360° videos already mainstream among luxury brands

Luxury loves 360° videos…

360° videos technology has become easily accessible to brands a few months ago and we have already noticed multiple brand experiences offering a 360° mini-websites or videos. These efforts from brands to create an interactive and original experience is great but using 360° for the sake of 360° is not good enough for luxury brands. Why? Because that’s what all their competitors are doing.

Let’s just take the example of luxury fragrances: last Fall, Dior launched a 360° mini-website for its new men’s fragrance Sauvage, with a road-trip inspired journey to discover content around the perfume. this winter, Jean-Paul Gaultier created a 360° video called #BeTheBottle where viewers see a factory through the “eyes” of a perfume bottle, and they get to take a sneak peek at the brand’s fragrance characters.

The latest example would be Chanel and its 3 videos for its men’s Allure Homme Sport fragrance. The brand invites viewers to dive, slide and ride with the brand by watching men taking a dive in the sea, skateboarding on a mountain road, or horseback riding in the sea, and eventually seeing what they see in order to experiencing it themselves.

… but is missing the point

All the examples above are in line with their brand’s DNA and they deliver a rather original experience to consumers. But there is one thing that bothers me: they all seem a little off, either because they just support an existing campaign, or because they are not good enough for the status of the brand. By not good enough, I simply mean that 360° videos have not yet reached the standards of image quality that these brands have got us used to. And while brands offer a rather fun experience every time they create new interactive experiences, they should also contribute to improving the standards in new technologies to keep their edge on other brands. Because, as of now, it mostly looked as if they are only trying to stay at least at the same level as their competitors by using the same technologies.

What I would like to see is a brand like Louis Vuitton embracing its travel-brand positioning and extending its City Guides offer with 360° videos that bring life to their content and pushes the quality of their recommendations even further. Brands each have their distinctive identity and I’m sure they can find adequate ways to communicate on them while using new technologies and actually bringing great content that people want to consume and share.

Your guide to doing the Festival de Cannes right

The Festival de Cannes 2016 ended a few days ago and, just like every year, celebrities proudly posed in their designers’ outfits on the red carpet. Brands, just as they do every year, happily shared photos of celebrities wearing their latest designs across their social media channels.

Some brands, however, decided to shake things up. Surprisingly, the two brands I have in mind went for a similar message: a guide to experiencing the Festival de Cannes the best way.

Dolce&Gabbana’s guide to making the most of the Cannes Film Festival

Dolce & Gabbana took advantage of the famous movie festival to launch a social media campaign centered on the event. The brand share pictures (of models only) at Cannes, doing things celebs do at Cannes, and wearing the brand’s designs. The twist of the campaign was in the posts’ descriptions.

Dolce & Gabbana clearly positioned its campaign as a “guide to making the most of the Cannes Film Festival” and shared 16 rules. Rules ranged from “dress to impress“, to “surround yourself with stylish friends“, “never blend in with the crowds” or “take an ice-cream break“. This touch of humor, paired with the too-perfect-to-be-true scenes pictured, made for an entertaining campaign that spread over 4 days on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Too bad it didn’t the brand long to go back to sharing photos of celebs wearing its creations again, slightly ruining the efforts of the campaign to position the brand as a self-deprecating one.

#whathappensinCannes (stays in Cannes!) with Elie Saab

Elie Saab, on the other hand, mixed celebrities photocalls with fun and self-deprecating content, ranging from gifs of a suitcase being filled, to pictures featuring a key piece form the brand’s collection and a second degree caption.

For example, the brand shared a gif of woman scrolling through her Instagram feed, with the caption “Half way through, time for a recap”.

Mixing fun, on-point insights of young women with high fashion content, the brand successfully twisted the traditional Cannes communication. All contents of the campaign are gathered on the brand’s site.

Half way through, time for a recap. See #WhatHappensInCannes on #TheLightOfNow | Link in Bio #Cannes2016

A post shared by ELIE SAAB (@eliesaabworld) on

 

These two initiatives brought a refreshing touch to the way brands approach major red carpet events, and it follows the trend of campaigns focusing on humor and millenials’ insights that we have seen among luxury brands in the past few months. It seems luxury brands are finding their voice one after the other, and they seem to have chosen a young, friendly and social media savvy voice.

How series are impacting luxury ads

Some say brand content is doomed to disappear, others say it just needs to be reinvented. I think it is still very alive and adopting the codes of popular contents among millenials. The latest example that caught my attention is Kate Spade New York’s latest campaign called #Missadventure season 2, which was launched on March 28th.

The East Coast preppy fashion brand is making a statement with a series of videos targeted to young women, featuring millenials’ insights (relying on apps for everything, anyone?), social media codes, and a focus on TV-like entertainment – notably with the participation TV shows actresses (Girl‘s Zosia Mamet and 2 Broke Girls‘s Kat Dennings).

As a series enthusiast, I can only appreciate the initiative from the brand. While the first season of the #Missadventure campaign, staring actress Anna Kendrick, was clearly a way to showcase Kate Spade products in funny and relatable situations for young women (with the possibility to click on items during the video and see all related information after the video credentials), this second season is starting off with a more constructed scenario, if I dare say so. The first episode is slightly longer than in the previous season (4 minutes for this one, compared to 2:30 to 3:45 minutes for the previous ones), and the brand copied some codes from TV shows with a teaser and videos focusing on each of the main characters. Contents were shared on the brand’s social media channels with catchy posts inspired by TV shows teasing campaigns (see example below).

Not only are the videos and teasing campaign greatly executed, they also leverage relatable insights for millenial women while sharing the luxurious, preppy and feminine identity of the Kate Spade brand. I definitely will watch the next videos, not only to satisfy my marketer’s curiosity, but also to find out the rest of the characters’ adventures. I guess Kate Spade’s campaign worked on me!

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).