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Prada delves into visual past with Pradasphere microsite

Italian fashion label Prada is expanding the audience of its London exhibit at Harrods with a microsite dedicated to past campaigns.

Prada’s Pradasphere microsite provides both multimedia from the exhibit itself and also gives a look at runway shows and advertising images dating back to the 1980s. Creating this hub for consumers to view the house’s past will boost awareness of Prada’s heritage and serve as an extension of the physical exhibit.

“The microsite is a powerful digital component complimenting the exhibit,” said Donn Gobin, chief operating officer at Aurnhammer, New York.

“It captures the exhibit’s essentials and put together a beautiful digital experience,” he said. “Prada makes a smart move as the microsite engages fans across the globe who can’t attend the exhibit in London.”

Mr. Gobin is not affiliated with Prada but agreed to comment as an industry expert.

Prada was unable to comment before press deadline.

Looking back
Pradasphere is a branded takeover of London department store Harrods through the month of May.

Pradasphere_exhibition_harrods__87A3251 Panorama
Pradasphere exhibit at Harrods

The in-store experience, which opened May 2, includes a pop-up shop, an exhibit, a café and window displays that educate consumers about the brand’s connection to art and pop culture. Through these displays across the store, Harrods has been able to bring Italy into its doors and Prada spread awareness for its history and cultural projects (see story).

Prada first unveiled its microsite on social media once the exhibit had been up for about two weeks. In a Facebook post, along with a silent video showing iconic images of the house popping up in a circle, Prada included the link to the site, telling consumers to “explore.”

Pradasphere microsite Facebook
Facebook post from Prada

Following that, the brand continued a stream of posts on Facebook and Twitter providing the link to the microsite, giving more videos and images of the in-store display.

The Pradasphere microsite is also accessible from a link in the projects section on Prada’s homepage.

When the microsite loads, the promotional image from the exhibit is the sole content displayed. This shows a model on a runway in Prada surrounded by images of shoes and handbags by the brand and landmarks in the house’s past.

Pradasphere microsite homepage
Pradasphere microsite homepage

From there, consumers can click through a slideshow of information and images of the physical in-store takeover.

In the top left corner of the screen, consumers can toggle between the “exhibition” and “explore” tabs. “Explore” takes the user to an interactive feature that examines the past advertising campaigns and fashion shows of the brand.

When the page loads, a spiral is shown, with thumbnail images that appear to be increasingly far away from the viewer. Arrows to the left and right of the spiral allow consumers to move to the past or future.

Pradasphere microsite ss1
Screenshot of Pradasphere microsite

The most recent photo represents the fashion label’s fall/winter 2014 women’s wear show. If consumers click the thumbnail, the site pulls up a YouTube video of the runway presentation.

As the consumer hits the “past” button, the spiral moves older content closer to them. Each thumbnail allows for a viewing of either a campaign video, slideshow of advertising images or a video of a runway show.

The oldest entry is the fall/winter 1987 campaign, a black and white series showing a woman in bed or sitting next to a train track clutching a Prada handbag.

Pradasphere microsite ss2
Screenshot of Pradasphere microsite

Prada’s microsite links back to the main Prada Web site.

The main site did provide images of recent campaigns, but the microsite gives a more historic look at all of Prada’s campaigns and fashions over the years, acting as a digital archive.

“The endless spiral resembles a ‘sphere’ and goes along with the exhibit,” Mr. Gobin said.

“The site has a very simple layout, which encourages visitors to explore the components in the large spiral,” he said. “Also the smart gesture control provides an incredibly smooth navigation.

“All elements in the site add more fun and elegance into the discovery of Prada’s historical moments.”

Story to tell
A microsite separate from a brand’s main page allows for an immersive, undistracted exploration of a brand’s history.

For instance, French fashion house Lanvin added a heritage-focused microsite to its digital presence that will educate consumers about the brand’s 125-year history.

Lanvin’s microsite organizes content on a timeline, and will be updated weekly during the brand’s anniversary campaign to include later events in the house’s past. Prior to this the brand’s Web site content was focused solely on the present day, so this microsite rounds out its digital presence and helps raise awareness of the brand’s history (see story).

Focusing on one particular topic can also help to concentrate consumer attention.

Montblanc, maker of writing instruments and watches, elevated its history of fine craftsmanship on a microsite dedicated to the brand’s Heritage Collection 1912 to attract new consumers with an interest in artistry.

The heritage microsite allowed enthusiasts and those unfamiliar with the brand to discover the story and facts behind the Heritage Collection 1912 writing instrument. Displaying craftsmanship and innovations accomplished by a brand can increase awareness among existing enthusiasts while drawing in the attention of new consumers (see story).

Since this microsite is tied to a physical exhibit, it gives it more weight.

“Besides an archive of Prada’s complete fashion history, the microsite also includes a comprehensive coverage of the Pradasphere exhibit,” Mr. Gobin said. “Consumers who can’t visit the exhibit in London now get to view the exhibit in different angles.

“That being said, the site can become even more informational if it provides more clickable features and more details of the specific items,” he said.

Final Take
Sarah Jones, editorial assistant on Luxury Daily, New York