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business Editor's pick Events Retail technology

Everything you need to know from World Retail Congress

Retail’s ability to disrupt and update its strategies alongside a broader call for more sustainable practices were among the key topics at this year’s World Retail Congress in Amsterdam.

“High velocity retail” and “the future of retail” were the themes for the conference in 2019, with technological advancement standing out as a priority for retailers. “If you’re slow at picking up these nuances, these trends and things that are happening all around us all the time, you’re going to be a loser,” said Lord Stuart Rose, former chairman of British department store Marks and Spencer, now chair of online grocer Ocado.

There was also a conversation around slowing down, however, which tied into consumer expectations of purpose-driven brands. “I think the brands and retailers who will win will be the ones who can tap into meaning,” said philosopher Robert Rowland Smith.

Here’s everything else you need to know…

TOP STORIES
  • High velocity retail: Why the World Retail Congress 2019 was a breath of fresh air [Forbes]
  • Slower retail: Has the industry hit its speed limit? [FashionUnited]
  • Lord Rose: Death of the high street is “overblown” [Retail Gazette]
  • Amazon revealed as the world’s most valuable retail brand, but it shouldn’t rest on its laurels [Warc]
INNOVATION
  • Levi’s to allow shoppers to customize their own ‘greener’ jeans [FashionUnited]
  • Retail chiefs dismiss AI job threat, promise more training [Reuters]
  • Google launches tool to help retailers boost customer experience [Retail Week]
  • Walmart International CEO on data privacy, the failed Asda merger and leveling the playing field for women [FashionUnited]
RETAIL UPDATES
  • Zalando to expand delivery from stores to bag missed sales [Reuters]
  • Yoox Net-a-Porter to become one of the first to launch shoppable Instagram account [ChargedRetail]
  • JD.com exec Ling on the future of ‘boundless retail’ [Retail Week]
BUSINESS MODELS
  • Retailers should collaborate to survive: “You can’t do it alone” [CyclingIndustry]
  • Retailers say business model needs to change for them to remain relevant [Enterprise Times]
  • Millennials are driving growth in emerging subscription retail services [FootwearNews]
  • Superdry chairman urges boardrooms to hire young people amid online shift [Retail Gazette]

How are you thinking about innovation? We’re all about finding you the perfect partners to do so. 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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business Campaigns digital snippets e-commerce product Retail social media sustainability technology

ICYMI: The rise of watchdog culture, new zero-waste platform, Under Armour’s spacewear

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

TOP STORIES
  • Diet Prada, Estée Laundry and the rise of watchdog culture: harmful or helpful? [BoF]
  • A coalition of giant brands is about to change how we shop forever, with a new zero-waste platform [Fast Company]
  • Under Armour to create ‘spacewear’ for Virgin Galactic astronauts [Fashion United]
TECHNOLOGY
  • Amazon’s new robot delivers packages to rich people [Quartz]
  • Marks & Spencer launches AI-powered photo search on mobile site [The Industry]
SUSTAINABILITY & PURPOSE
  • Fast fashion exploits everyone it touches [Quartz]
  • The world’s largest packaged food company will ditch single-use plastic [Fast Company]
  • Exploitation ‘rife’ in UK textile industry [BBC]
  • The Kate Spade brand is donating $1 million to mental health organizations [Racked]
RETAIL & E-COMMERCE
  • The Body Shop to turn its stores into ‘activist hubs’ to combat the high street [Marketing Week]
  • A look inside Virgil Abloh’s Louis Vuitton pop-up in Miami [Hypebae]
  • Net-a-porter, Mr Porter enhance personal shopping services [WWD]
MARKETING & SOCIAL MEDIA
  • Avon apologizes for anti-cellulite ad after being accused of ‘shaming women’ [The Guardian]
  • Amazon knows what you buy. And it’s building a big ad business from it. [NYT]
  • Brand purpose advertising will be the making – or breaking – of Stylist [The Drum]
  • Celebrities and social media influencers sign transparency pact [The Industry]
  • CVS unveils initiative to label retouched images [BoF]
PRODUCT
  • Is 2019 the year men’s make-up goes mainstream? [Vogue]
  • Asos to launch its first own-brand homeware collection [Fashion United]
BUSINESS
  • How serious is luxury’s China crisis? [BoF]
  • Burberry upbeat despite Q3 sales dip, monthly drops are strong [Fashion Network]
  • The RealReal in talks with banks for IPO [BoF]
  • Avery Baker stepping down at Tommy Hilfiger [WWD]
  • Karl Lagerfeld was a no-show at both Chanel couture shows [Reuters]
CULTURE
  • Dolce & Gabbana advert completely ruined my career, says Chinese model Zuo Ye as she breaks her silence over race row [SCMP]
  • How bots ruined buying sneakers [Complex]
  • This is what the future of sneaker reselling looks like [Highsnobiety]

How are you thinking about 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
business data digital snippets e-commerce product Retail social media sustainability technology

ICYMI: Bitcoin millionaires love streetwear, voice shopping on the rise, solving the last mile

Bitcoin millionaires are coming for streetwear
Bitcoin millionaires are coming for streetwear

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

TOP STORIES
  • Bitcoin millionaires are coming for streetwear [GQ]
  • Alexa, I need … everything. Voice shopping sales could reach $40 billion by 2022 [USAToday]
  • Solving for the last mile is retail’s next big disruption [RetailDive]
  • What Gucci’s gun stance says about the end of corporate neutrality [BoF]
TECHNOLOGY
  • Levi’s revolutionizes finishing process, driving more sustainable supply chain [TCDaily]
  • Unilever and IBM’s blockchain experiment: a silver bullet for digital or a ‘glitzy’ quick fix? [TheDrum]
  • JD.com’s new accelerator focuses on blockchain startups [TechCrunch]
  • JD.com upgrades AR/VR capabilities for beauty [WWD]
SUSTAINABILITY
  • Why is it so hard for clothing manufacturers to pay a living wage? [Racked]
RETAIL & E-COMMERCE
  • Wear now, pay later: credit shopping goes digital [BoF]
  • ‘To find it, just Boohoo it’: How the fast-fashion retailer is making a go of visual search [Glossy]
  • Stitch Fix CEO Katrina Lake talks data, Amazon—and hot tubs [FastCompany]
  • Macy’s just confirmed the end of department stores as we know them [Business Insider]
MARKETING & SOCIAL MEDIA
  • The Outnet is using its chatbot to push out influencer content [Glossy]
  • The Gap wins over Instagram with this empowering breastfeeding ad [FastCompany]
  • Allbirds is selling a limited-edition shoe exclusively on Instagram [Glossy]
PRODUCT
  • Hunter teams up with Target for limited edition collection [TheIndustry]
  • The US is now buying more stretchy pants than blue jeans [QZ]
BUSINESS
  • Why Burberry chose Riccardo Tisci [BoF]
  • How Guess mismanaged its #MeToo crisis [BoF]
  • Marks & Spencer publishes gender pay gap and pledges to extend monitoring to age, ethnicity and disability [TheIndustry]
Categories
Editor's pick film

Six of the best animated ads this Christmas

Barbour's Christmas 2017 ad: The Snowman and the Snowdog
Barbour’s Christmas 2017 ad: The Snowman and the Snowdog

Over the past decade, UK department store John Lewis has established itself as a source of eagerly anticipated Christmas adverts. Intensely human in their application, it’s the emotion they engender that wins over the hearts of the nation time and time again.

What’s interesting however is that often they’re not really focused on the humans in them at all. Nearly all of them have equally included some level of CGI or animated work, from bears to foxes, snowmen to penguins. This year, it’s a monster living under the bed called Moz and the tale of his unlikely friendship with a young boy that’s generating millions of views.

Whether you like this particular iteration or not, there’s no denying John Lewis’s impact in the space. This year, there are more animated ads than ever; many of them likewise focused on some warm and fuzzy feelings.

Read on for a round-up of six other animated ads that have caught our eye…


Barbour


Barbour continues its partnership with The Snowman and The Snowdog for the second year, introducing a short campaign that follows young boy Billy into adulthood with his family. Included are his wife, his daughter and the now elderly dog, as well as the returning snowman himself. Original footage from the animated film, which was released in 2012 to mark the 30-year anniversary of The Snowman, is featured in the ad alongside 45 seconds of new content.


Tiffany & Co


This animated ad follows a wooden artist’s mannequin in a snowy landscape discovering various Tiffany & Co products in the snow; a diamond encrusted key, a ring adorning a tree and a bracelet around a rabbit’s neck. Throughout the tale, a big snowball is rolling around, eventually doing so over the mannequin until it breaks apart to reveal the best gift of all; the classic Tiffany blue box.


David Jones


This documentary style campaign from Australian department store David Jones, follows an animated gingerbread man as he leaves his home for a backpacking adventure, collecting gifts for his family along the way. He travels through London, Paris and New York, before being knocked over by a dog and falling into pieces. However, hope is not lost, as a confectioner finds and reassembles the traveller, and sends him home where he and his family embrace within the window of the storefront in Sydney. The David Jones Christmas windows are always eagerly awaited in Australia, and this advert cleverly revealed their theme.


Jigsaw


This fully animated ad from UK store Jigsaw follows the story of two neighbours who leave gifts anonymously for each other every Christmas under the tagline “Together through the years”. One year however, the boy, now fully grown, goes to leave a gift at his neighbour’s house and finds she no longer lives there. Fortunately she returns to deliver him his present and tell him where she has moved. Soon he is at her new door with another gift of his own. The closing line for this advert is “Be together this Christmas”.


Christian Louboutin


In this playful advert from Christian Louboutin, when a female homeowner leaves her house, all of the baubles on her tree magically come to life. They dance around the tree unwrapping gifts and playing with what is inside (including various Louboutin gifts). When they hear her getting home they then hastily fix up the decorations and jump back into place just as she enters to see all of her shoes unwrapped and adorning her tree.


Marks & Spencer


M&S presented a family-oriented campaign this year based on a story about Paddington Bear the night before Christmas. Tied into the launch of the Paddington 2 film, this exclusive tale sees the young bear accidentally discovering a burglar (and mistaking him for Father Christmas), then going from house to house redelivering the stolen gifts.

Categories
Editor's pick film

The best of the rest of this year’s festive film campaigns

Christmas holiday festive film fashion
Warehouse’s #TheGirlsRoom Christmas campaign

The holiday season has become a big opportunity for retailers and brands to create a deeper emotional connection with their customers at a pivotal time of year for spend. 2016 continues much in the same way, powered by big launches including a message of female empowerment from M&S with Mrs Claus, another iconic nod from John Lewis with Buster the Boxer, and a big cinematic piece from Burberry.

Whether the intention is to encourage happy tears or just have your audience laugh, brands are stepping up to the challenge of showing a strong sense of self, and conveying a powerful message in the process, all in a bid, of course, to drive some of that all-important Q4 revenue in their direction.

Read on for our pick of the best campaigns across the fashion and retail space in Europe and US this year (beyond those already mentioned), as well as a bevvy of further ones to know about below…


Mulberry: It’s What’s Inside That Counts

Mulberry tugs at the heartstrings for the holiday season with an endearing story of love and acceptance played by child actors pretending to be grown-ups. The two-part film, which was shot in the British countryside in Surrey, tells the story of a traditional Christmas where three siblings return to their childhood home to spend the holidays with their difficult mother. As the story unravels, secrets and problems come to light. At the end of Part I, in an act of generosity, one sibling gifts her sister her much loved new Bayswater bag, in a realisation that “it’s what’s inside that counts”.

Directed by Albert Moya and written by Hugo Guinness (The Grand Budapest Hotel), it explores a deeper meaning of accepting each other for who they are. As Johnny Coca, the label’s creative director, explains: “When I was a kid, all that I wanted to do was to be grown up so I could be like my dad. Now that I am an adult, I just want to be a kid again! Christmas brings out the kid in all of us, and this is what I love about using children to tell our story this year.” The second and final version, which shows the family coming to terms with each others’ faults and weaknesses, premieres later this month.


Macy’s: The #SantaProject

The tagline for Macy’s holiday campaigns has long been about the idea of “Believe”. For 2016, they’ve turned that into an exploration of whether children today do indeed believe in Santa Claus. Cue a series of seriously cute clips featuring young kids sharing their thoughts on the miracle of Christmas, before a reminder message of the sort of realities they’re faced with when turning to the internet to search out the truth instead. It’s a positive note revolving really around kindness with what we post online, which let’s face it, can be applied to all parts of life, especially after this rocky year.


Rebecca Minkoff: Holiday My Way With @arielle

Rebecca Minkoff teams up with Vine star Arielle Vandenberg to tell the story of an independent woman trying to navigate the holidays by herself as she decides to stay in the city for the first time, and not go home to see her family. Each video, or chapter, focuses on a different achievement as the main character stumbles into adulthood, from decorating the apartment, to hosting a Friendsgiving, alluding to Thanksgiving as well.

Rebecca Minkoff, the designer herself, makes a cameo as a friend disappointed with the (clumsily wrapped) gift she receives from the main character. On other platforms, the #holidaymyway hashtag is being used to promote a Christmas gift guide and additional marketing content.


Harrods: A Very British Bear Tale

Seemingly inspired by Disney’s Frozen, Harrods tells an animated tale of a young teddy bear serving as the only (snuggly) survivor when an ice storm takes over the palace thanks to a mischievous elf. Hugh, as he’s called, comes to the rescue by climbing to the rooftop in order to signal help from Father Christmas in the North Pole. As the narrated story continues, the spell is broken and Hugh ends up crowned a prince thanks to his courage.

In addition from Harrods this season, is A Very British Fairy Tale in partnership with Burberry; a stop motion short made from paper cutouts.


Coach: A Holiday Film Starring #RexyTheCoachDino

Coach continues its good-humoured approach to luxury with a holiday film starring its now beloved mascot, Rexy the Coach Dino. The film shows what happens at the label’s New York City workshop after hours, when one rogue Rexy leather dinosaur comes to life. Aiming to wreak havoc, the dinosaur runs free pushing over boxes, breaking baubles and generally creating a mess, all while dancing – by herself – to the soundtrack of Billy Idol’s “Dancing with Myself”, as sung by The Donnas. As the sun rises, Rexy spots an open window and sets herself free, roaming the streets of the city independently.


Kate Spade: Make Magic Happen

Kate Spade’s short but sweet spot, starring model Jourdan Dunn and stylist Catherine Baba, features a small cameo by the iconic Miss Piggy. Shouting over the spot in a possessive manner, “Mine! Mine! Mine!”, the fabulous Muppets’ character attempts to keep all handbags to herself. The campaign also promotes the designer’s latest collaboration, with Miss Piggy herself. The holiday line includes wallets, phone cases, and accessories with the character’s “Who, moi?” catchphrase.

Speaking to WWD, Miss Piggy talked of her excitement to join the great group of women associated with the brand: “Moi was already a big fan of Kate Spade New York’s Miss Adventure’s series. I mean you see all these fabulous and incredibly strong and wonderful women like Anna Kendrick and Zosia Mamet having fun. So, I thought: I’m fabulous, incredibly strong and wonderful, I need to be part of this. When I discovered they wanted to create product inspired by moi: Well, it was a done deal.”


Target: The Toycracker

Target is betting big on its holiday campaign with an eight-minute musical titled The Toycracker, a cheeky take on the Nutcracker classic that reimagines the Tchaikovsky soundtrack as a modern hip hop track. Developed by ad agency 72AndSunny, the spot stars singer John Legend as the Rat King, his wife, model Chrissy Teigen, as the Nutcracker and Isabella Russo (The School of Rock) as Clara. This year’s popular toys, such as Trolls and Teenage Ninja Mutant Turtles, have replaced classic characters such as the Sugar Plum Fairy and toy soldiers, while the play’s famous sword fight scene will be told as a rap battle.

The full musical will air in two four-minute spots during ABC’s network premiere of the film Frozen on December 11 in the US. Meanwhile, the brand has launched behind-the-scenes footage of the night of the musical in the shape of a trailer, starring the Bullseye dog and a young girl, Marisol, as well as toys that have come to life to work on the production. The campaign will be supported by further marketing activity that includes a Snapchat filter and a “10 Days of Deals” promotion.


Farfetch: The Holiday Remix

For this Christmas season, Farfetch is presenting a remix of all things festive with a shoppable video that takes on a modern twist of the Nutcracker story. The e-tailer worked with choreographer Dana Foglia, of Beyonce’s Formation fame, to create a modern-day version of Dance of the Sugar-Plum Fairy, with dancers donning this season’s best partywear.

When watched on Farfetch.com, the video allows customers to shop by displaying circles over certain garments, thanks to a partnership with touchable video platform Cinematique. Clicking the circles will showcase more information about the outfit, and allow users to add to a basket and checkout at the end.


Warehouse: #TheGirlsRoom

Warehouse continues its ‘Resolutely British’ reinvention, under the helm of newly appointed creative director Emma Cook, with a video campaign that celebrates what happens in the girl’s room, or the ladies’ room at public spaces, from nightclubs to bars. The short video shows women touching up their make-up, socialising and generally letting their guard down, in a space where “strangers become allies, the compliments are free and the drama is left on the dancefloor”.


Topshop: The Anti-Cliché Christmas

Topshop appeals to its young and trendy demographic with a call to express individuality. The spot showcases models of all different styles, from modern sportswear to grungy, walking as cuts outs in front of backgrounds including cityscapes and the beachside, emphasising the idea of party dressing “without the one-size-fits-all approach” in order to represent an anti-cliché sort of Christmas.

To celebrate the sentiment, Topshop has also launched its still image campaign presenting its next generation of rising fashion stars, which are models Stella Maxwell, Londone Myers, Cami Morrone, Jing Wen, Kiki Willems, Marjan Jonkman, Damaris Goddrie, Caitie Green and Lottie Moss, Kate Moss’ youngest sister. Explaining the campaign, Kate Phelan, the retailer’s creative director, says: “This season is about the individual spirit of a woman – she no longer wants to be part of a tribe, she has her own style.”


House of Fraser: Christmas is Coming for You

British retailer House of Fraser is aiming to convey the excitement and anticipation that precedes the season with a modern dance spot, in the same vein as Farfetch. Teaming up with choreographer Suzette Brissett, the spot showcases dancers going through a whirlwind of settings, including an opulent dining table and a forest where trees are filled with presents. The upbeat soundtrack is courtesy of British songstress Laura Mvula, who reinterprets The Fugees’ classic Ready or Not track.


And more…

Additional ones to check out below include Cartier, Very.co.uk, Louis Vuitton, Dior, Harvey Nichols, Jack Wills, Boohoo.com, Debenhams, New Look, Tiffany & Co, Gap and Banana Republic. As a bonus: also tugging our heart strings outside the fashion space, is Sainsbury’s The Greatest Gift.

Additional reporting by Siena Hoggianto

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business data e-commerce film social media Startups technology

What you missed: digital realities at fashion week, lessons for retail, M&S on data

digital realities
At NYFW, 13 designers introduced Intel’?s immersive runway experience powered by VOKE?s TrueVR platform

The see-now, buy-now fashion week circus continues, wrapping up in New York and onto London. All eyes on the Burberry show as that takes place this evening, but before that a round-up of all the other bits you might have missed including J. Mendel’s Instagram Stories show, Hood by Air’s collaboration with PornHub and the role virtual and mixed reality are playing this season.

Also hitting the headlines has been everything from the first Bread & Butter by Zalando attracting 20,000 consumers, and M&S sharing detail on how data and technology can drive innovation and growth. Don’t forget to check out our full list of upcoming events at the bottom too…


TOP STORIES
  • Virtual reality hits NYFW [BoF]
  • Hololens’ mixed reality to transform London Fashion Week show [Forbes]
  • With shoppable runway shows, fashion brands court millennials [Bloomberg]
  • The real action at fashion week is on your phone screen [WSJ]
  • The influencer you use may be ripping you off [Inc]
  • Millennials prefer to deal with companies by text [BetaNews]

BUSINESS
  • First Bread & Butter by Zalando attracts 20,000 consumers [WWD]
  • Everlane: The San Francisco clothing company that launches t-shirts like they’re iPhones [Quartz]

SOCIAL MEDIA
  • J. Mendel’s fashion show was on Instagram [Glossy]
  • Hood by Air collaborated with PornHub at New York Fashion Week [The Cut]
  • Bloomingdale’s gamifies in-store shopping through Snapchat filters [Luxury Daily]
  • Pinterest studies how to supercharge fashion content [WWD]
  • This GucciGhost installation might be the best Instagram moment of NYFW [Fashionista]
  • Facebook Messenger adds buy button, native payments [ZDnet]

ADVERTISING
  • Kate Spade does ‘see-now, buy-now’ with a new video starring Zosia Mamet [Fashionista]
  • Etsy’s first global campaign is an expression of individuality, just like the stuff it sells [AdWeek]

RETAIL
  • 7 lessons for retail in the age of e-commerce by Rachel Shechtman of Story [BoF]
  • 4 fashion brands that are getting creative with shoppable video [Digiday]

TECHNOLOGY
  • Your next pair of shoes could come from a 3D printer [NY Times]
  • This high-tech suit lets you feel things in virtual reality [Quartz]
  • Richard Hewitt of M&S on using data and technology to drive innovation and growth [Internet Retailing]

START-UPS
  • Fashion start-ups are crowdsourcing critical business decisions. Is it working? [BoF]

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

What you missed: Google’s fashion week plans, Style.com opens, Tom Ford’s second movie

fashion tommy gigi carnival
Tommy Hilfiger’s carnival plans at New York Fashion Week

A few days before New York Fashion Week begins and needless to say much of the focus is on those plans – from Tommy Hilfiger’s carnival to Misha Nonoo’s Snapchat show, not to mention an update on Google that will see fashion brands curating what their search results look like pertaining to the new season.

Also hitting the headlines over the past week has been everything from M&S cutting head office jobs, Smashbox’s virtual reality campaign and our interview with Westfield’s Lindsey Thomas. Don’t forget to check out our full list of upcoming events at the bottom too…


TOP STORIES
  • This fashion week, Google gets a new look [NY Times]
  • Condé Nast’s Style.com is now open for business [The Industry]
  • Tom Ford makes comeback at Venice festival with his second movie [Reuters]
  • H&M open entries for 2nd annual innovation grant [Fashionista]

BUSINESS
  • Marks & Spencer looks to cut up to 500 jobs at London head office [The Guardian]
  • How online fashion companies use data to enhance sales [Fashion United]
  • The Blonde Salad ups the ante [BoF]

SOCIAL MEDIA
  • Innovating on Snapchat: Misha Nonoo, Ann Taylor Loft and River Island [F&M]

RETAIL
  • How the founder of Farfetch is politely reinventing the boutique for the digital age [The Telegraph]
  • One year on: How Westfield Bespoke, the retail tech space piloted in San Francisco, is winning [Forbes]

TECHNOLOGY
  • Smashbox goes behind the scenes of a photo shoot in its foray into VR [AdWeek]
  • Here’s how shoppable video will (finally) work [Venture Beat]

START-UPS
  • In-depth with Modern Meadow: the start-up bioengineering leather in a lab [Forbes]

UPCOMING EVENTS
Categories
Editor's pick film

Christmas ad update: Target, Sainsbury’s, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Harvey Nichols, Primark, Kohl’s, House of Fraser, M&S, The Body Shop

Sainsburys_Mog

Festive retail films are continuing to come out in droves, with Target, Sainsbury’s and Dick’s Sporting Goods getting in on the storytelling and emotion-inspiring game, ranging from an adventure to save the Christmas tree, to Mog the cat almost ruining the day, and a coach getting a wonderful surprise.

Meanwhile, Harvey Nichols warns of the risk of #giftface, Primark documents a journey home with a clever combination of models amid toy scenery, Kohl’s focuses on modern family, and House of Fraser and M&S stick with good musical fun. The Body Shop is a personal highlight, however – nothing like a good sing-a-long to Jingle Bells in the shower.

Check them all out below, and be sure to look back at John Lewis, Kate Spade, Burberry, Mulberry, Mr Porter, Debenhams and TK Maxx, here.

Categories
film social media

Marks & Spencer leads with social media in #followthefairies Christmas campaign

marksspencer_followthefairies

Christmas campaigns are notoriously big budget affairs for those in the retail space – and 2014 looks set to be no different thus far. For Marks & Spencer however, that spend is being placed largely in social media.

The British store is backing its #followthefairies campaign via the likes of Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr, in so doing ditching the celebrity signings it focused on last year in Helena Bonham Carter, David Gandy and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley.

The two fairies, Magic and Sparkle (a traditional play on the name ‘M&S’ for the festive period), have a Twitter account called @thetwofairies, where they’ve been sharing details of the “random acts of kindness” they’ve been carrying out undercover across the UK so far.

They’ve done things like delivering chocolates to a hospital ward, creating snow outside a primary school in Cornwall and organising lights that look like real fairies flying above Newcastle’s Tyne Bridge. They also gave a variety of unbranded gifts to random individuals they tracked down on social media who were wishing for certain things.

That word unbranded is key here, none of the acts until recently were known to be anything to do with M&S, though the Twitter account rapidly grew its following, hitting a reported 12,000 fans before the association was known.

All was revealed as the main ad for the campaign was released on Friday. This short spot sees the two fairies sprinkling their magical dust throughout the night – doing things like transforming a washing line of clothes into bold party outfits, convincing children away from the TV and outside to play when it starts to snow, upgrading Christmas presents being wrapped, and even bringing a couple together.

Patrick Bousquet-Chavanne, Marks & Spencer’s executive director of marketing and international, said: “The magic of Chritsmas is how it brings out that little part in all of us that wants to believe in the extraordinary. It’s a moment to escape the realities of every day and give in the joyfulness of the festive spirit. We wanted to capture that feeling and bring Magic and Sparkle to life in a fun and light-hearted way that spreads a little cheer.”

On the social media strategy, he added: “This Christmas will be the biggest online Christmas ever in the UK and the most social Christmas, fuelled by an unprecedented surge in the use of mobile phones and tablet computers.”

Categories
film social media

M&S teases Christmas #magicandsparkle campaign over social

British retailer Marks & Spencer provided a sneak preview of its upcoming Christmas television campaign via its social channels this week, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

The 10-second trailer sees a Highland Terrier dashing down the street with model Rosie Huntington-Whitely in hot pursuit. Hinting towards both an Alice and Wonderland and a Wizard of Oz theme, it closes with the dog tumbling down a manhole.

This little dog is no Toto however, but either Magic or Sparkle, depending on what M&S fans decide. The retailer is inviting them to vote on either name as part of an interactive tie-in for the revival of its “Magic & Sparkle” catchphrase.

“With this year’s ad we wanted to recapture the magical essence of Christmas that our customers tell us is synonymous with M&S. Magic & Sparkle is an extraordinary franchise, which has always been a firm favourite with customers,” said Patrick Bousquet-Chavanne, executive director of marketing and business development. He added that it’s all about interaction and a conversation with customers this year. “Digital is the fastest way to be in that conversation and you are going to see us doing more of that.”

The full two-minute ad – set to be released over social on Monday, November 4, and television on Wednesday, November 6 – is said to be inspired by several other much-loved fairy tales too.

It also stars David Gandy and Helena Bonham-Carter, in what is referred to as a filmic spot featuring an enchanting orchestral soundtrack.

Huntington follows after the small dog, landing in a snow-dusted forest seated at a “fantastical feast”, filled with M&S food products and Gandy, who takes on the role of Mad Hatter. Next she moves to a Red Riding Hood scene inside Grandma’s House complete with home goods and decorations from the retailer, before heading out on a magic carpet, with Gandy once again, across the London skyline. This time she wears her Rosie for Autograph lingerie and sleepwear lines.

Last up is the yellow brick road with Huntington-Whitely as Dorothy (complete with red heels), Gandy as the scarecrow and Bonham-Carter as Wizard. The ad closes with Magic or Sparkle safely recovered in the real world.

The spot was shot by London-based agency Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe/Y&R and directed by Johan Renck.

RosieH-W HelenaB-C DavidGandy