Harrods Green Man finally gets to travel

P1090144British retailer Harrods is commonly associated with its large red building with green screens, its lights at night and its wide product range – meant to cover any demands customers might have. Another characteristic of the store is its Green Man, the historical doorman character, always there to open the door for visitors.

To leverage the company’s heritage and to celebrate the Vogue Festival 2015, Harrods is holding a photo contest on Instagram. It started on March 27th and lasts a month. Whether they bought a figurine of the Green Man, or simply download the character online, contestants are asked to take a creative picture of the Green Man somewhere around the world and then share it on Instagram using #MyGreenMan @Harrods #VogueFestival.

This contest should help modernize the retailer’s image and make its Green Man even more part of the brand’s image.

Spontaneous and fleeting storytelling with Snapchat

Making us dream is part of luxury brands’ DNA. Their ads are conceived to trigger aspirations or emotions, and you end up endlessly idealizing the brand. These brands mostly leveraged traditional ads for a long time: print ads, billboards, TV spots… Then came the digital age and ads were popping on your favorite websites, especially as targeting techniques became more and more efficient. Social media were then yet another tool to promote brands’ messages.

Today, we are super-connected – so connected that it’s nearly as if we had a sort of digital “transplant” to our hand. Smartphones are kings. Obviously, pop-up ads are extremely annoying and having a 15-second spot of my favorite luxury brand wouldn’t make me happy when I’m opening an app. Social media help, as brands can post there – and Instagram is helping them push visual contents where customers are expecting – and enjoying – them. Still, non-spontaneous visuals are not enough to make a digital-savvy customer excited about a brand for long.

Valentino snapchat during the Paris Fashion Week preperation

Valentino snapchat during the Paris Fashion Week preperation

Communication apps are multiplying and new features come up. Brands are more and more welcome by apps to reach customers on their messaging channels. Line did it, and Snapchat, too. The big difference with Snapchat – as I’m guessing you know – is that contents are taken spontaneously (you can’t really edit them) and are fleeting (they usually last 10 seconds). Given these constraints, some luxury brands have decided to make the most out of the app and share some behind-the-scenes moments with their customers, as well as creating an exclusive customer experience on their smartphones. Valentino and Michael Kors did so during the fashion weeks. Snapchats are therefore a great way to share some extracts of a fashion brand’s preparation for a show. It’s applicable to any luxury industry I believe, as long as brands have a story to tell.

The main point I believe makes Snapchat such a great channel is that it’s usually a channel to connect with friends, and not many luxury brands use it. It’s probably one of the most appropriate tools at the moment to engage with customers as would a real person. It’s most effective when brands are targeting millenials, among which Snapchat has the highest penetration, and it allows brands to use a language they might not overtly use on more serious social media posts (e.g. using emojis millenials enjoy).

De-dramatizing trends: Fendi’s example

Miniature bags are in, ladies and gentlemen! If you’re as puzzled as I am by those (I love the look but am always carrying out tons of things), you should take a look at Fendi‘s latest digital campaign:

The brand staged its Peekaboo and Baguette lines in a 1:19 minute video, available on their website as well as on social media. What is surprising coming from a luxury brand is that the video gives 7 absurd theories on the origins of micro bags. This stance shows a great sense of humour and self-mockery from a label that is usually associated with a premium brand image and a mature customer base, as well as a very Italian view of glamour and elegance.

Still, Fendi did things right and managed to make the video enjoyable, and quite entertaining, without getting viewers confused. What I mean is that the campaign integrates perfectly with the designs – some bag models are inspired by fiction as they seem to have eyes, which places the design on a humorous level. The video leverages this feature of the bags to make them look like monsters in the 4th theory (the scary theory). The entire video actually makes great use of the different models featured, whether it’s about their size (watch the 6th theory – the matryoshka theory), color (the 2nd theory – the magic theory – replaces the usual black hat with a black purse), shape (micro bags pop out of a largely open purse in the 5th theory – the pop corn theory)…

Launching a fun campaign showing the brand doesn’t take itself too seriously, and doing so on digital supports, enables the brand to reach a younger customer base on their favorite channels. In the meantime, it also generates more traffic to the brand’s new e-commerce site, which is designed with customer experience in mind and that I recommend you check out (it looks beautiful and it’s super easy to navigate, without looking all black and white like a lot of luxury e-shops)!

What was your favorite theory? Mine was probably the pop corn one, as I wouldn’t have associated micro luxury bags with the a snack that symbolizes a trip to the movies.