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Fendi flashbulbs explode, giving way to gifting ideas

Italian fashion house Fendi is setting off light bulbs in consumers’ minds as they shop “brilliant” gift ideas for the holidays.

Fendi’s ID-ea capsule collection is a humorous and vibrant collection that uses light bulb iconography to light up the holiday season, and is indicative of the label’s creative spirit. To promote the capsule, Fendi turned to its email subscribers with a message encouraging discovery positioned as gaming.

“I think luxury shoppers today are less impressed with interactive elements and looking for a personalized and quick browsing experience,” said Brittany Mills, director of digital marketing services at Mobiquity, New York. “Now that most shoppers purchase on mobile, these types of campaigns can easily frustrate shoppers and deter them away.”

Ms. Mills is not affiliated with Fendi, but agreed to comment as an industry expert.

Fendi was unable to comment directly before press deadline.

Flash of genius
Within the Fendi email, which included the subject line “The Festive Spirit of the Fendi ID-ea,” consumers can first select from men’s or women’s collections or be directed to a store locator. Scrolling down further produces Fendi’s ID-ea content where the brand says, “Holiday magic is in full swing soaked in joyfulness just like the brightest Fendi ID-eas.”

At this point of the email consumers can either select to shop the collection or begin the Fendi ID-ea experience. By doing so, consumers can “let [their] favorite flashbulb explode” to discover various products included in the capsule collection.

“I think it’s tough to keep highly connected audiences engaged, I fear even a Fendi brand loyalist will tire quickly of this simple execution,” said Terry Rieser, chief operating officer at TAG Creative. “It’s a ‘bright’ idea but it just seems too simplistic for today’s digitally savvy audience.

“I love that they used the bright idea ‘lightbulb’ as a starting point for the creative which is featured in-store and the brand video, but I’d have personally loved to see this pushed further with the digital execution,” she said. “I wish it were more unpredictable and I wish they would have used the on/off potential of the light source for surprising discovery of the collection.”

When the experience loads on Fendi’s homepage the consumer is shown three panels that begin to spin as if a slot machine. Each panel includes a light bulb in purple, blue or yellow while the filaments within the glass are illuminated and shaped to read Fendi ID-ea.

It is then up to the consumer to hit the stop prompt three times to pause the spinning panels. When three bulbs have been selected, they come together to become one light that eventually burns so bright that it explodes.

The explosion of glass and light fades away to reveal an item from the Fendi ID-ea capsule collection. A sidebar on the right shows three additional capsule pieces, and links to the right allow for exploration of the men’s and women’s edits.

Fendi’s ID-ea collection is characterized by colorful and soft shearling that contrast with darker, edgier studded elements. The shearling items in the capsule include Petite2Jours, By The Way, micro Baguette handbags and backpacks, all of which feature the Fendi logo or the light bulb motif.

Other handbag styles including the 2Jours, Petite2Jours and wallets feature dark colors and studded embellishments. Also, a “ray of yellow light” shines on the micro Peekaboo, mini By The Way and micro backpack.

A video supporting the ID-ea capsule collection has also been shared by Fendi on its Web site and social media accounts. The minute-long film shows dancers in athletic wear from the capsule moving among old fashioned light bulbs with bright yellow filaments that are suspended from the ceiling above.

As the dancers move around the light bulbs, various pieces are shown in closer detail such as leather sneakers, sweatshirts sweatpants, scarves and the aforementioned leather goods.

“The video does a great job of featuring the products in this collection,” Ms. Mills said. “Video is the most consumed piece of content across devices and I believe that this element will drive the most conversion for Fendi.”

To increase visibility for the ID-ea capsule collection, Fendi has outfitted the windows of its global network of boutiques. Its displays include the capsule pieces highlighted by “a colorful play of lights, shiny materials and red glossy decors.”

Gifting ideology
While the Fendi ID-ea initiative is not a clear cut holiday-effort in terms of imagery, the brand’s strategy of a participatory and engaging gift guide aligns with what others have produced.

For instance, Neiman Marcus is enticing its consumers who “Love to Give” with an Instagram gift guide.

For each of the “25 Days of Gifts,” Neiman Marcus will post a short video to Instagram recommending a product for consumers to gift to friends and loved ones, with 10 percent of proceeds benefitting the Heart of Neiman Marcus Foundation. The outlet and charitable cause will keep Neiman Marcus top-of-mind among young consumers in particular (see story).

Also, British department store chain Harvey Nichols is using its retail expertise to protect consumers from a new holiday-induced malady.

The retailer has coined the term #GiftFace to refer to the forced smile put on when a gift recipient has to feign enthusiasm for an unexciting present and has illustrated the condition with a series of comic social posts. As the holidays are approaching, retailers are looking to find creative, amusing ways to highlight their gift guides that go beyond a simple listing (see story).

Since the gift guide and video are not linked together clearly, this allots consumers two different experiences for the same effort.

“I think that each shopper reacts to different types of content and experiences,” Ms. Mills said. “Having two separate pieces allows the shopper to browse how they want. I always recommend having various forms of content included during the shopping experience to not only covert all types of consumers, but to also start to segment shoppers to better understand what drives conversion for each type.”

Alexandra Press, director of business development at TAG Creative, agreed saying, “I think it makes sense that the first thing you would see when looking at the full collection of styles is the brand video, as that really does bring to life the pieces, but the two elements are working a little disparately at the moment.

“There is no doubt that the strength of the creative here lies in the holistic campaign,” she said. “It’s not always easy to hit a home run with digital, but that’s what makes the medium so fantastic, you have the ability to optimize based on real-time results.”

Final Take
Jen King, lead reporter on Luxury Daily, New York