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SEARCHING FOR THOSE PEOPLE STILL SPENDING: Luxury brands need to do a lot more than simply post their ads online if they want to get noticed on the Web. And they better quit using pop-up ads, too, because the rich find them annoying.
Those were just a few pieces of advice imparted Thursday by Alex Charlton, a partner at Essential Research, who recently completed a study on luxury brand consumers. Charlton’s firm partnered with Microsoft for the study, which was presented at the “Seeking the Sought-After” event, where Elle, Microsoft and the Council of Fashion Designers of America introduced new consumer research on how to tap into the most coveted shoppers. “The three core purchase motivations are indulgence, exclusivity and status,” said Charlton. “Don’t just focus on the rational benefits, entertain them. Extend the in-store experience online and welcome them to ‘the club.’ You need to create a seamless integration of the physical and digital brand experience.” He also said that just as consumers expect more from luxury brands, they also have higher expectations for their ad campaigns. “You need to raise the bar,” he said. “Use the latest tools and techniques, animation, sounds and new formats such as expandable banner ads.”
The study was done with LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton in mind, said Beth Uyenco, global research director, Microsoft Advertising, although she isn’t sure what the company is going to do with the results. LVMH did not return calls for comment Thursday.
Elle also presented its study on the “recession-proof shopper.” The magazine identified three kinds of consumers — the power shopper, trendsetter and enthusiast — and advised the audience made up of retailers, brands and agencies on how to get each type into stores. “In this environment, being ‘top of mind’ wins,” said Paul Leinberger, an expert in brand and market strategy, who presented Elle’s research. “Use all channels to reach her. She leads a full life. You need to be where she is.” Like in magazines, or on their Web sites, perhaps?
— Amy Wicks
CAVALLI’S NEW QUARTET: Roberto Cavalli has switched things up for fall. For his company’s upcoming ad campaign, Frankie Rayder, Angela Lindvall, Isabeli Fontana and Raquel Zimmermann were photographed by Inez van Lamsweerde & Vinoodh Matadin in Los Angeles, with the inspiration for the shoot coming from the film “Il Gattopardo,” starring Claudia Cardinale and Burt Lancaster. “I’ve always been esthetically fascinated by this film,” said Cavalli. “I also find ‘Il Gattopardo,’ a story is based on the idea that ‘the more it changes, the more it stays the same,’ a good metaphor for fashion. In the campaign, the heroine — a sort of new Angelica — Cardinale in the movie — dances in the wilderness while a fire rages in the background. She represents the force of everything that is new, yet in the end she’s dressed like a romantic debutante. I find this idea, the contrast of old and new, to be very modern and thought provoking.” Rayder, Lindvall, Fontana and Zimmermann replace Kate Moss, who has done the Cavalli campaign for the last few seasons. But the designer hasn’t dropped Moss — she is appearing in the Just Cavalli ads.
ROAD SHOW: Interview owner Peter Brant and co-editorial director Glenn O’Brien brought their revamped magazine to the “Charlie Rose Show” Wednesday night, discussing the title’s new direction and the influence of its creator, Andy Warhol, who would have been 80 this year. The two also shared the stage with contributing fashion editor (and Brant’s wife) Stephanie Seymour, and Marc Jacobs, who appears in a white wig as Warhol on Interview’s June/July cover (Brant Publications’ other editorial director, Fabien Baron, missed the taping two weeks prior because he was stuck at a shoot). The quartet discussed how Warhol’s impact on society translates today, including the concept of business art. “Andy was the first artist who really understood that to compete in a corporate world you had to be a corporation,” said O’Brien. “You have to have your team and your company. That’s the change, probably the most profound change he made in the art world. Now you see artists like [Takashi] Murakami, who Marc has worked with, and Jeff Koons, they employ a couple hundred people. The idea of the starving artist in his lonely garret, it doesn’t apply anymore.”
Jacobs also believed Warhol’s mantra of everyone having their 15 minutes of fame is prevalent in the Internet age. “You turn on the television and everyone is famous for 15 minutes. You turn on the Internet or YouTube or Google or whatever. You can Google anybody,” Jacobs said.
The Interview team also talked about the title’s upcoming redesign with its September issue, which Brant and the company have said will incorporate more of its original format — “more humor, more glamour,” as Seymour described last night. Jacobs said what could result is Interview being yet again like “a cool accessory.” “Now more than ever, a magazine has to perform in that way. If it’s visual language and it’s content, you’ve got this great accessory that’s rich and full, but it also looks sort of cool,” he said.
— Stephanie D. Smith