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business Campaigns

3 ways fashion brands weighed in on the US midterm elections

Tory Burch
Tory Burch

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

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

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

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

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

Political backing from Patagonia
Patagonia
Patagonia

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Voting booths at Levi’s
Levi's
Levi’s

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

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

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

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

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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business Campaigns digital snippets e-commerce film product Retail social media sustainability technology

ICYMI: Topshop buzz score drops, advanced analytics for apparel, analyzing the streetwear bubble

The streetwear bubble
The streetwear bubble

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

TOP STORIES
  • Topshop “Buzz Score” drops after Green allegations [The Industry]
  • Geek meets chic: Four actions to jump-start advanced analytics in apparel [McKinsey]
  • Is the streetwear bubble about to burst? [Highsnobiety]
  • How open-source innovation may transform fashion [BoF]
TECHNOLOGY
  • Menswear retailer Jacamo launches voice shopping [Drapers]
  • Tencent is launching its own version of Snap Spectacles [TechCrunch]
SUSTAINABILITY & PURPOSE
  • Plastic waste elimination pledge by 2025 attracts more big firms [BBC]
  • Is fashion’s eco-consciousness more than a label yet? [BoF]
  • These gorgeous colors come from dye made by bacteria, not chemicals [FastCompany]
RETAIL & E-COMMERCE
  • If we built the retail model from scratch, what would it be? [BoF]
  • Goop opens first permanent store in New York City [Glossy]
  • Singapore’s frictionless grocery store and dining concept [LS:N Global]
  • Digging into drop culture: Evolving a roaring retail ritual [Forbes]
MARKETING & SOCIAL MEDIA
  • Dior aims to lure new audiences with digital influencer Noonouri [Vrroom.buzz]
  • Barbour Christmas campaign celebrates 40 years of iconic festive film [The Scotsman]
  • H&M launches holiday 2018 campaign starring Aubrey Plaza [Highsnobiety]
  • Designing people’s Instagram Stories is now a million-dollar business [FastCompany]
PRODUCT
BUSINESS
  • Revolve’s blend of data and fashion supports case for IPO [WWD]
CULTURE
  • Why voting is in fashion [New York Times]
  • 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.

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business e-commerce Editor's pick mobile

Nordstrom’s new store concept will carry no inventory

Nordstrom Local
Nordstrom Local

US department store chain Nordstrom has announced it is preparing to roll out a new store concept that will tap into consumer demand for convenience and speed with a smaller and much more dedicated retail space.

Nordstrom Local stores will carry no dedicated inventory, with customers who want to shop only able to do so via Personal Stylists. In a bid to  focusing on tailored service over footprint, the space will sit at 3,000 sq. ft, compared to the average 140,000 sq. ft Nordstrom store.

“As the retail landscape continues to transform at an unprecedented pace, the one thing we know that remains constant is that customers continue to value great service, speed and convenience,” said Shea Jensen, Nordstrom’s senior vice president of customer experience, who led the Nordstrom Local initiative. “We know there are more and more demands on a customer’s time and we wanted to offer our best services in a convenient location to meet their shopping needs.”

Customers can book in appointments online, over the phone or in-person. Following one-to-one conversations, the stylists will then transfer in suitable merchandise for the respective clients to come in and try. Stores will have one styling suite and eight dressing rooms accordingly, all of them surrounding a central meeting space where customers can enjoy a drink and talk to their dedicated stylist. Other services include Alterations & Tailoring, Click & Collect and Curbside Pickup, access to Trunk Club and an on-site nail salon.

The on-site personal stylists will also be armed with the retailer’s new digital tool, Nordstrom Style Boards, which allows them to create digital boards filled with personalised fashion recommendations that customers can view on their phone and purchase directly through Nordstrom.com. Customers can also log into the app to have more extensive conversations with salespeople and stylists.

The first Nordstrom Local is set to open in Los Angeles, California, on October 3. It follows the announcement of Nordstrom’s increased Reserve & Online Try In Store service earlier this month.

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business Startups

UK fashion entrepreneurs take note: $1.5m up for grabs via WeWork’s Creator Awards

WeWork's Creator Awards will take place in London on September 14
WeWork’s Creator Awards will take place in London on September 14

Co-working business WeWork is offering a grant of over $1.5 million to UK entrepreneurs, SMBs, non-profits and artists as part of its Creator Awards this summer; a global initiative that will hand out a total of $20 million worldwide to innovative projects and the people behind them.

The team is looking to recognise and reward those who are thinking in new ways, building fresh projects and achieving real change across all industries. Fashion falls comfortably within that bracket, but what’s better is any stage of growth is relevant; whether you have an established business or even just the beginnings of a good idea.

Prizes from $18,000 to $360,000 are up for grabs across three categories in a bid to offer opportunity to as many different types of creators as possible. The Incubate award is for individuals with an idea or project that needs funding; the Launch award is for start-ups and non-profits that have launched but are still learning; and the Scale award is for those with a record of success that are ready for the next level.

“We’re a company that wants to provide people with an energy source. We want to provide people with motivation, excitement. We want them to love what they do,” Miguel McKelvey, co-founder and chief creative officer of WeWork, says in the above video. This is the first year of what’s set to be an annual programme.

The barrier to enter is low too – all you have to do is fill out a form and submit a 90-second video by the deadline of August 24. The regional finals will then take place in London on September 14, before the Creator Awards Global Finals in New York in November.

At the first three regional finals in the US, Emily Kane won $36,000 for GirlForward to bring her English Language Learning curriculum online to support girls who have been displaced by conflict and persecution around the world. Donovan Morrison won $72,000 for Luna Lights to help bring the safety light solution to 20 assisted living communities and 600 older adults this year. And Samuel Bain won $180,000 for Imerman Angels to take the one-on-one Cancer Support Community beyond the US.

London’s event on September 14 will also include a full day of public programming, a pop-up market with local sellers and a job fair. Further Creator Awards will be hosted in Berlin, Mexico City and Tel Aviv.

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e-commerce Editor's pick mobile technology

Sephora opens smallest and most digitally enabled store yet

Sephora Studio
Sephora Studio

Beauty retailer Sephora has opened a new store in Boston that not only serves as its smallest footprint yet, but also its most digitally enabled space.

Sephora Studio, as it’s called, is a 2,000 square foot concept store focused on artistry and skincare. Its intimate format, which is about half the size of a usual Sephora store, largely aims to raise the bar for personalised client services.

“In today’s retail environment where very little is constant and clients’ expectations are ever-evolving, one thing has remained true for Sephora: there is no better way to create meaningful connections with clients than through personalised experiences and a customised approach to beauty. We could not be more focused on that notion than we are with the opening of Sephora Studio,” said Calvin McDonald, president and CEO of Sephora Americas.

“The Studio merges the best of an inclusive neighbourhood retail environment with best-in-class digital tools that enable our expert beauty advisors to customise recommendations on an individual basis.”

Sephora Studio
Sephora Studio

At the heart of that are iPhone 7 devices for all of the advisors set up in a way so as to service shoppers with product information and reviews, appointment check-ins, looking up their loyalty or “Beauty Insider” status, enabling point of sale rather than queuing up at the till, and more.

Each phone also has a number of existing Sephora apps installed, including the Digital Makeover Guide, which is an interactive face chart that records the customised product and application tips received for the user to then take home, and a Digital Skincare Guide, which sends a personalised skincare regime to them following consultations.

There are also further screens throughout the store to provide navigation and self-help information for shoppers, as well as to virtually try on products using augmented reality, and make their own reservations and appointments for individual treatments and for the Studio’s group classes.

Clients can also make use of two omnichannel product delivery options, including “order in store” and “same day pick up”, which either enables them to order online and have items delivered home, or pick them up at the nearby Prudential Center store.

Sephora Studio
Sephora Studio

Categories
technology

Westfield seeks to grow mall traffic with new large format multi-player gaming theatre

The ESC Gaming Theater at Westfield
The ESC Gaming Theater in action at Westfield

At the peak of holiday season 2016, one of the United States’ largest shopping malls opted for a new kind of tourist attraction. Westfield Garden State Plaza in Paramus, New Jersey, replaced the traditional lone-standing arcade game or low thrill ride with a one of a kind gaming centre.

Known as the ESC Gaming Theater, the 750ft room includes a roof-high cinema screen, a live emcee, concert grade surround sound, pulsing lights and 30 touch screens for an immersive multi-player gaming experience.

Designed to bring together friends and strangers alike, this ESC Game Theater offers solo or team play games for up to 30 players at a time. A series of about a dozen games on offer span approximately five to seven minutes and can be either collaborative or competitive, depending on the crowd. With the emcee providing an energetic string of live tips and running commentaries, the entire activity becomes somewhat of a sporting event. Live tournaments are even held periodically for prizes.

The ESC Gaming Theater at Westfield
The ESC Gaming Theater at Westfield

The fun is all laced into a strategy to reimagine the future of shopping malls as technology continues to rapidly expand. At a time where shoppers are not only increasingly moving online and to mobile to carry out both research and purchase, but seeking experiences over merely material items, brick and mortar venues need to reinvent the wheel to encourage consumers in and maintain them for as long as possible. Gaming and entertainment is a big driver.

Charley Delana, Westfield’s EVP of global brand ventures, said: “Westfield is committed to redefining the shopping experience by leveraging the latest in technology and digital entertainment innovation. We are thrilled to welcome ESC Games to Westfield Garden State Plaza and we are looking forward to giving shoppers the chance to be among the first in the world to experience the future of gaming and entertainment.”

Capitalising on a projected 18% annual growth in the video game industry in the year to come, ESC Games CEO Todd Swidler has thought about massive expansions both in the US and internationally. “The video game industry is experiencing explosive growth, and we see major opportunities for ESC Games to pioneer a new category that taps into that demand through our unique game experience and competitive tournaments. The possibilities are vast.”

The concept for this mall initiative was incubated by ESI Design. Founder Edwin Schlossberg is an innovator of all things game-design; he entered the scene back in the 1970s when his best-selling book series taught consumers how to play games on their run of the mill pocket calculators. Once again, he gives a technology facelift to a quasi-antiquated model.


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Comment Editor's pick social media Startups technology

Comment counts: How to survive SXSW. Warning! This post contains Kanye GIFs

As a bit of a SXSW Interactive veteran, Olly Rzysko of Primark, felt a responsibility to share information with festival newbies on how to make the most of the week. Cue Kanye West…

KanyeWest

I have been attending SXSW Interactive for four years now. Every year the experience improves and I learn more about navigating it in order to come back to the UK feeling motivated and more informed. I wish someone had helped me on my first visit as it was an intimidating and daunting experience, where I, like many, had travelled solo due to cost constraints.

I now feel the responsibility to share some info with other newcomers with the capable assistance of Kanye. We work in a world where success relies hugely on collaboration and this is my little contribution. This is nothing crazy or life changing but I hope it helps a few newbies.

giphy_kanye

Keep it comfy

Austin is casual, this ain’t no fashion show. You’re going to be on your feet all day, sometimes walking 30-40 minutes between venues. Invest in some real comfy trainers for those crazy days. It gets hot most years and you may end up leaving the hotel at 9am and not coming back until gone midnight. Packing is everything.These are also a VERY good idea.

giphy (6)

Stay powered up

Funnily enough, SXSW Interactive involved a lot of WiFi and battery draining demos, not to mention note taking. Pack some spare batteries for your phone. If you can buy two, leave one charging in the hotel while you take one out with you. You can pick these up at a little place called Primark. This one is only £8 / $10 and you can also pick up a multi connecting USB for around £2.50 / $3.00. Shameless plug over.

giphy (5)

RSVP, RSVP & RSVP

My biggest mistake on year one. I didn’t RSVP to things such as parties and events, in America you HAVE to do this to make sure you are on the list. Nobody likes an embarrassing wait to get into an event. Using http://rsvpster.com/ is really smart along with a few other sites such as http://do512.com/ andwww.eventbrite.com

giphy (3)

If you didn’t #, it didn’t happen

Hashtags drive the conversation and Twitter is the most important channel for gaining some insight. During the talks and events you should tweet along, track the hashtag and follow the conversation. This is great for note taking too. Screengrab the best tweets and add into your notes. I take all my notes using Evernote, which is quite handy as it keeps everything central and you can move from device to device as your battery life dies on each one.

Kanye tweet

Save the map

SXSW is a drain on your data and this makes navigating the hundreds of venues difficult. A little trick: save your area on Google Maps. Here’s a little guide on how to do that to save your data, your battery life and your mind. You’re gonna need this map from dusk til dawn. Alternatively, kick it old school and take a paper one from the hotel.

giphy (4)

Plan ahead (but not too much)

You can plan ahead by getting the app and starring all the talks and sessions you want to attend. You won’t make all of them, just be honest with yourself, not least for the fact you could be looking at a very long line when you arrive for that one key talk about the “Gamification of Hamster Wheels Using Augmented Reality in 9 Easy Steps”. So don’t get caught out; if it’s important to see a talk (i.e. Barack Obama), arrive early, get in the room and wait for your panel. Remember not to fall for click baiting talk titles like “The Best Social Media Strategy Ever” too, as some of these can often be a 15 minute sales pitch from an agency.

giphy (7)

It’s OK to have a bad day

It happens to the best of us but if you are there for a week, you will hit a brick wall where you go to three panels in a row that are awful and get a mental block. My advice is go for a walk and take a few hours off so you can clear your head. This event isn’t competition about who can go to the most events. FOMO is very 2015.

giphy (8)

It’s not all about the convention centre

Get out of central downtown Austin to see what the city is really like. The people in Austin are really friendly and welcoming considering 35,000 of us descend on them and take over every bar, public space and transport system for two weeks. So, try shopping and eating with the local businesses and not with the big chains. I recommend visiting:

  • South Congress, which is a really nice space and strip of stores and eateries south of the main city
  • Rainey Street although central is quite hidden away. This is where the party is at most nights
  • Talk to some locals and get their advice on where is good

giphy (2)

It DOES rain

They don’t tell you this. Pack a jacket, umbrella, mac whatever. Don’t be fooled by the weather reports.

kanye_disappointed

And finally, enjoy yourself

You’ve worked hard to get there, you’ve worked hard all week. Make sure you get to parties, talk to new people and make some new friends.

I’ll be at SXSW from March 10 through 16, as will Fashion & Mash editor, Rachel Arthur, who is hosting a #FashMash kick off mixer in collaboration with Decoded Fashion. If you’re interesting (and not trying too hard to sell something), we look forward to seeing you there.

kanye_gif

Olly Rzysko is head of digital communications at retail Primark. 

Comment Counts is a series of opinion pieces from experts within the industry. Do you have something to say? Get in touch via info@fashionandmash.com

Categories
business e-commerce Editor's pick technology

Drone delivery is upticking for retailers, but Uber also has big plans for shoppers

Amazone Drone Delivery

Drones are back on the retail radar again, this time in Australia where e-commerce site The Iconic has announced its intentions to use them to deliver goods within the next two to five years.

The company’s CEO, Patrick Schmidt, told the Australian Financial Review his customers would benefit from speedy drone delivery. “We are pioneers of fast and flexible delivery, and we push the boundaries on delivery, so it’s something we are thinking about,” he explained.

The website already offers three-hour delivery in Sydney and same-day services in Melbourne, but is in constant competition with international players often able to ship items in as fast as local companies can across the country otherwise.

Regulations stand in the way of drones yet being a reality however. “Delivery via drone is not yet regulated, so it probably depends on the legislators on whether that would be possible … but in the technology space, things happen fast, so you never know,” Schmidt said optimistically.

Meanwhile in the US, Amazon is getting closer to its reality of “Prime Air” – a delivery system that aims to get packages into customers’ hands in 30 minutes or less using small unmanned aerial vehicles. It has recently been granted authority by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to test this concept, albeit with the restriction of the drones flying under 400 feet, at a maximum speed of 100 miles per hour, and remaining within the pilot’s line of sight.

The move has been hailed a victory for the e-commerce company. It will also likely set a path for other businesses to follow. “Putting Prime Air into service will take some time, but we will deploy when we have the regulatory support needed to realize our vision,” reads the page on Amazon’s website dedicated to the program. “One day, seeing Prime Air vehicles will be as normal as seeing mail trucks on the road,” it continues.

Fashion and retail brands have been experimenting with drones over the past year or so elsewhere too, albeit largely to generate PR around a newsworthy subject. Fendi put them on the runway during Milan Fashion Week in order to stream content to a live audience online, while more recently, Crocs used them in Japan to deliver shoes straight from shelves to customers as a promotion for how light its new Norlin sneaker is. A recent article published by i-D also explored all the (slightly ridiculous) ways in which drones and wearables are combining from a fashion perspective.

When it comes to shopping however, the other piece of big news in terms of delivery over the past week was about Uber’s plans to launch a major merchant program in the US through its UberRush couriers and Uber drivers.

The move will provide retailers with the ability to get goods from local stores to shoppers within the same-day. Neiman Marcus, Louis Vuitton, Tiffany & Co and more are all said to be in discussions. According to TechCrunch, there could be as many as 400 different merchants currently in talks.

“It’s not hard to imagine Uber combining [verticals like] fresh food, restaurant food, home goods, online purchase orders, and more, into a single logistics framework that is dispatched to its thousands of drivers and couriers. A driver could theoretically have Johnny’s pizza in the front seat, Jenny’s new Louis Vuitton bag in the trunk, and you in the backseat,” the article reads.

Perhaps what we need is for Uber and Amazon’s Prime Air team to partner up – when the traffic gets all too much for the Uber deliveries to be efficient, said driver could be well placed as a drone pilot directing the package to its final destination all the while keeping it strictly in his line of sight. Just a thought.

In the meantime, expect a big focus on shipping services across the board to start emerging, with all manner of start-ups entering the space and aiming to disrupt it. According to Jennifer Hyman of Rent the Runway, that’s exactly what is needed for retail. Speaking at SXSW this year, she called for the existing delivery companies to be put out of business, and for the system as it stands to be “ripped up and recreated” in order for e-commerce businesses to have sustainable profit margins. “We need to get the level of e-commerce across the board up from 10% of total retail sales to 30% or 50%, and the only way that is going to happen is if the delivery method changes,” she expressed.

This post first appeared on WGSN.com/blogs

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business Comment Editor's pick

Abercrombie’s mistake has been about evolution, not just sex

abercrombie

Abercrombie & Fitch is looking to ditch its focus on “sexualised marketing”, moving away from the half-naked models it has used across its website, store windows and shopping bags for years.

By July, both the Aberbrombie & Fitch and Hollister brands will also no longer hire their sales staff based on body type or attractiveness, nor refer to them as models, but rather brand ambassadors.

Frankly, it’s about time. “Sex sells” might still be a relevant concept (the recent runaway success of 50 Shades of Grey as proof), but nowhere near as blatantly as it was in the 90s and early 00s, and Abercrombie hasn’t evolved much since.

Back then, it was powering forward through a world that also saw Tom Ford dominating at Gucci; reviving a brand based on another version of that very same sexualised notion. Its 2003 campaign featuring model Carmen Kass with a ‘G’ shaved into her pubic hair is still one of the most memorable.

For both brands at that time, associating clothing and accessories with a touch of the controversy worked. Gucci under Ford evolved from near bankruptcy to a group valuation of $10bn in 2004. Abercrombie led by CEO Michael Jeffries became one of the most recognisable global teen retailers, with 965 stores in 20 countries.

gucci

Comments in a 2006 interview are indicative of Jeffries’ focus on this sexualised, or if you’d rather, “exclusionary”, marketing. On sex and sexual attraction, he said: “It’s almost everything. That’s why we hire good-looking people in our stores. Because good-looking people attract other good-looking people, and we want to market to cool, good-looking people. We don’t market to anyone other than that.”

He continued: “In every school there are the cool and popular kids, and then there are the not-so-cool kids. Candidly, we go after the cool kids. We go after the attractive all-American kid with a great attitude and a lot of friends. A lot of people don’t belong [in our clothes], and they can’t belong. Are we exclusionary? Absolutely. Those companies that are in trouble are trying to target everybody: young, old, fat, skinny. But then you become totally vanilla. You don’t alienate anybody, but you don’t excite anybody, either.”

His formula however didn’t stand the test of time. Abercrombie sales have plummeted since – falling in six of the past eight years, with profit down 5.1% for 2014, and same-store sales by 10% last quarter. Shares have tumbled accordingly, down 39% over the past 12 months; all of which led to Jeffries departure in December of last year.

But the error Abercrombie made wasn’t in this strategy – it did after all work for quite some time – it’s in the fact it’s never changed it (the same could be said for the product, though that’s almost another story). In fact, walking into one of its stores in Manhattan this weekend, it might as well have been 15 years ago. Not only for the models, but also for the fact its powerful trademark aroma and exceptionally dark lighting were still the same – two other features also on their way out.

Marketing and communications have significantly evolved in the age of Instagram and other social media platforms. Where once it was all about the hard sell on aspirations to look like one of those oiled, buff bodies, now it’s arguably more about the “selfie”. There’s still aspiration there, but on a much more attainable level.

It’s your consumer’s contemporary, their friend next door, not the model hired to work the door. That’s why Brandy Melville does so well in this same market for girls, or why Nasty Gal took off to such an extent – products consumers want, sold to them in a way that absolutely makes sense to their lifestyle today. It’s hashtag marketing: your brand through the eyes of the very person you’re selling to.

In short, Abercrombie missed one vital thing in its revolution… evolution.

victoriassecret

But its time warp is representative of a whole wave of other US retailers at risk of meeting a similar fate. American Apparel is forever in the headlines for the same reason.

Even Victoria’s Secret, though still a marker leader, continues to run the same campaigns, with the same Angels, with the same fashion show. It’s becoming a tired model on the one hand, but it’s also one consumers are starting to push back against. A campaign in the UK featuring the line “Perfect Body” splashed across a shot of supermodels led to 27,000 signatures on a petition about body shaming in late 2014.

At some point, these brands will realise it’s not the same world it was 15 years ago, even if a hint of sex will always go a long way in marketing.

This post first appeared on WGSN.com/blogs

Categories
Editor's pick technology

Kmart’s Joe Boxer mocks wearables market with ‘inactivity tracker’

joeboxer_inactivitytracker

If there’s one thing the past 12 months has seen, it’s brands at the dozen jumping on the wearables bandwagon with some kind of gratuitous marketing tie up or another. Here comes another, but this time quite a winning one.

In a bid to promote its pyjamas, Kmart’s Joe Boxer line has teamed up with FCB Chicago to come up with the idea of the “inactivity tracker”. Yep, forget counting your steps like every other fitness band out there, and instead get comfortable with doing absolutely nothing at all. The hashtag #chillhard is attached accordingly.

“The whole idea is to turn the tracking trend on its ear. It plays off of Joe Boxer’s irreverent brand personality really well,” Jamie Stein, a spokeswoman for Kmart, told AdAge.

The device, which was genuinely available to consumers (in limited edition and for free to the first 50 who purchased from Kmart’s New York Astor Place store this weekend), connects to a mobile app available on both iOS and Android. From there it rewards the wearer’s laziness and chill time.

joeboxer_tracker

As per the promotional material, the step-by-step process is to: 1. Put on Joe Boxer pajamas and your Inactivity Tracker; 2. Download the app. Pair Inactivity Tracker with your smartphone. Earn badges; 3. No more steps.

Levels can be reached including “Human Sloth”, “Genghis Yawn”, “Are you dead?” “Couch Commander”, “Cryogenic” and “You Rock!” To achieve the latter, one needs less than 2,500 steps in five days; perhaps not the most responsible of suggestions to today’s population, but a fun mockery of the route wearable tech has taken us so far otherwise. The product description similarly highlights things like “little itsy bitsy lights” and “cool vibrating thing”.

Accompanying the launch of the device is a 60-minute video of two men competing in the “2015 Joe Boxer Lounger Games”. Amusing commentary ensues as it focuses on the PJ-clad individuals chilling in their armchairs.