Video alongside the internet has democratised luxury, opening up a world previously reserved for powerful editors, executives and heiresses. Never have luxury followers and consumers had so much rich, comprehensive and unrestricted access to the brands they love, let alone platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr to quantifiably share that love back. As a result, moving image initiatives were a priority for luxury brands in 2010. Understanding that the next generation of consumers are content crazy, brands developed one-to-many style videos, engaging the consumer in a personal way on a mass-accessible level, giving them stories to share with their networks at the touch of a ‘Like’ button.
Within the luxury sector, the two main contributors to video were the fashion and automotive industries, both boasting comprehensive and interesting product development processes and deep pockets for buzz generating marketing initiatives. Fashion took to video for pre-collection, runway shows, behind the scenes, photo shoots, celebrity interviews, designer messages, corporate results and often commissioned short film projects with leading directors, specifically for the web. Automotive chose the medium for test-drives, interviews with engineers, major event coverage and to communicate their brand values.
In terms of the videos creating a distinctive sharing buzz on the web, Hermès was the clear standout for 2010. The simple but clever Finger Skate video generated enormous coverage for the traditionally conservative maison, successfully transcending traditional luxury media coverage and finding itself on the Facebook pages of Gen-Y skateboarders, bloggers and tweeters. It expressed the brand to a group of people that have previously been indifferent to marketing of one of the world’s biggest luxury houses and most importantly, injected some much needed accessibility and vibrancy into the brand.
A similarly intriguing offering is playing out at Louis Vuitton, the brand is in the process of releasing a series of five short videos, based around their collaboration with tattoo artist Scott Campell. The five part release thus far has demonstrated the craftsmanship and quality propositions of the brand, the lifestyle of Campbell and subtly showcases some of the collaborative products. The series is further supported by a micro series of video interviews, where Campbell answers questions submitted by LV Facebook fans, viewed live on his iPhone as he answers to the camera. By combining a tattoo collaboration with a dedicated digital and social media strategy, Louis Vuitton has also been able to transcend traditional luxury media, re-invigorate their brand for the next generation and communicate to a previously untapped audience.
A number of luxury brands and retailers took to creating their own YouTube channels, capitalising on the fact that YouTube is now the second largest search engine after Google. Burberry were significantly active, posting messages to their fans from COO Christopher Bailey, delivering financial results from CEO Angela Ahrends, developing behind the scenes clips of their photo shoots and short-and-sweet showcases of their products for special events like Christmas. BMW also made the best use of their digital space by uploading their television commercials, behind the scenes design features, track testing footage and their bespoke digital video series ‘Unscripted’. They even used You Tube as a casting call for their next ad campaign.
Net-a-Porter further enhanced their magazine offering by presenting behind the scenes clips of shoots, as well as previews of upcoming brands and sales and tutorial-esque videos for new features of their site. Their sister brand, The Outnet, recruited up and coming female musicians to weigh in with their style tips and – creating a highly relevant mix of content no doubt aimed to engage their younger consumer.
Many brands dedicated significant attention to film style video, enlisting some of Hollywood’s biggest directors to oversee short movie length features showcasing particular collections or individual pieces. Dior were arguably at the forefront, under John Galliano’s direction the brand enlisted David Lynch, Olivier Dahan, Jonus Akerlund and John Cameron Mitchell, to tell individual stories about the Lady Dior handbag and accessories collection and Lady Dior herself, Marion Cotillard. The stories were set in Shanghai (Lady Bleu), New York (Lady Rouge), Paris (Lady Noire) and finally London (Lady Gris). Whilst not everyone enjoyed the art house content or the glorification of a handbag, the videos generated a huge amount of publicity and discussion for the brand, supported by print and online campaigns around the world.
Karl Lagerfeld also developed for a 15 minute short film set in St Tropez, Remember Now, showcasing the Chanel Spring Summer 2011 collection. Enlisting models, DJ’s and actors, Lagerfeld displayed the collection on a glamorous cast of bodies, encompassing a range of nationalities, embodying the consumer, lifestyle and way in which he no doubt wishes Chanel clothing to be worn.
Finally the love of fashion and film collaboration extended into the category of paid advertising, where creative officers enlisted the talents of Guy Ritchie and Jude Law for Dior Homme, Martin Scorsese for Bleu de Chanel and Frank Miller and Evan Rachel Wood for Gucci Guilty. Sofia Coppola has also been commissioned to direct her second film campaign for the Miss Dior Cherie fragrance, this time starring Natalie Portman.
Whilst the campaigns were generally shot for television, bespoke social media strategies and the added interest of film director and actor collaboration led to much discussion and sharing of the final result on the web. The advertisements also began to appear as moving image advert banners online, as well as on brand YouTube channels, often with supporting ‘making of’ videos and interviews with directors and stars.
The increasingly accessible and effective video technology available to brands is being recognised and used to create a more interactive proposition for the consumer. Progressively the consumer is dictating when and where they will be advertised to, between mobile, tablet, print magazine, online magazine, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube consumers can pick and choose where they want to focus their attention. Brands cannot be everywhere.
Therefore it is more important than ever for brands to develop compelling interactive content that interested consumers will seek out and share, which is why video has played such a huge part in the luxury industry in 2010.