Fashion is quite arbitrary and undemocratic: designers push trends on runways, influencers pick them and crowds follow them. What bag will be the year’s must-wear is fashion professionals’ job, not yours. Vogue being a key fashion source, it is all the more unexpected that the magazine held a contest to elect the official Vogue It Bag of the year.
Vogue selected 10 promising bags and opened the contest on January 26, 2015. Each bag had its own mini campaign: poster, description, video, pictures… Check the example of Dior’s Diorama bag.
With a countdown until voting began, Vogue created rarity and waiting for an online campaign, reflecting some principles inherent to luxury. The campaign lasted 8 days. Vogue published the results on February 3, 2015: Fendi’s Micro Peekaboo Bag got 20% of participants’ votes and was elected the magazine’s It Bag of the year.
Vogue shared the contest on its mobile site, Facebook page, Pinterest, and Twitter account. It also created a #ItBag2015 hashtag allowing us to follow the online movement. And it met quite some success.
— Vogue Magazine (@voguemagazine) February 3, 2015
What does a contest like this bring to Vogue, and, more importantly for us, to brands?
It definitely brought traffic to Vogue’s online magazine, mostly from Vogue’s social media platforms, but also from sharing on social media and referrals in articles featuring the story. It increased participation with the magazine, and probably lengthened the average visit. Finally, it gave Vogue one more topic to use throughout numerous articles.
Finally, bags selected as candidates also benefited from the contest. Brands gained general exposure, being featured in a major story on vogue.com. The mini campaigns on each bag added to the storytelling associated with it. Being a contest, it likely draw more positive feelings to the products and brands than a simple advertising campaign as visitors felt included in a major fashion trend: the It Bag of the year. Sales probably increased for the ten contenders, and those of Fendi’s mini bag must have skyrocketed even more. Such a contest must also have increased brands’ online exposure; it’s reasonable to think brands’ social media accounts gained new followers at a faster rate than usual, and their websites and e-commerce platforms must have also encountered a peak in traffic.
Contests are frequently used by brands to offer fans a chance to win gifts, or a voucher. I believe it’s even more interesting from brands when the contest comes from an external source (here Vogue). Especially since it is about content – Vogue didn’t send It Bags to voters but it did attract voters from all over the world.