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RE: Obama ‘Bundlers’

14 Feb

Looks like I’m not the only one wondering about the effect of the Runway to Win campaign.


Obama ‘Bundlers’

8 Feb

I am not a huge follower of politics and know less about the current happenings than I would like. However, politics has recently meshed with fashion in a unique way. While reading NY magazine’s The Cut it has recently come to my attention that Anna Wintour is at the forefront of fundraising for Obama. She has hosted several events as well as leading a campaign known as “Runway to Win” which entails famous designers creating unique merchandise that will turn profits that go to fundraising Obama’s re-election campaign. Wintour, Vogue’s editor-in-chief, has tapped her extensive network of designer friends and has recruited several famous names like DVF, Jason Wu, and Rachel Roy to the effort. It is notably a thank you from these designers since Michelle Obama has promoted their brands through public appearances in their clothes. It’s a win win for both parties. It is really very interesting to me because I previously did a post about Kenneth Cole and his somewhat controversial campaign that leans toward the more liberal side of the spectrum. I pondered on what this meant for his brand. Similarly, LVMH has discouraged its band of designers from participating for fear of turning off its more conservative customers. I can imagine some of these participating designers’ customers will be put off by the public support of Obama. But, at what cost does this come for the designer and brand? Is it worth it to them because of the exposure Michelle has already garnered for them? Or does this further secure their customers that are also Obama supporters and their renewed loyalty offsets the lost customers?


Creative Solution to Economic Distress

1 Dec

Women’s Wear Daily did an article on creative ways of breaking through this tough economic recession. They asked the Creative Directors of several different design houses what their personal solutions would be. My favorite response was from Karl Lagerfeld of Chanel. He said, “I think they should make a tax so that when you earn a certain amount of money, you have to spend a certain amount on shopping. To buy whatever….And that way, we create tons of jobs. I think it’s a good idea. What I hate is people with a lot of money who don’t spend it. Money is there to be spent, because it creates jobs….Believe me, it’s not a bad idea. You buy whatever it is; food, furniture, design, clothes, cars…whatever creates jobs.” Of course this would never happen, but the idea is novel. People hate to be taxed, but what if a tax was to increase consumer spending and was you putting money into things that you could keep instead of just giving it to the government? I wouldn’t have a problem with it (if I was earning this “certain amount of money”). I’m definitely a proponent of spending money and shopping. It would certainly get more money circulating in the economy and help with jobs. Leave it to Mr. Lagerfeld to advocate spending, especially when those people earning a high income are more likely to be his customers.

Karl Lagerfeld


Tis the season

30 Nov

The Christmas season is always one in which consumers are slightly more apt to open their wallets and checkbooks. It’s the season of giving despite the recession. And this was clearly depicted by the latest update in the Consumer Confidence Index. It reached a four month high in November at 56. This is the biggest jump since April of 2003. Consumers reported a more optimistic outlook on the current conditions and the short term outlook on businesses, jobs, and income. The biggest shopping day of the year, Black Friday, was a success. The weekend brought in $52.4 billion. A record breaking 226 million shoppers shopped online or in store throughout the weekend following Thanksgiving. Cyber Monday was a huge hit. This year’s Cyber Monday was the biggest in the history of ecommerce ringing in a whopping $1.25 billion. The second time ever that ecommerce has broken $1 billion in just one day. It greatly passed up the experts’ predictions. Maybe the sales can be attributed to people saving up and waiting for the good deals to make spending worth it. Or maybe consumers are really feeling more positive about the outlook of the economy. Maybe the end of the recession is in sight. Maybe people want to get their Christmas shopping done early. Or maybe it was the less than wintery weather that induced consumers to come out of the woodworks and out into the malls. Whatever the cause was, retailers aren’t complaining and neither are consumers. Shop on.





15 Nov

Today, I visited the nail polish company OPI’s website for the first time. I was pleasantly surprised by how user friendly and interactive it is. In the age where consumers reign superior, this website is very in keeping with the times. Everything is laid out perfectly. The main site flashes slowly between an ad for Nicki Minaj’s new OPI collaboration and The Muppets movie, of which there is also a nail color collection. Visually the website is also very pleasing. The side of the page has 3 tabs: How-to, Try it On, and My OPI. As you click a tab it moves to the left side as if you are leafing through a binder. The how-to section explains in 9 steps how to achieve a perfect manicure (and what types of products to use). The try it on feature is an interactive one in which there is a human hand that you can tailor so it looks like yours. You can change the skin color and nail length. There is a color palette to the right featuring all of the color shades of polish, but there are also categories to cater the palette to your particular taste. The My OPI tab allows you to save your favorite products and you can email them to friends. A perfect option if you want a specific color for Christmas. Other tabs along the top and bottom of the screen allow you to do things like saving a desktop calendar based on OPI fan comments and stories. Another cute part of the website is that when a new page is momentarily loading, a nail polish container gets filled up with polish. One other thing that I was impressed by on the site was the advice page. There are typical problems people have related to hands, feet, cuticles, nails, and miscellaneous. Each problem shows you which products will help with these problems. I think this is great way for customers to shop. They don’t have to scroll through products just by price or color like many other ecommerce sites. I think more retailers need to take a page out of OPI’s book and work harder to engage the consumer in their websites. A clean page set up is also a must. OPI’s site is very easy to navigate and is aesthetically pleasing. A lot of retailer’s sites that I have visited are cluttered with too much information on one page.  OPI has really taken their brand and portrayed it in a way that consumers can have fun while browsing the site.



Fashion Blogging: The Latest in Fashion Media

9 Nov

As an avid fashion fan, I have several blogs that I frequent and I am constantly finding new ones every day to add to my list of bookmarks. Some of my favorites are: College Fashion, The Man Repeller, Christen Mitchell, Keiko Lynn, Wendy’s Lookbook, and Atlantic-Pacific. Some fashion blogs are so popular that the blogger is almost famous. Take Leandra Medine of The Man Repeller. The following and attention her blog has fostered has allowed her to be featured in many different magazines and outlets. She has been in features for Lucky magazine, Women’s Wear Daily, The Washington Post, Glamour, and Elle, to name a few. She has been able to sculpt a career out of what started out as a fun hobby. She now gets paid to work with brands and does endorsements, allows advertisements on her page, and has contests with giveaways from these specific designers and companies. She is essentially a middle man through which brands can reach consumers. She, like other bloggers, connect on a personal level with the fashion community because her voice is that of a peer. They talk to you like a friend in very casual language and in a style that is relatable. They are ordinary people that are not much different than you or me. Brands would do well to consider fashion blogs as an additional avenue for marketing.



Marketing in the Virtual World

8 Nov

I was doing my usual reading for a class. Every week the reading has something to do with virtual worlds, whether it be how they can be incorporated in the workplace or working with groups in different locations. This particular reading however, was about the role marketing may have in the future in these virtual worlds.

The article is called “Avatar-Based Marketing” by Paul Hemp. The concept of avatars is not very novel to me. I grew up playing the Sims and had families and characters that I created in the game. I’ve never played the Sims Online though, so I haven’t played in a virtual world in the respect that the other avatars were also played by real people. People spend many hours weekly highly engaged in playing games in these virtual places. The avatars they create are essentially an extension of the person, an alternate identity, a projection of their desires. As you can see, this has the potential to be a great marketing opportunity. However, marketing has to be done creatively and cleverly. Each world is vastly different, thus one marketing campaign will not work for all. Also, using simple things like billboards will not work. Marketers need to find a way to really engage the consumer and create a meaningful interaction. So far, marketers have been focusing more on brand building in the virtual realm. This has still much development to be done, but one example that stood out to me was Nike. They sold virtual shoes that gave the avatar the ability to run faster. They created something that was useful to a virtual user.

It is uncertain whether avatars will actually buy real world products marketed in their virtual world. However, they are very likely to window shop. The social nature of shopping is present in the virtual worlds so avatars are able to try on clothes and show them to their friend avatars for feedback. They may try on things the creator of the avatar would never wear in real life. They may be pleased with the outcome of the article of clothing contrary to their original mindset and be more susceptible to the idea of purchasing it in real life though.

It seems that there is quite some resistance to real world marketing in the virtual world. People like to keep the two separate since one of the appeals of the virtual games is that it is an escape from reality. Privacy concerns are another concern of users. There is obviously a lot of research and trial to still be done, but this avenue should not be ruled out for future marketing efforts.