For an industry that is always about looking forward and trying to find the next new thing, it's lagged seriously behind when it comes to adopting technology and, gulp, social media.
Enter Tommy Hilfiger.
We are now in 2016 and there are still so many brands out there that keep struggling to connect with their audience. We keep hearing time and time again that influencer marketing it hot, hot, hot, yet so many companies are still trying to grasp the concept and adjust to this new era of brand building. And while those labels are figuring it out, Tommy Hilfiger is making strides above everyone else.
Like Victoria's Secret, TH are associating themselves with major Insta-girl muscle. They tapped Gigi Hadid (13.8 million followers and counting...) to be the latest brand ambassador, and are choosing models with big social presences to walk their runway. Going a step further, Gigi will also be designing a capsule collection for them, which will be released this fall, in tandem with their spring runway show (more on that later).
Tommy's been ahead of the social media curve with his fashion shows for a few seasons now, staging very Instagenic (new word, paging Merriam-Webster!) productions at NYFW. But he's truly surpassed himself this time around, revolving the entire affair around making it conducive to social sharing, as well as utilizing those very tools to leverage the fact that they were being employed. I can see the circle coming to fullness as I type these words.
Just a little over two weeks before Tommy Hilfiger's scheduled fashion week show, the brand dropped a bomb on the media: there was going to be an "InstaPit" (new word, paging Merriam-Webster!) in the audience for Instagram content creators to be able to post in peace. Say what?!
Not only is the idea completely revolutionary, as it's never been done before, but it also solves a recurring problem that's been plaguing show-goers since social media became a thing: view obstruction by phones. Genius! Those photo-happy content creators would now be able to snap (and Snapchat) in peace in a judgment-free zone, which might also motivate them to share even more in this new boundless runway fashion universe.
So what on Earth could an "InstaPit" possibly look like? Would it resemble the regular photographer pit that houses all the professional photogs piled onto one another at the end of the runway? Would it be situated closely to the regular seats to not make anyone feel alienated? These internal questions I asked myself upon the announcement seem so foolish in retrospect.
Obviously, Tommy perceived it as something ultra buzz-worthy and even made the exclusive, closed-off section one of the most coveted places to be perched upon to watch the show. No one with an audience under 100K followers was to be allowed in. Talk about social pressure.
Reporting live from the pit... about their presence there (!).
Not only that, but Tommy Hilfiger's vision went even further. He also seated the cream of the coolest bloggers on the actual set -aka a giant makeshift boat that tied into the nautical themed collection- where they, too, had Instagram carte blanche opportunities before them. The message from the Tommy team was pretty impeccably delivered: they were not only encouraged to document the show in real-time, but also to LIVE it. And the evidence was all over Snapchat.
While the bloggers and Instagram content creators did what they do best, so did Gigi, by not only opening and closing the show (that holds monumental meaning in fash-land, fyi), but also by taking over Tommy Hilfiger's own Snapchat to let the fans in on all of the backstage brouhaha from an insider's perspective. Hello, social media maximization coming at us from every which angle!
One week before it all culminated on that Monday morning onboard the TH Atlantic, Tommy Hilfiger also took to its own Instagram channel to release daily teasers for their show, which kicked off all of the social media rumblings. As it all climaxed on February 15th, would it be fair to qualify Tommy's efforts as a social media tour de force?
The question begs to be answered: did it work and was it worth it? It's your lucky day cause we looked at the data. Chuckles.
Considering the numbers and the evidence in the form of engagement and audience spikes on all of those graphs, there's no doubt that this was a giant win for the Tommy Hilfiger brand.
So how do they top themselves now after setting the bar so high? They continue to be pioneers and look to the future, recently announcing that they will be embracing a new model of fashion show to make the clothes readily available to the consumers upon showing them, beginning with their next NYFW slot this fall. And about that Gigi Hadid collection: it will be released at that time as well, ready right then and there for the fans to get their hands on. No waiting game.
And speaking of clothes, if they actually interest you, you can watch the show here. (They were pretty cute.)
All said and done, I sincerely hope that other brands took some notes.
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