Ted Baker’s Instagram Winter Wonderland #TedsElfie

Ted Baker and agency POKE have launched a hyper interactive social media campaign to engage with shoppers over the festive season.

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Why I call it hyper interactive is because your are bound to get lost if you are a newbie at Instagramming and even if you are not, you better take the term ‘Winter Wonderland’ seriously as it is one campaign that you need time to enjoy. Yes Hyde Park Winter Wonderland is not the only place to be this Christmas season 🙂

Santa’s elves go missing and the only evidence is the Elfie taken by Santa. Instagram users have to help find the missing elves by visiting @TedsElfie on Instagram and taking part in the ‘choose your own adventure’ style game. The user is led by the tags on images to find the seven missing elves and win prizes along the way.
Whether you win or not, this campaign is worth interacting with thanks to the beautiful illustrations and the clear user path. Enjoy!

Source: http://tedbakerblog.com/2014/12/christmas-arrived-ted-baker/ – Totally love the hashtag snowfall haha! EPIC!

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Trick-or-Treat – Target creates Halloween buzz on Instagram

Target and New York-based agency Carrot Creative have launched a virtual trick-or-treat experience on Instagram inspiring viewers to indulge in DIY spirit this Halloween.

The theme is ‘Halloween Hills’ which shows two homes on a hill – one is a trick and the other is a treat. The two houses are tagged to ‘trick’ and ‘treat’ profiles, the user can tap on the their preferred tag and move on to reveal what is the ‘trick’ or ‘treat’.

The “treats” link to Halloween-themed recipes like spider brownies, while the “tricks” go to do-it-yourself projects like a spooky, night-light.

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The campaign involved 15 images with two profiles each showing 30 tutorials and 300 photos for the campaign.

The items used in the DIY profiles can be found in Target stores. To see all the items/creatives search for the campaign hashtag #HalloweenHills. The surprise element is in Trick-or-Treat number 6, where the ‘Bullseye’ mascot is tagged. On clicking the user is taken to the ‘Bullseye’s Closet’ Instagram account where the profile links to the eCommerce enabled site in partnership with Like2Buy.

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With the Bullseye Clost account, Target is reaching out to users who are looking for pet costumes for Halloween, a rage in times of Halloween nowadays.

This is yet another clever way to leverage the available functionality of Instagram’s tagging feature and driving the engaged users within that moment to push sales online. It not only engages the user with this creative execution but also gives them ideas around Halloween that are enjoyable with little efforts in both time and money.

With this out already we hope to see more fun and interesting executions for Xmas in the US, since they are the first market to champion and release bold ideas.

Check out the virtual experience on Target’s Instagram account here http://instagram.com/target

 

Hermès – La Maison Des Carrés

When Hermès announced on their Facebook Page ‘Come closer…Closer still…’ with an image showing a character and scarfs from a key hole – we expected yet another online experience but certainly not an e-commerce site with a beautiful storytelling illustration and animated characters.

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The website is a beautiful collection of silk scarves and accessories portrayed in a storytelling format and the site design naturally leads the user through ‘La Maison’. The UX is pretty simple to navigate in a one-pager format taking you through different rooms showcasing the collection. The e-commerce function is enabled for France, Europe, US, Japan, Australia and Canada, except China.

Website welcome

Upon loading, the site welcomes you with a pop-up message giving a brief overview on what the user can find here – making them aware that the silk scarves can be found by size, colour, material or theme. Of course the borders of the pop-up are ‘orange’ in color…oh so Hermès!! Love it!

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Homepage

The website loads with the top view of ‘La Maison’ showing the signature ‘Orange Box’ in the background with a team welcoming the visitors. There are various subtle animations in the background giving an aesthetic appeal to ‘La Maison’ and these characters/illustrations have been quite common in many Hermès interactive microsites in the past as well. ‘La Maison’ shows different rooms showcasing the collection, each room telling its own story.

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Silk Rooms

Several rooms showcase the Silk collection classified as ‘Silk Bandanas’, ‘Maxi-Twilly’, ‘Silk Knots’ and also theme wise in form of ‘Graphic & Abstract’, ‘Animal World & Wildlife’ and ‘Cocoa Color’.

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At the bottom of each scarf, its size is displayed and upon clicking the window expands into an e-commerce window, where the user can select their color and either purchase it or add it to their wish list. There is also a brief history behind the design of the scarf and a recommendation of related patterns below it. As the user is engaged and already exploring the scarf, there are questions and decision making processes going on in the background. Hermès clearly recognizes this and provides some ‘Service’ options that address the usual questions or thoughts the viewer may be having. These include, sharing their contact details and timings to inquire about the product, delivery and shipping options, short tip on preserving this item so the user knows what after sales efforts this purchase involves and lastly providing details on gifting this item. For both traditional and digital savvy users, there are options to ‘share’ and ‘print’ the item detail page as well.

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Equestrian Rooms

Of course any Hermès communication without the horse will be incomplete. To give a subtle touch of the brand roots there are two rooms dedicated to the Equestrian collection as ‘Horse & Equestrian’ and ‘History & Mythology’ showing a special collection of scarves with the horse in design and the famous historical design pieces respectively.

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I like how these specials scarfs are given their own space and identity signifying how important these pieces are to Hermès. It only helps to communicate this but also allows design and UX wise to simplify and allow users to navigate and ‘discover’ this content, which may have otherwise been missed had it not been classified under its own meaning.

‘Silk Knots’ and ‘Tie Break’ Apps

There are two rooms for their recent apps as well on ‘Silk Knots’ and ‘Tie Break’. I love how their respective detailed pages showcase the welcome video and tease users to download the app with an animated teaser and visuals from the app – without destroying the overall site design and look & feel. The button designs and color patterns for the Apple and Google Play stores are selected in sync with the overall page design showing how much attention is given to details. I love when designers and clients pay attention to such details. Secretly I am hoping that a black button was never presented and looking at the overall site design I am sure the designer got it right in the first place! 😉

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Color Cocoa Collection

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There is yet another special teaser playing with the sensory side of the user. A special collection of scarves for the ‘Chocolate Lovers’ inviting them to indulge their ‘silk tooth’ – yet another clever way to get the users attention to a collection that may have otherwise got unnoticed in the huge Maison.

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 Additional Functionalities and ‘La Chambre Des Garcons’

On the top left a navigation bar is hidden that provides users additional option like search, filtering the items via size, color, materials, themes and even price. There is also a section for men ‘La Chambre Des Garçons’ showing a selection of silk scarves and ties.

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There are also additional link outs to the corporate site and the Hermès Editeur site (An online gallery of editions of ‘works of art’ on silk).

So why this website?

The question why Hermès would move away from their main site and create this site is pretty obvious. They want to appeal to the younger generation who may not be so well versed with the history of the brand. Surely many won’t be able to afford these items, but this is to educate and inspire them to be the future customers of Hermès, learn about the brand and see the huge collection they have to offer.

It is a great example of using storytelling and expressing their brand to a younger audience while giving their current audience and promising prospects an opportunity to buy these items online.

Also the current Hermès website owing to its design and structure could not do this job of clearly showcasing the collection of more than 400+ scarves in such an exciting and user friendly way.

View this beautiful online experience here http://usa.hermes.com/la-maison-des-carres.html

The online campaign is also supported by a beautiful short film showing imagining how ‘La Maison’ comes to life

“The Sound of Porsche: Stories of the brand.”

‘The Sound of Porsche’ is not just about the engines roaring anymore. There is more to it.

Porsche has launched a premium pop-store next to the High Line, Manhattan on 14th Street – yes the meatpacking district where all that cool things happen in NYC right!

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Andre Oosthuizen, VP Marketing for Porsche Cars North America stressed that the aim of the pop-up store is to connect with people in new ways and tell the brand stories via videos. It is more about connecting with the future buyers and attracting people who may find dealer showrooms intimidating or annoying to begin with.

The Media Stations with noise-cancelling Bose Headphones

The media stations offer 16 custom records created by Porsche, which are actually short videos and can be enjoyed with the noise-cancelling Bose QuietComfort headphones. The content of these videos are short films showing Porsche clippings from the racing world, Hollywood and even brand videos on Porsche design DNA with animated sketches.

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Highlights include ‘Electrifying Performance’ and ‘One of Us’ which feature Porsche racecar drivers Mark Webber and Patrick Dempsey, Boris Apenbrink (Porsche enthusiast) featured in ‘Porsche Exclusive – The Most Personal Car’ and Sally Carrera in ‘A Porsche Goes to Hollywood.’

Sound Lab Virtual Drive Experience

The lab is also powered by Bose, where the iconic 911 Carrera 4S Coupe can be experienced virtually through sound and visual mapping, selecting a metropolitan melody (urban drive), country cadence (mountain pass) or racing rhythm (the Nurburgring).

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A virtual drive experience experienced in a store is certainly better than any app or microsite viewed in 3D glasses!

Porsche Design Store and a Design Competition

How can the Porsche pop-up not have any design products for sale and not intrigue you enough to participate in it! There are enough sophisticated Porsche Design products that can be purchased and a ‘blank canvas’ where you can express what the ‘Sound of Porsche’ means to you.

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The designs created in the Design Corner can be uploaded to the social networks with hashtag #SoundsOfPorsche and the best artist will win a trip to the Porsche Museum in Stuttgart, Germany (I have been there three times and it is such a beautiful museum).

The Experiential Side of Automotive Brands

In our marketing & communications industry we have been constantly hearing about ‘Experiential’ and brands like ‘Audi’ (with Audi City), ‘Apple’, ‘Tesla’ and ‘Nike’ have been one of the first ones to champion the store/showroom experiences in line with their brand personality and the advanced technology.

Many brands try really hard to transfer and reflect their brand image in a physical atmosphere but fail or end up compromising due to low budgets, lack of good talent or simply because of lack of knowledge when it comes to technology and innovation.

At the end of the day it is all about innovation and staying relevant with the environment around us. This does not mean that the dealerships should die and you should throw all your money into the product development and personal stores but use the knowledge and current available resources to enhance what you have now. A very simple start for this could be to provide iPads/tablets across dealerships and allow visitors to surf your site comfortably, read a bit about the car in peace and then have a dealer interact with you, answer your questions, etc. There is probably already a coffee machine or a small cafe in many of these places, why not leave an iPad there asking people to share their thoughts, experience at the dealership etc. – this way we learn about them and use the real experience to see where we can improve. (This is just an example in the current context of automotive dealerships and pop-up shops).

Of course, I cannot stress enough on placing big-screen PCs or iMac’s where the ‘configurator’ is permanently open. Many marketers don’t feel comfortable putting these up in the dealerships because they feel that the car is already there or assume that people may have checked the configurator online. It is essential to leave a little room for people to explore the product in peace, without constantly having to socialize and small-talk with the dealers. I tried the Nike shoe customizer in their Covent Garden store in London 3 years ago and I still remember and talk about it. Now I am writing about it! Though I did not buy the shoe there and then, I explored it and continued the activity at home with my friends to decide how I should customize my shoe. Then I went in store to speak to the Nike guys, to cross-check some stuff and finally placed my order. Not saying that every user will return to ask for a car but people will surely remember and talk about it!

Furthermore, where possible, the brand partnerships should be revealed in the physical environment too, to enhance the experience. That is exactly what Porsche is doing with Bose. What a great opportunity for Bose to get some recognition in New York where the majority of the city is donning the ‘Beats by Dre’ headphones and hogging all the limelight, thanks to their recent Apple acquisition. Although, secretly I feel that Porsche and ‘Beats by Dre’ make a good team and Bose to me is very BMW or Audi.

Porsche ‘CAN DO’ such initiatives as they have ‘championed’ all the pillars that make their DNA in terms of technology, design, performance, innovation and even brand experiences online (Premium website and social media content) and offline (Premium dealerships and beautiful Porsche Museum). Once your brand is able to champion or strengthen its core product and services, such initiatives are welcomed and work. There is no point providing a premium experiential atmosphere when your site is all clunky, your social media is outdated and your sales and customer service team appears to be disinterested. Every touch point is the face of your brand and it best put on a huge smile, be patient and help the customers decide.

What happened here is that Audi City may have been one of the firsts to provide an enhanced digital experience in store but they did not innovate it further (well not yet). And now we have this beautiful experiential pop-up from Porsche that hits all the sweet spots of what the people are currently enjoying – music, videos and premium design products + a canvas to express themselves. Even if you don’t participate in the competition, you will take some pictures in store and share on your social networks. Who doesn’t know Porsche and who would not want to know what’s going on in this pop-up store?

The Sound of Porsche will be open to the public Sept. 16 through Oct. 5, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

If you are from the Ferrari or Maserati team and reading this – YOUR TURN! Show us what you’ve got!! 😉

Instagram wars: Nike vs Adidas

Adidas Originals. That’s the first tag line that struck me when I saw this new Adidas campaign on Instagram. How not original it is for me and here’s why.

NIKE – Nike PhotoiD Powered by NikeiD for Instagram – featuring the Airmax

Nike has already kicked up a super cool and simple idea involving Instagram, which preserves their product and extends the NikeiD aspect of allowing users to select their best shoe color configuration.

How it works?

Choose your Instagram photo and a Nike shoe. Check out the design configuration the algorithm serves and share your favorite shoe online with your friends. Not just that, it also shows the image you selected in the background and what Nike shoe color selection you finally ended up selecting.

The Photo ID Microsite has a Gallery where you can filter images using the following parameters e.g. by Color and the Airmax model 1, 90 and 95 models. Not just that, it also allows you to see what your followers have shared online, besides checking out the entire Instagram community and the featured ones. It is as simple as it can be in terms of hooking up your Instagram account and getting involved and also a simple UX on the site to engage with the community.

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Adidas, on the other hand, is trying too hard and creating a buzz on its upcoming app.

How it will work?

Adidas Photo Print App for ZX Flux will launch this August for the iOS and Android users. Customers will have to buy a pair of the ZX Flux sneakers on which the Instagram photo will be printed.

What we need to question here is the fact that what audience is Adidas actually trying to engage here and what do they really think of their products?

Seriously this is original in terms of the amount of unique designs that will come through, but not sure how many of these iPhone and Android users qualify as characters who would want to walk around with a ‘shoe’ imprinted with their Instagram image.

Imagine how ugly it can get in cases where the users don’t know what ugly pictures they are taking and how it can actually damage the product in the long run. Imagine the Adidas marketing manager walking around the high-street and looks at some cool kids wearing the ZX Flux showing pizzas, sushi, burgers, selfies, random psychedelic stuff. What is worse is when these images show the logos of any other brands on the shoe. Free advertising for them on a shoe they would probably never want to be seen on and Adidas in return ending up with a cheesy product among chavs with no taste on the streets of Britain at least.

Internet is calling this a game-changing app – yes of course, an app that will change what Adidas stands for, for the current generation on Instagram for the first time and sneakers just became the cool thing for them and also generate a not-so-positive-with-awe word-of-mouth for Adidas by their loyal customers all these years. Thanks to the ‘photo print app’ shoes that no one wanted all these years, irrespective of the fact that Instagram made them do it. Kodak has been printing pictures on many objects and there is a reason that shoes have stayed from this category among the masses.

Waiting for the action to kick up in August 2014 and see how the Internet reacts to this. Brace yourselves, some really ugly shoes are coming!

Hashbag – buy and sell on Instagram

Even before Instagram is preparing for ads on its platform, sales channel is already set-up. With the launch of Hashbag, you can now post things for sale on Instagram and also hopefully exploit the ad platform to promote your products in the near future.

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This is in fact a really great idea as people are constantly connected on Instagram these days, as much as they are connected to Facebook. Even better that you don’t need to go via a dealer, you can directly be in touch with the Instagram user.

Currently payments are dealt via PayPal and for every item sold, the seller is charged $0.99. Check out more details on https://hashb.ag/ and I’m sure you’ll be amused to see that some people are actually trying to sell ‘cars’ via Hashbag. Enjoy Hashbaggin’!

 

Car configurators – can we ever get it right?

‘Irritating’

…..That’s the word I am sure Steve Jobs would have used to define ‘Car Configurators’.

Car Configurators and their problem online

I simply fail to understand why car brands investing so much time & resources in their products fail to do the same on their websites and also on what we call ‘lead generation’ tools online. Innovation – it is what everybody is talking about and showing off in their products but why is it only there? Why cannot innovation be taken solely from the point of the birth of an idea without an end to it. You create a beautiful product and leave it out there to die a slow death online at the mercy of UX. It is certainly very time consuming and painful to innovate a product but for god sake when it comes to marketing online, we have tools and talent available at a much less margin of that price you invested in making a great product. But the sad truth on a majority of configurators is –

They. do. not. deliver.

Neither on desktop. Nor on mobile. Forget about dealerships touch points online, that is another story where Audi and BMW are trying to set some benchmarks here to lead the industries.

Recently I spotted a decent enough effort by Audi to show some edge in car configurators. The revamp of their US site is a huge step forward and their recent initiative of showing a ‘Car Park’ online with the real-time configurations takes it to a really exciting level. Is ‘Truth in Engineering’ being taken a bit too seriously here by Audi? Yes may be. We will see more such inspiring stuff hopefully in years to come and then as soon as it becomes a standard, we will see something else. Better. Faster. Stronger!

Currently, a perfect car configurator is an unclaimed territory where there is still room to shine. Lots of it. Audi has built a car park online out of it.

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But why automotive? Why is the car buying behavior or online purchase decision making suffering when they are backed by such solid funding and large scale investments.

Take a look at Nike iD configurator. Of course a shoe is not as complex as a car but at the end of the day Nike try to serve a shopping tool online to ‘simplify decision making and help our customers to personalize the product’ and make their own.

It looks amazing on the site, clean – clear – simple – fast and a good design compatible with desktop and mobile,

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A car configuration would have a lot more steps compared to a shoe but a good design will eliminate the monotony of going through numerous steps and add excitement to personalization process even more.

The best car configurator in my opinion ever made was done by Bugatti for Veyron and is unfortunately offline now. As you can see below how neat and clean the UX was and built specifically for Veyron.

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There are some decent configurators and they all work but do they deliver in terms of shopping experience, personality and design? I cannot think of any and this Bugatti Veyron one was done way back in 2008 and still stands tall.