High-end designer Burberry made a risky social media move before London Fashion Week in September of 2015 that most have come to think of as a social media win. The brand previously received positive feedback on the social media platform Snapchat, receiving 100 million impressions promoting a menswear show on the mobile app. They decided to channel that Snapchat success by releasing behind the scenes content of their Spring 2016 clothing line the day before the fashion show, and collaborated with Snapchat to curate a live show of Burberry with crowd-sourced footage.
Burberry CEO Christopher Bailey explained the purpose of this decision, which many deemed risky because people would see the clothes before the show, and they are usually kept under wraps until the big reveal. Bailey said featuring Burberry’s collection on Snapchat would, “allow a unique, real time view of the creation of our show which will include an unprecedented collection premier hours before it hits the runway.”
Burberry based this decision on making the brand more, “immediate and accessible,” and it was the first fashion campaign of its kind. The decision to release footage of the clothes before the show is similar to that of Volkswagon before the 2012 Super Bowl. They gambled by releasing their Super Bowl commercial the day before the big game, and forever changed the way Super Bowl campaigns are done.
The brand highlights the fact that users who follow Burberry would only have “24 hours to view the spring/summer campaign and footage captured during the shoot before the content disappears.” While we all know it is possible to screenshot a snap and keep it for longer, the immediate, behind-the-scenes feel delivered by this campaign is truly something that only Snapchat could give to consumers, which is why Burberry chose this platform. The famed photographer in charge of the event, Mario Testino, stated that the goal of the event was to, “open up a completely new way of capturing and sharing content – with the result being much more instant and genuine.”
The campaign was announced only a few days before the live footage would be available on Snapchat, keeping with the spirit of the campaign itself. The pictures and footage were then shot by Testino and released the day before the Burberry London Fashion Week show, with Testino offering a variety of photos and videos. These included still snaps of the new models being introduced for the Spring 2016 Line, models posing in the new clothing and interactions among the models between takes.
I’ve deemed this campaign a social win, and many industry leaders seem to agree. While it’s difficult to find statistics on the number of impressions this campaign received because of Snapchat’s fleeting dynamics, many public relations news sites categorize Burberry as one of few UK brands “making it work” on Snapchat. This is due in part to keeping with the true spirit of Snapchat and taking all pictures on an iPhone, even if it means low-quality footage. One of the leaders of the campaign said, “This is about being quick and easy. It’s lo-fi, and it’s meant to be poor quality; otherwise, people won’t buy into it.” Because consumers and industry leaders deem the campaign authentic, Burberry has been able to succeed on this platform.
To engage users more, I would improve the campaign by shooting quick interviews with each of the new models on Snapchat to take them from being mysterious figures to real people. By showing off their personalities and letting them engage with consumers, it makes the brand even more relatable and fun, which is one of their goals with Snapchat.