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Nordstrom: We Got the Beat

This week, Eighties pop group The Go-Go's take Nordstrom shoppers on a nostalgic ride that is as much about online shopping as it is brand building.

This week, Eighties pop group The Go-Go’s take Nordstrom shoppers on a nostalgic ride that is as much about online shopping as it is brand building.

Some 2.5 million consumers were invited by e-mail on Monday to download from the Internet software that plays full-screen broadband video. The clip features footage of the band tooling around in a red convertible singing their 1981 hit “Our Lips Are Sealed,” recorded the same year MTV broadcast the first music video. The vintage footage is blended with present-day video and images showcasing 28 items shoppers can buy online by clicking through to Nordstrom.com. Music was remixed by FatBoy Slim.

Nordstrom executive vice president Linda Finn told WWD the marketing initiative, called Nordstrom Silverscreen, was designed to deliver “an innovative fashion experience, something more than just a video clip from a runway show or a TV commercial.” Next month, another video blending new and old footage will be released featuring Culture Club. Future releases will not be limited to Eighties bands, she noted.

Finn did not address sales projections nor which online metrics Nordstrom will track to gauge how shoppers respond to Silverscreen. The interactive software, which was developed by Maven Networks of Cambridge, Mass., is equipped to track the number of users who click on a particular interactive element and how much time users spend with the multimedia application. Aggregate data can also be collected to track how many users e-mail to friends the outfits they created online in a virtual dressing room called the Mixing Room. Observers said this viral marketing component — where shoppers share images of outfits they created online — can be a powerful brand builder, even if it’s not equated with a sales lift.

“There’s probably no way to [directly] attribute a dollar increase to this and that’s not necessarily a bad thing,” said David Fry, president and chief executive officer of Fry Inc., an Ann Arbor, Mich., Web site development company. “What Nordstrom has done is not so much an e-commerce story but a brand-building story. Clearly they are trying to deliver a rich brand identity.”

To view Silverscreen, consumers must download software to their computers, including Microsoft’s Windows XP Media Player. “This is aimed at the iPod generation,” said Lauren Freedman, president of the E-Tailing Group, a Chicago consulting firm. “For them, downloading is part of their life, a natural extension of their lifestyle.”

Freedman described Silverscreen as “MTV meets interactive shopping.” The Mixing Room, where shoppers can select from different tops, bottoms, shoes and handbags to create an outfit, is visually engaging, she said. As a user changes the online mannequin’s handbag from a DKNY to a BCBG Maz Azria one, for instance, the musical tempo to the “Lips” audio changes simultaneously, so the shopper is effectively remixing the song as she puts together a look.