Banana Republic makes a smart move
Doritos can tell you that crowdsourcing for ad ideas and stars isn’t new, and Pepsi can tell you that featuring fans in an ad (or Super Bowl halftime show) is not new. Brands have been incorporating regular people in lieu of celebrity spokespeople for some time now, and the efforts are getting more creative, with retailer Banana Republic announcing they’ll be featuring lifestyle blogger Joy Cho of Oh Joy! in their upcoming campaign, featuring Joy and her husband recreating their first date (while wearing new Banana Republic items, of course).
Banana Republic’s Global Chief Marketing Officer, Catherine Sadler tells Bloomberg, “Our partnership with ‘Oh Joy’ begins what will evolve into an even more extensive digital content presence in 2013. Not only will we look to excite customers and connect with them through curated content in association with blogs like ‘Oh Joy,’ but we’re also excited about curating and pushing out our own content in the digital space.”
The retailer has already improved sales through brand collaboration like their upcoming spring collaboration with Mad Men, and collaborating with bloggers makes perfect sense. Most labels send samples to fashion bloggers in hopes that their praises will be aired on the digital pages, and Banana Republic is no exception.
Why it’s a smart move for Banana Republic
In your own company, is there an influencer for your industry specifically that would be someone to feature or collaborate with somehow? Instead of sticking with the Milla Jovovich types, Banana Republic is branching out, and why not? Joy Cho has over 12 million followers on Pinterest alone, which doesn’t make her a household name, but certainly makes her a niche celebrity, which can actually go a lot further in some cases than an actress or model, because people feel like the Joy Chos of the world are just like them, they’re real people living real lives, and heck, they can message them directly and not reach a PR gatekeeper.
“We’re really interested in adding dimension to our conversation with our customer and telling deeper stories,” Sadler tells Bloomberg. “That is very much a focus of 2013, to be able to engage with our customers at a deeper, more dimensional level, and to be able to create content that showcases our product.”
Watch Banana Republic as an example of how you could potentially tap into the wealth of niche bloggers. Insurance companies could feature a SAHM Safety Expert in a web series (ad or video), a coupon app company could feature an influential financial blogger in their ads, and so on and so forth. Think beyond just collaboration with other brands, think about how you can use the rising breed of untraditional digital celebrities.