window set including a television, window and portrait on the wall. Facial recognition technology has been utilised to make that a reality without a green screen background.
Simultaneously, the same photo will be composited onto an emblematic image from the ‘Meet the Bakers’ world and will be published on the Ted Baker website. From there users will be able to share it across social media channels.
Over on Instagram meanwhile, Ted Baker worked with longtime digital agency partner Poke once again, to invite users to complete daily challenges through the Stories feature. That part of the platform particularly, was turned into a “neighbourhood gossip channel”, with episodic content making the story into somewhat of a soap opera.
All in, Dobinson said the team used 2,000 assets across channels, edited down from near to 8,000. Each platform was thought about individually so as to ensure the creative work fit within the specific parameters each one entails. “In the past we would have retrofitted to channels, but all is now really thought out before and integrated across the board,” she said. It really is about thinking 360-degrees in every sense.
Chanel grabbed everyone’s attention once again at Paris Fashion Week – this time for another future-focused theme with its spacecraft set design. Kudos to the work that went into that but can you imagine the budget? Even Karl Lagerfeld’s visions have got to come back down to earth (excuse the pun) at some point – where is the true value, is the question? Jeff Bezos of Amazon meanwhile, is genuinely exploring how to ship products to the moon.
Elsewhere this week, we’re also talking about Natalie Massenet’s other role running her own VC firm alongside her new co-chair position at Farfetch; the incoming of robots at retail; news of Everlane ditching Facebook Messenger notifications (an interesting move that may spell some serious indication around chatbot ROI); and under our tech header, a must-read from Wired on Ford’s future city including hoverboards that carry shopping and drone deliveries to skyscrapers.