COMMENT: Fashion consumers demand entertainment
Fashion, art and technology collided at Polo Ralph Lauren's 4D sound and light show
There has been a seismic shift in the way people shop for fashion over the last few years. And as technology continues to innovate, brands need to keep pace with trends in marketing in the same way they do hemlines, writes Giles Fitzgerald, from entertainment marketing agency FRUKT.
"There's a brand new dance but I don't know its name," sang David Bowie in his 1980 hit song 'Fashion'. "They do it over there but we don't do it here".
Until recently this was the sentiment of the fashion industry when it came to its involvement in entertainment - a little sponsorship here, a music addition there, but the real entertainment was perceived to be best left in the hands of the traditional music, TV and cinema industry stalwarts.
However, with a new influx of digital innovations and marketing opportunities, fashion brands now have the tools, inclination, and consumer support to engage in deeper entertainment marketing.
At FRUKT, we recently conducted some research in order to identify what consumers really want from brands that are involved with entertainment.
The results painted a clear picture, with 91% of respondents positive about brand involvement in entertainment, and 75% of 16-24 year-olds more likely to actively choose a brand that entertains them over one that doesn't.
'Priority' scored highly as a consumer want with regards to fashion, with access to the luxurious fashion lifestyle naturally a strong draw for shoppers. However, other elements such as 'sociability' (both online and offline) and campaigns with a strong narrative (the 'stories' surrounding fashion) were also deemed preferable.
The recent large-scale 4D projection mapping event broadcast onto the face of Ralph Lauren's Bond Street store, turning the building into a jaw-dropping fashion spectacle, is indicative of a new wave of entertainment styled marketing from fashion brands. This is fashion presented not just as a catwalk showcase, but as an entertainment proposition.
Dior is another key example of a fashion brand eager to position itself as a patron of entertainment, dabbling in both music and cinema with a run of short online films featuring collaborative exclusives from film director Guy Ritchie and actor Jude Law, as well as musicians Franz Ferdinand and French actress Marion Cotillard.
There has been a seismic shift in the way people shop for fashion over the last few years, and as technology continues to innovate, brands need to keep pace with trends in marketing in the same way they do hemlines.
Macy's augmented reality makeover campaign, Magic Mirror, which launched as a trial run earlier in the year at New York's Fashion's Night Out, is an example of this.
The concept, which is being rolled out in earnest as the retailer looks to revolutionise the concept of the in-store fitting room, utilised a touch screen tablet and a 72-inch digital mirror enabling users to shop the future as they digitally browsed and tried on various garments.
In addition to the convenience element of the technology, it also featured an integrated social shopping function, which enabled shoppers to upload their various style choices to Facebook for others to comment on.
It doesn't take much of a stretch of the imagination to envisage the digital fitting room as a hub for entertainment propositions built around the shopping experience.
British fashion brand Ted Baker also embraced the concept of interactive branded content with added sociability with the launch of Take On Ted, an interactive Twitter concept that harnessed the creative talent of eight influential fashion bloggers.
The bloggers were invited to style models live in the brand's autumn/winter collection via the micro-blogging platform and live video streams, enabling viewers to follow the action, and eventually join in styling their own creations.
Fashion-conscious shoppers are looking for a deeper connection with the clothing they covet, and this requires brands to construct credible context for clothing across the digital catwalk.
Research suggests that consumers are crying out for engaging and interactive content and now, more than ever, it is time to develop a bold entertainment proposition. To quote the novelist William Thackeray: "Bravery never goes out of fashion".
This research comes from part of FRUKT Source, and will be released in the FRUKT Source Yearbook in the first week of December, with the key findings supported by a review of relevant brand activations, insight and analysis from a broad range of commentators and trend predictions for the entertainment marketing space.
Giles Fitzgerald is editor of FRUKT Source, the company's suite of publications which offer bespoke research and leading industry insight into key trends in entertainment marketing.
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