Posts Tagged ‘fashion’

A Face in the Crowd

Wednesday, July 7th, 2010

Just a few weeks ago, we came across this idea of “writing your own headline” from Nike.  People tweet a headline using hash tags and 100 per night are broadcasted in Johannesburg.  Now, back in the United States, we are seeing the concept of broadcasting tweets being brought to the next level.  Times Square has made a big new friend who loves to play around with the public.

In honor of the launch of its Times Square store, Forever21 has created an interactive board using high-tech surveillance equipment and computer vision technology as a virtual model plays with the crowd below.  The model can pick up onlookers and either kiss them, turn them into a frog, put them in her shopping bag or take a picture of the entire crowd.  Using the high-tech equipment, the models are able to spot those people in the crowd carrying a yellow Forever21 bag and are more likely to pick those people up.

Along with the on-screen virtual model, there are also tweets broadcasted the way that Nike is doing in Johannesburg.  Tweets including #love and #forever21 are placed on the large screen for all of Times Square to read.  In 2009, “The Hand From Above” was a giant hand on a screen created to interact with the crowd.  This tactic builds awareness and encourages interaction and participation.  The Forever21 Billboard takes virtual crowds and physical crowds and interacts on both ends.  It’s amazing to see how social media has become more mainstream than ever. The billboard is a clever advertisement and offers a new experience every visit!

FTC Crashes Ann Taylor’s Party

Monday, May 3rd, 2010

Clothing retailer LOFT – an Ann Taylor brand – has come under fire by the FTC for offering gift cards as an incentive for bloggers to post about a January 2010 preview event. Bloggers who posted within 24 hours of the event were eligible to win as gift cards valued between $10 and $500.

The press surrounding the FTC action, which has consisted of mostly blog coverage, has seen mixed reactions from those familiar with the fashion industry. FTC guidelines demand that bloggers make clear to readers when they receive complimentary services or products – a guideline that does not officially exist for the magazine industry, although it is understood that journalists should not accept gifts for coverage. Although this is understood by the industry, “fashion payola” happens on a regular basis with brands offering clothing, product or services to be used in magazine spreads and often purchasing advertising space adjacent to the spread featuring their product.

Similarly, the Ann Taylor event offered a preview of their upcoming Spring 2010 line and the chance to win gift cards valued up to $500. This in itself would comply by the FTC rules however the brand proceeded to add the stipulation that bloggers must post within 24 hours to be eligible for the chance to win:

“Please note all bloggers must post coverage from our event to their blog within 24 hours in order to be eligible. Links to post must be sent to [address], along with the code on the back of your gift card distributed to you at the event. You will be notified of your gift card amount by February 2. Gift card amounts will vary from $10 to $500.”

While traditional media holds its fair share of back-scratching, this notice is not one that would be issued to print media journalists. The LA Times states: “…there’s a tacit understanding between clothing brands and fashion journalists that editorial coverage isn’t something you can buy or barter for.”

However, bloggers are a whole new ball game when it comes to brand coverage. From a PR perspective, putting on “preview” parties and other such events are a gamble. Sometimes they receive a flurry of attention and other times they’re a waste of time and resources. Ironically enough, the lack of coverage is what will save Ann Taylor from receiving a hefty fine from the FTC. In a statement released April 20th, the FTC decided to not pursue “enforcement action” against the brand due to the fact that this was the first event of its kind, the lack of actual blogger coverage and a company-wide rule that was enacted in early February forbidding any other contests of this kind.

This is certainly an interesting case study for retailers. Apparently, the FTC was not joking when they created these guidelines and brands who are attempting to gain blogger coverage, such as Ann Taylor, need to carefully consider the potential legal entanglement that may come from offering complimentary products and services with a posting requirement.

Check in to a New Pair of Jimmy Choos

Tuesday, April 27th, 2010

Although social media savvy brands are beginning to warm up to the idea of location based services, some brands remain skeptical of the benefits. This week London-based fashionistas who belong to Foursquare will have a chance to experience the marketing possibilities behind location based services.

Shoe giant Jimmy Choo is using Foursquare to organize a treasure hunt in real-time around London. With this contest, Foursquare followers can see where one pair of Jimmy Choo trainers check in. Once they’ve checked-in, campaign followers can show up at the trendy venue in hopes of catching the pair of shoes before they flee to their next, equally chic location. Once caught, winners are able to choose their size and style.

It’s interesting that this campaign is effectively using additional social media platforms such as a contest-specific Twitter handle (@CatchaChoo)  and Facebook fan page dedicated to the contest. Both accounts are updated in real-time along with Foursquare check-ins.

If this were a national or international contest, the accounts would be overwhelmed with interested parties. However, because of the London specific location, all accounts – including Foursquare – have less than 1,000 fans, followers and friends creating an intimate feel to this contest.

This contest is interesting to the social media industry for reasons other than shoes. Location based services and geo-tagging are already starting to be used by brands such as Time Out New York and the Financial Times but this is the first contest of its kind and while some may look at it as a cheeky marketing ploy, it also seems to be an effective brand building tool and a glimpse into the future of social media.

Why Social Media Fits for Fashion: An Overview

Wednesday, March 3rd, 2010

Although fashion and social media are two industries that have always seemed to be very separate, over the past year, with the news of publishing powerhouses losing readership to their online counterparts and advertisers dropping like flies, the fashion industry, once ruled by magazines, has seemingly surrendered and is beginning to embrace digital media.

Survival of the Fittest

Big-name magazines like Glamour, Vogue and Elle now have their own blogs – usually connected to the publication’s website. Most major magazines including Vanity Fair and Vogue’s UK edition also have a presence on Twitter as do many of their individual employees. New York Fashion Week even maintains its own Twitter account with details of shows and Fashion Week events.

Technologically speaking, it was recently reported that Conde Nast, one of the industry’s largest publishers, intends to release some of their top magazines on the newly released Apple iPad. Conde Nast also announced that Vogue, one of the publisher’s largest and most well known fashion magazines, will be launching an iPhone application. This application will help user with shopping and styling. The Wall Street Journal’s Christina Brinkley calls it “part of the all-out rush in the fashion industry to embrace technology—most notably with blogging and tweeting.”

Power Plays

Bloggers, once considered lint on the tailored jacket of the fashion industry, have become a force to be reckoned with. Blogs such as Bryan Boy and Style Rookie creator Tavi Gevison have garnered enough respect to warrant star-treatment typically reserved for the upper echelon of style writers and editors.  In fact, Tavi, who is 13-years-old, was flown to Tokyo to cover a party with popular French label Comme des Garcons for Harper’s Bazaar.

Not only are these bloggers writing extensively about the industry, they actively participate in events including runway shows. This past month at New York Fashion Week alone we saw an influx of bloggers not only attending designer’s shows but sitting front row amongst fashion industry royalty such as Anna Wintour, Grace Coddington and celebrities like the Olsen Twins.

To accommodate these bloggers, designers have also embraced the digital age. This past season, big name designers like Marc Jacobs and Calvin Klein made their shows available to home viewers by live streaming their shows.

Shares Well With Others

The fashion industry is traditionally based on a hierarchy of exclusivity and while some industry veterans disagree with the growing digital trends it seems that the industry as a whole is starting to accept that their target audience is paying attention to these mediums. What is the draw? Besides the obvious:  it’s cheaper and easier  to access –  interaction is key. Fashion bloggers are interacting with their readers; hosting giveaways and translating runway looks to the sidewalks. This accessibility is putting a different face on fashion – one other than models and style moguls.

The fashion industry has learned the same lesson as many other industries: shunning the online world will not make it disappear or lessen its influence. It seems, for now at least, that fashion publications, designers and editors are embracing digital media and learning to wield the powerful tools that are the digital world.