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Top 10 luxury brand multichannel marketers of Q1

Luxury marketers amplified in-store ambiance through digital initiatives in the first quarter of 2014.

Karl Lagerfeld kept fans guessing for a store debut, Barney’s aligned itself with a progressive cause and Audi unfurled a massive underdog campaign for its A3. As brands continue to adapt an omnichannel identity, multichannel components will be woven into every initiative.

Here are the top 10 luxury brand multichannel marketers of the first quarter of 2014, in alphabetical order:

Giorgio Armani’s collection Emporio Armani is showing the Italian label’s first Swiss-made watch line at Baselworld in a vault-inspired installation.

Coinciding with the first day of the watch and jewelry show, Armani launched a dedicated microsite that mimics the physical vault in Messe Basel, Switzerland. Giving consumers an online platform to learn about the line that reflects the brand’s display at the show will expand the reach of its exhibit at Baselworld.

At Baselworld, Armani’s display looks like a bank vault, with a large circular door at the entrance of the exhibit. Inside, glass cases of watches line the sides of the narrow room with walls decorated to look like safety deposit boxes.

Leading up to the unveiling of its Swiss Made collection, Armani posted teasers on social media, showing images of a closed vault. On Instagram, the brand posted a short video of a vault opening, which then dissolved into black without showing the contents inside.

Audi of America is unleashing the next wave of advertising efforts for its entry-level, sub-$30,000 A3 model that hits the United States April 3.

The multichannel campaign revolves around a television spot featuring comedian Ricky Gervais and various other celebrities. Four other spots trail the lead commercial and convey ideas such as resilience and authenticity and build upon the buzz that began with the Super Bowl.

The central commercial in the campaign is called “Dues” and displays celebrities going about their work routines while saying the lyrics to Queen’s “We Are the Champions.” The toil and grit that the song evokes will likely resonate with the target audience, who may feel that they have earned a new car.

Department store chain Barneys New York is aligning itself with the fight for transgender equality with an ad campaign and outreach.

Barneys’ “Brothers, Sisters, Sons and Daughters” campaign features 17 transgender individuals with diverse backgrounds and stories that will be told through a series of short films. With this campaign, Barneys shows a more personal, human side to its brand that allows it to connect on a deeper level with consumers.

Photographer Bruce Weber shot the campaign that shows the 17 subjects, most surrounded by their loved ones. Mr. Weber said he tried to convey his respect for them in his photos.

To record the stories Barneys enlisted writer Patricia Bosworth, a long-time contributor to Vanity Fair, to interview each subject one-on-one. Mr. Weber filmed the interviews and created a series of short films.

Barneys then hosted a private event to screen Mr. Weber’s 15-minute video and commemorate the project.

Diane von Furstenberg is celebrating the 40th anniversary of its iconic wrap dress with a multichannel campaign centered on an exhibit in Los Angeles and a limited-edition collection.

DVF’s “Journey of a Dress” exhibit kicked off with a live-streamed red carpet affair hosted by Ms. von Furstenberg herself, model Coco Rocha and television personality Andy Cohen. By creating online content surrounding the exhibit and the milestone for the brand, DVF is able to involve more of its fans in the celebration, and inform them of its heritage.

Italian atelier Fendi is adding art appeal to its Munich store opening with a Baguette designed by Japanese painter Hiroshi Senju.

Mr. Senju is known for his large paintings of waterfalls, which ties into Fendi’s exhibition in Munich featuring photos of fountains in Rome taken by creative director Karl Lagerfeld.

This artist collaboration is part of Fendi’s Artist Baguette project, which has artists take Fendi’s iconic handbag and embellish it with their aesthetic. Included in the list of previous artists who have interpreted the Baguette are Jeff Koons and Damien Hirst.

Mr. Senju uses traditional Japanese painting technique called Sumie, using paints created out of natural materials like soot and water. His waterfalls often focus on the base of the stream, where the water crashes into the lake below.

Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts teamed up with mattress manufacturer Simmons to bolster a dream-friendly reputation by introducing customizable beds into its portfolio.

The hotel chain enlisted research group Ipsos to gain a better understanding of consumers’ sleep preferences and patterns. Furthermore, the brand hosted Twitter chats on World Sleep Day March 14 with a number of sleep experts.

French department store Galeries Lafayette created a multichannel campaign with graffiti artist André Saraiva to prove the retailer’s quirkiness.

Mr. Saraiva’s image is plastered across a billboard outside the store, and his signature tag “Mr. A” is seen across the retailer’s content Web site. By choosing an artist rather than a model, Galeries Lafayette is able to show its creative flair.

Galeries Lafayette’s homme spring/summer 2014 campaign shows Mr. Saraiva sitting in profile in front of an easel spray painting a canvas, paint palette in hand. The campaign was shot by Jean-Paul Goude.

Karl Lagerfeld, creative director of both Chanel and Fendi, is spending time curating the fragrance portfolio of his eponymous fashion label with an interactive digital touchpoint approach to increase awareness for the new range.

After a 10-day countdown of cartoon hands outfitted with Mr. Lagerfeld’s signature  studded black leather gloves, the brand officially debuted its namesake fragrances for men and women at London department store Harrods March 13. Both the countdown and Mr. Lagerfeld’s celebrity status among fashionable individuals ensured that consumers routinely tuned in as the launch developed.

Scotch whiskey distiller The Macallan aimed to capture the attention of up-and-coming technology entrepreneurs at the interactive aspect of Austin, TX’s South by Southwest festival March 7-11.

The Macallan held both physical tasting events and social events over the weekend portion of South by Southwest Interactive where many young upstarts networked and attended seminars and special events. Although SXSWi’s target demographic may not be seen as the traditional high-end whiskey drinker, The Macallan may spark a connection that grows as attendees rise in their careers.

During SXSWi, The Macallan incorporated Instagram into its marketing strategy. The Macallan invited Seattle-based photographer, Tyson Edwards, to act as guest Instagrammer to capture #MacallanMoments at SXSWi.

Department store chain Saks Fifth Avenue is collaborating with fashion stylist Erin Walsh on a campaign for its contemporary lines that will run through March until May.

Beginning with a series of YouTube videos, the stylist will also be appearing at in-store events across the country at different Saks stores. Not only does this video help consumers by teaching them how to wear trendy items, but it also will help sales associates better serve customers.

Ms. Walsh has worked with actresses Kerry Washington, Kristen Wiig, Maggie Gyllenhaal and Sarah Jessica Parker. She has also styled editorial photo shoots for magazines including international editions of Vogue, InStyle and Vanity Fair.

For Saks, Ms. Walsh filmed a number of short videos around five minutes in length that show consumers how to style a trend in a number of ways.

Final take
Joe McCarthy, editorial assistant on Luxury Daily, New York