Thanks to an article published in the last edition of "Magazine," "Le luxe et la presse dans 10 ans" ("Luxury brands and the press in 10 years"), we’ve been able to learn a bit about today’s and tomorrow’s luxury brand communication trends.
Press ads remain the preferred type of advertising for luxury brands because they are the best adapted to create quality ads that consumers can enjoy when they want and for as long as they want. An advertising page is not limited in terms of when a consumer can see it. The consumer can look at the ad for as long as he/she wants. This time flexibility doesn’t exist with other media (apart from the Internet, but we’ll get to that later).
The paper format allows an advertiser to tell a story. However, not all luxury brands bother to tell a story any more. Often a nice product, a logo, a Parisian street corner, and a famous actress looking into the camera must suffice. This is just advertising, and nothing more. However, today, and certainly 10 years from now, what matters is not just the quality of the advertising content, but the experiences that brands offer consumers.
The current crisis is changing luxury comsumption habits. Nelly Rody, president of the Nelly Rody agency, explains in an interview done for the French newspaper Les Echos that this change brings an end to the era of “bling.” Today’s luxury consumer searches above all for good service and a quality product. Luxury objects should be unusual both in their conception and workmanship. The world is changing and communicating about a luxury brand or product can no longer be restricted to traditional advertising, no matter how good the advertising is.
Internet media allow brands to juggle quality, content, service, and experience. By producing rich content and spreading it online, a brand ensures it can increase the time consumers spend with the brand and the likelihood the consumers will feel connected to the brand. The brand that has most succeeded in understanding today’s market is Hermès. Its website is a real treasure chest in terms of its ingenuity, discoveries, and interactivity.
To the delight of luxury fans, brands are increasingly using the Internet to interact with consumers. For example, Yves Saint-Laurent offers Internet users the chance to discover each collection in an original way. The men’s collection is introduced in the form of an artistic film which stars Mickael Pitt and is made up of photographs by Inez Van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin.
Michael Pitt for YSL FW09 from Ivan Vovnenko on Vimeo.
In the site’s events category, we can also discover a series titled 24hrs, which was conceived and realized by Nick Knight and Stefano Pilati (the brand’s Artistic Director). 24 episodes introduce the 24 collection.
The brand Tod’s has gone for "branded content" with its short film “Pashmy Dream,” carried out by Denis Hopper. The film stars the “face of Tod’s” Gwyneth Paltrow.
Luxury brands use the same ingredients for their online and offline campaigns (beautiful pictures taken at international hot spots, top models or famous actresses, large productions, etc.). However, while paper ads are limited to an 8½ X 11 size, the Internet allows brands to go much further in terms of telling a story. Above all, the Internet allows us some quantitative figures unfathomable for traditional advertising campaigns: time spent looking at the content, number of views, visitors, number of times forwarded, and number of times the embedded code was copied, etc.
Internet allows for creativity and a real brand experience. The brand just needs to make sure that the information spreads. Often, luxury brands, out of fear of appearing too mainstream, only use PR and send e-mails to their data base. This limits the reach of their message. A larger spread could be created by involving influencers (bloggers or other opinion leaders) through a well-organized online campaign that integrates viral techniques.