Campaigns e-commerce Editor's pick Retail technology

Lacoste launches shoppable TV ads during French Open on NBCU

Pieces from Lacoste’s latest collection will be shoppable via television ads aired during the French Open on NBC Universal this year.

Anyone watching any of star player Novak Djokovic’s matches, will be alerted by NBC Universal to hold their phone cameras up to the screen to capture the “On-Air Shoppable Moment”. By scanning a QR code, Lacoste’s website will then pop up, giving them the option to buy products.

The outfits that Djokovic will wear for his matches will also be available for purchase alongside other pieces from the collection. The first shoppable match will air this Saturday, June 1.

Shoppable TV is expected to roll out in a few months on a number of the television network’s other channels, including NBC, NBC Sports, Bravo, E! and Telemundo. NBCU already tested a prototype of the new technology during a broadcast of morning show TODAY, which earned around 50,000 scans in five minutes, according to AdWeek.

The shoppable TV experience opens up a new opportunity for brands that otherwise wouldn’t see value in traditional TV ads. “By pairing brands with our premium content, owning every stage of the purchase funnel and removing the barriers consumers traditionally encounter between seeing a product and making a purchase, we’re giving marketers a direct sales channel to millions of viewers across the country,” explained NBCU’s executive vice president, Josh Feldman.

Shoppable ads are already a trend for retailers in the digital space. Walmart-owned streaming service Vudu will be launching new interactive shows later this year with ads that allow viewers to purchase the featured products through a pop-up window. Last year, British Ted Baker published an online short film featuring the latest collections of the company, and all the clothing items had a clickable icon.  

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

Editor's pick product sustainability

Balenciaga brings awareness to animal conservation with exclusive Farfetch collection

Balenciaga is launching a capsule collection exclusive to luxury e-tailer Farfetch with the aim to raise awareness to the conservation of endangered animal species. Having a positive impact on animal welfare is also key to the design of the collection, which will be entirely free from leather, fur and down materials.

Available in a limited edition across ready-to-wear, shoes and accessories for women, men and kids, a few of the collection pieces will feature illustrations of threatened animal species, such as the North White Rhinoceros, the Asian Elephant and the Blue Whale.

Upon launching the collection this week, Balenciaga also contributed to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the world’s largest environmental network.

“Balenciaga is pleased to launch this exclusive collection. Bringing awareness to threatened species and supporting the conservation actions of IUCN is part of our vision,” said Cédric Charbit, CEO of the label.

Last year in March, Lacoste also showed support to animal conservation with the Lacoste x Save Our Species collection where it replaced its well-known crocodile logo with those of endangered species. Shirts were available in limited editions that corresponded to how much of each individual breed remained in the wild, such as the Javan Rhino (67).

How are you thinking about sustainability? We’re all about finding you the perfect partners for your sustainability strategy. 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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ICYMI: Farfetch acquires Stadium Goods, the UN’s fashion climate charter, ASOS profit warning

A round-up of everything you might have missed in relevant fashion, retail and tech industry news over the past week.

  • Farfetch acquires Stadium Goods: Why sneaker resale is becoming big business [Forbes]
  • Milestone fashion industry charter for climate action launched [UN]
  • ASOS issues profit warning as Christmas sales falter [The Industry]
  • China’s retailers turn to real-world surveillance to track big spenders [Wired]
  • Alexa wants you to answer questions [Cognition X]
  • Is the face-swapping robot with multiple ‘personalities’ cool or just plain creepy? [Mashable]
  • Racist, sexist AI could be a bigger problem than lost jobs [Forbes]
  • Is tech too easy to use? [New York Times]
  • Kering launches first ‘regenerative sourcing’ standard for fashion suppliers [Edie
  • Francisco Costa is back—with the chicest sustainable beauty brand you’ve ever seen [Vogue]
  • The first “plastic-free” supermarket aisle [BBC]
  • Lacoste joins list of brands banning mohair  [Fashion United]
  • Companies used to stay quiet about politics. In 2018, social causes became integral to their branding. [Vox]
  • Is online shopping better or worse for the environment? [WWD]
  • Here’s how Nike, Alibaba and Walmart are reinventing retail [Wired]
  • The future of fashion is made-to-order, according to Farfetch CEO José Neves [Fast Company]
  • Amazon Go eyes London’s West End for first UK store [Retail Gazette]
  • Why Starbucks is experimenting with experience-based retail [Digiday]
  • E-commerce is thriving in Africa despite hurdles to the “last mile” [Quartz]
  • ‘It’s a big data game’: Startups compete to reinvent the convenience store [Digiday]
  • Lululemon expands test for 1st loyalty program [Retail Dive]
  • You can try on the latest Adidas sneaker drop on Snapchat [Engadget]
  • Mall of America debuts holiday AR scavenger hunt [Mobile Marketer]
  • Mr Porter launches gift assistant with Facebook Messenger [Fashion Network]
  • Lululemon and Strava team up to launch a series of virtual races [Runners World]
  • Calvin Klein kills print ads — will other fashion brands follow suit? [Footwear News]
  • H&M teams up with cult brand Eytys for unisex collection [Fashion United]
  • Millennial consumers rule the luxury market – how are brands coping? [SCMP]
  • Samsung’s Supreme collaboration in China is with a “counterfeit organization,” Supreme says [Quartz]
  • LVMH expands portfolio with $2.6B Belmond travel deal [Retail Dive]
  • H&M says full year sales increased by 5 percent [Fashion United]
  • Alberta Ferretti under investigation by Italy’s antitrust authority [Fashion United]
  • Self-Portrait is growing in the age of streetwear — without flashy logos or sneakers [Fashionista]
  • Prada pulls monkey designs following outcry over racist imagery [Complex]
  • Diversity on magazine covers increased by a record double-digit percentage in 2018 [Fashionista]

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.

Editor's pick product

Lacoste replaces famous crocodile logo with endangered species

Lacoste x Save Our Species
Lacoste x Save Our Species

Lacoste has replaced its iconic crocodile logo with endangered species in an exclusive collection of 10 polo shirts in partnership with the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

The Lacoste x Save Our Species line sees embroidered appliques of the Anegada Ground Iguana (only 450 left in the wild), the Sumatran Tiger (350), the Saola (250), the California Condor (231), the Cao-vit Gibbon (150), the Kakapo (157), the Javan Rhino (67), the Northern Sportive Lemur (50), the Burmese Roofed Turtle (40) and the Vaquita (30).

The quantity of shirts available to buy corresponds to the numbers of how many of each breed remains in the wild. All proceeds of the sale of the shirts will benefit conservation efforts for the species worldwide accordingly.

Lacoste x Save Our Species
Lacoste x Save Our Species

The collection, which was developed with creative agency BETC Paris, launched alongside the brand’s runway show at Paris Fashion Week yesterday, which also referenced a tree development project first established by Rene Lacoste and his wife at the start of World War II.

The initiative protected a dozen forestry workers in France from being sent to labor camps during the German occupation, and saw 50,000 trees being planted. That served as inspiration for the new season’s main collection, as well as the endangered species polo shirts.

As the brand’s current designer Felipe Oliveira Baptista said: “This is our way of planting trees in 2018.” It marks the start of a three-year partnership between Lacoste and the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

digital snippets e-commerce social media technology

Digital snippets: Valentino’s Instagram strategy, YNAP and IBM team up, Lacoste’s AR book


Beyond Paris Fashion Week, and on past SXSW, here’s your round-up of the latest fashion and technology stories to know from the month of March…

  • In the age of the algorithm, top Instagram brand Valentino needs to rethink its strategy [Digiday]

  • Yoox Net-a-porter Group, IBM partner on software, tech development [WWD]

  • Lacoste enriches its brand campaign with augmented reality book [PSFK]

  • The North Face to launch insanely smart Watson-powered mobile shopping app next month [Venture Beat]

  • True Religion is equipping its sales staff with Apple watches [Apparel News]

  • ‘It can bottle our energy’: Why Bloomingdale’s is going all in on Snapchat [Digiday]

  • Bloomingdale’s spurs branded conversation through emoji app [Luxury Daily]

  • Why Uniqlo is now selling through mobile shopping app Spring [Fashionista]

  • American Apparel offering on-demand delivery via Postmates partnership [TechCrunch]

  • Alibaba spreads its wings into VR sector [China Daily]

  • L’Oreal creates unbranded content hub to woo beauty fans [AdAge]

  • Net-a-Porter’s digital chief on how brands can get up close and personal to consumers [Marketing Magazine]

  • In the store of the future, your shopping bag connects to the internet [Fast Company]

  • How do you bring personalised shopping technology to stores? Adobe has an idea [Fashionista]

  • More influencers, fewer posts: How Instagram’s algorithm will affect fashion brands [Digiday]

  • In the future, Instagram and Facebook could be amongst the largest retailers online [WWD]

  • To big brands, from a millennial: Snapchat filters are where it’s at [AdAge]

  • How Pinterest knows who’s down to shop and who isn’t [AdAge]

  • Personal shopping services seek scale [BoF]

  • Brotailers market to millennial men who hate to shop [BrandChannel]

  • Venture capitalists: e-commerce funding to tighten [WWD]

  • Flush with tech wealth, San Francisco warms to fashion [BoF]

  • E-commerce in Brazil gets more mobile [eMarketer]

  • FedEx to expand e-commerce reach in China, Japan [WSJ]
Blocks Editor's pick technology

Six things your clothes will be able to do in the future

A version of this post first appeared on 

Pauline van Dongen

Spending on wearable technology is expected to reach $53 billion worldwide by 2019, according to Juniper Research. Sound a bit surprising? Rightly so. At the moment, the wearable tech on the market is seemingly designed for gadget geeks or fitness fanatics, and not much else. Even the Apple Watch leaves little to be desired in the fashion department. So where’s all the good-looking stuff we actually want to, you know, wear?

Fortunately we’ve seen the future, and we can tell you it’s not all going to be about smartwatches, pieces of jewellery that flash when our phone rings or virtual reality goggles. The launch of Ralph Lauren’s PoloTech T-shirt in August is evidence of the kind of appealing connected technology that is slowly moving into the apparel realm. This one might still be geared towards the athletic market first and foremost – it allows the wearer to capture biometric information including heart rate, breathing rate, steps taken and more – but it’s a good move forward.

And there’s lots of other work being done in science and technology that will change the way we dress further. Whether it’s about controlling devices through the cuff of a sleeve, or quickly shortening the length of our skirts for a night out, here’s some of the clothing-related technologies you can look forward to in the future.

Items that change colour

This one is a no-brainer. Why wouldn’t we want our white T-shirts to change to a darker grey if we spill something on them, or a polka dot dress to shift to stripes when we spot someone else wearing the same one? In the future, being able to change the colour of your look will be easy;  at the moment there’s lots being worked on in this realm to make it so. Most of it is similar to the Global Hypercolor t-shirts from the 80s and 90s – remember those ones that changed color when they got hot for instance? Look out for the likes of The Unseen, a London-based brand fusing science and design, which is already experimenting heavily in this space.

The Unseen

Jeans that communicate

Walk into a tech conference, and you’ll see lots of people speaking into the Apple Watches on their wrists, a la Inspector Gadget. But interactions with the items on our bodies are about to get even weirder. Next year, Google will launch Project Jacquard with Levi’s, weaving conductive yarn into jeans to allow touch interactivity on the fabric itself. The idea is to provide simple functionalities that will free us from using our mobile phones all of the time — like being able to request an Uber, silence our phones, take a selfie or even turn a lightbulb on or off. A prototype saw the same idea embedded in the sleeve of a jacket made on Savile Row. It might sound wacky now, but more seamless interactions are the way of the future.

Clothes that charge your other devices

Garments that feature solar panels and a small portable battery that you can plug the likes of your phone into to give it a little more juice, have been out in the market for a while. Last year, Tommy Hilfiger launched a jacket designed for the great outdoors with solar strips attached to the back of it, while Dutch designer Pauline van Dongen has a great looking T-shirt that does the same job. In the future, designers will also harness kinetic energy from our bodies for a charge.

Tommy Hilfiger

Jackets with body temperature controls

Speaking of energy, in everyday clothes, we’re often hot one minute and cold the next. Wearable tech’s future will be about being able to control your body temperature through your coat. Ever sat in one of those cars with heated seats? Imagine something like that, but far more stylish. If you’re after even more technology in your life, there’s no reason why you couldn’t then connect your body temperature information from your outerwear with your thermostat at home so your apartment is just the right temperature once you walk in, too.

A wardrobe made to measure

There’s an ongoing amount of work being done around making sure clothes really fit us through 3D body scanning and detailed algorithms. Imagine being able to customise the size of everything you buy, whether it’s from Asos or J.Crew, and not just a high-end designer name. Knowing that a dress is going to be made to perfectly fit our body shape, or the drama of purchasing jeans is going to be completely seamless, will make the click-to-buy button all the more tempting. Start-ups like Acustom Apparel, which uses the latest 3D measuring technology to digitally tailor menswear, is just one in a long list of companies exploring this space. Others like Orpiva, which launches this autumn, are also incorporating ideas such as being able to snap a photo of someone on the street in an item you like in order to seek out similar looks online. From there you can then virtually try them on too.

Styles that shift in shape

Shape-shifting styles are a bit further away in the future, but they’re not a complete pipe dream. A video released by Lacoste in 2012 set the tone (see above), showing clothes that shift colour, sleeves that lengthen and silhouettes that grow slimmer. This kind of technology is based on complicated fiber science — i.e. changing the molecular structures of textiles — but it’s something that researchers at the likes of OMsignal, the technology company behind that PoloTech shirt from Ralph Lauren, are working on. Pauline van Dongen is also exploring how 3D printing can be used to achieve such changes, adapting structural flexibilities so items can be more tightly woven at one point, and more open at another. And sportswear label Chromat just revealed a dress in collaboration with Intel during New York Fashion Week that features a carbon fibre framework that expands and collapses based on the wearer’s body temperature and stress levels.

It’s not impossible to imagine a future where a perfectly-fitting dress could change colour, sleeve and hem length depending on the occasion; maintain the right temperature in response to the environment; and be used to charge a dying phone battery or send a message to a loved one, too. In the future, we’ll be surprised just how little our clothes once did for us.

Editor's pick film social media

Lacoste partners with social media star Zach King for series of video illusions


Lacoste has enlisted film artist Zach King to create five “magic” videos to celebrate the re-launch of its digital flagship at

King (@finalcutking) has become known for his use of special effects to create awe-inspiring six second clips. In the past these have included illusions like stealing the Eiffel Tower, turning himself into a dog and walking through walls. Doing so has amassed him two million followers on Vine and 1.4 million on Instagram.

Now in partnership with Lacoste and agency BTEC Digital, he is revealing a series of videos featuring the brand’s collection as well as his co-star puppy (@thekingspuppy, also known as Indiana or Indy). The first clip, released on October 20, sees him drawing the items he wants to wear on a wall before jumping into them. Another sees him using a tablet to online shop, pulling t-shirts straight from the screen and onto his body, as well as that of Indy’s.

Further videos still to be released between now and November 5 suggest a juggling act as well as further appearances of the puppy wearing Lacoste. Each is being revealed on the brand’s Vine and Instagram accounts, where a number of still images of the duo have also been posted.

Editor's pick mobile technology

Lacoste launches virtual try-on app for new LCST line


Lacoste has introduced a new component to its augmented reality app that allows shoppers to see what they would look like in its range of LCST trainers.

The virtual try-on experience uses in-store POS to trigger interactive 3-D models of each look. The shopper merely places their foot on designated floor graphics in selected retailers, and scans it with their smartphone. From there they can see superimposed models of the entire product line, swiping through from one to the next and exploring the details of each.

They can also purchase directly through the app, as well as share their images via social media.

“Augmented reality offers retailers a new way of delivering immersive digital experiences in the real world,” says Matt Key, managing director of digital innovations agency, Engine Creative, which is behind the project.

“The LCST app uses AR to provide shoppers an easy way of checking out the new trainer range without having to wait for a shop assistant or take the time to take off their old shoes. It’s perfect for the young target audience and can be used in Lacoste stores as well as in concessions to differentiate LCST from other brands.”

The app otherwise enables users to scan images of the Lacoste crocodile pin wherever they might be to activate a world of digital content.

LacosteLCST4 LacosteLCST3


Blocks film

Cannes Lions 2014 round-up: fashion and beauty winners


The biggest winner of the week at the 61st annual Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity (the ad industry’s version of the Oscars if you will), was arguably a fashion brand. Or a department store in fact. British retailer Harvey Nichols walked away with four of the grand prix awards, including in the integrated, film, press and the promo & activation categories, as well as gold Lions in direct and outdoor, another two in promo & activation again, and a silver and bronze in design.

Sorry I Spent it on Myself, as the campaign was called, was a push for Christmas 2013 that saw shoppers encouraged to buy expensive presents for themselves in place of for their loved ones. It was anchored by a gift collection comprised of a range of “ultra-low net worth” items, or tongue-in-cheek stocking-fillers as alternatives for those who have self-indulged. Think sink plugs, paperclips, even a bag of gravel. All very neatly packaged up of course.

Created by agency adam&eveDDB, it was launched with a print campaign as well as an amusing commercial online, in-store and in cinemas, which documents the reactions from those receiving the budget line of gifts.

Prasoon Joshi, jury president of the titanium and integrated categories referred to the initiative as “unapologetic, very confident, funny and charming – everything our profession is all about”. According to Harvey Nichols, 26,000 of the budget products sold out within three days, and overall the campaign helped the retailer have one of its best Christmas periods to date.

Here’s a highlight of some of the other big winners under the heading of fashion and beauty:

G-Star Raw: The grand prix in the first ever product design category at Cannes Lions went to G-Star for its Raw for the Oceans collection. This is a line made out of ocean plastics in partnership with Bionic Yarn and co-designed by Pharrell Williams. Initiatives that inspire change in the world, whether focused on the environment on gender equality, on protecting children and more, are unsurprisingly a regular feature on the winner lists at the festival, but it was impressive to see this travel over to product as well.

Wren: It was no surprise to see this LA-based clothing brand walk away with a prize for its First Kiss campaign. Shot by Tatia Pilieva, this three-and-a-half-minute spot documents 20 strangers making-out for the first time. It’s one of the major viral success stories of 2014 so far, garnering a huge 85 million views since launch, and reportedly increasing traffic to the Wren website by 14,000%, and upping sales in the online store by over 13,600% compared to the week before it launched. It also won a bronze in film craft.

adidas: A series of awards went to the D Rose Jump Store from adidas, including golds in design and outdoor and silver in PR and in branded content & entertainment. Created by TBWA London, this was a physical space designed to engage kids who have grown up on council estates in Hackney, rightly cynical, and often hostile, towards brands. It did so with NBA all-star and adidas athlete Derrick Rose – a relatively unknown name in the UK – placing him front and centre of a pop-up shop converted from a rundown community centre, where all the shoes were free. The challenge was to jump to reach them on the 10ft high shelves placed around the room. Rose is someone who has risen out of one of the most violent neighbourhoods in the US, therefore coming from a background that mirrored the kids being targeted. Over 2,500 of them turned up to watch the action, and the resulting film reached 370,000 in just five days.

Levi’s: As part of its Station to Station project for autumn/winter 2013/14, which saw a vintage train repurposed into a moving art studio travelling across the US, Levi’s decided to likewise reinvent a series of timeless tools.  “Iconic instruments of the past, [were] deconstructed and repurposed into 21st century social devices,” reads the write-up from agency AKQA. They included a 1901 Underwood typewriter tailor-made for Twitter, a 1956 Gibson guitar for Soundcloud, a 1932 Graflex camera for Instagram and more. The initiative won both silver and bronze Lions in the cyber category.  

Apotek Hjärtat: This Swedish pharmacy launched a new line of hair products under the name of Apolosophy in early 2014. It wanted to raise awareness and to encourage people to trial, so did so by demonstrating how it can bring your hair to life, by literally bringing an advertisement to life. ‘Blowing in the Wind’, as the campaign was called, saw sensors placed on digital screens in Stockholm subway station platforms. Every time a train arrived, the model’s hair would blow across her face. It won silver Lions in cyber and design, and a bronze in media.

John Lewis: Another Christmas 2013 department store winner from adam&eveDDB, was the Bear & Hare campaign for John Lewis. This won silver awards in film and film craft for its hand-animated spot featuring Lily Allen covering Keane’s Somewhere Only We Know, and a bronze in the titanium and integrated category. Check out all the details of the campaign in this earlier post.

Lacoste: Another silver film Lion was awarded to The Big leap, an arresting 60-second film depicting “a man about to risk it all to win the game of his life”. That leap is in the game of love, as demonstrated by actor Paul Hamy building up the courage to go in for a kiss with model Anna Brewster in one scene, while another (the metaphor) sees him leaping off the side of a building and falling towards the ground until their lips lock. The film was created by BETC and directed by Seb Edwards.

Other silver and bronze awards went to:

Nike Cricket for its Make Every Yard Count campaign in India
The Boobs campaign from Pacific Brands Underwear Group in Australia
Two films in the Made from Cool campaign by Jack & Jones in Denmark

And further bronzes to the likes of: Rip Curl, Uniqlo, Foot Locker, Rolex, Ray-Ban, Havaianas. Check out last year’s winners, here.


Courage underpins beautiful new Lacoste campaign film

#LiveBeautifully seems an apt hashtag for the latest ad from Lacoste. Created to support the brand’s “Life is a Beautiful Sport” campaign, it’s an arresting 60-second film depicting “a man about to risk it all to win the game of his life”.

That game, it’s suggested, is love. The Big Leap, as the spot itself is called, sees actor Paul Hamy building up the courage to go in for a kiss with model Anna Brewster in one scene, while another (the metaphor) sees him leaping off the side of a building and falling towards the ground until their lips lock. 

The film was created by BETC and directed by Seb Edwards. It features “You & Me”, a song by Disclosure featuring Eliza Doolittle remixed by Flume. 

It launched in France during the Winter Olympics Opening Ceremony, and will be broadcast globally from March 2014 onwards.