When video leads the way

This month’s [retail bytes] is all about the power of video. Over four million YouTube videos are watched every 60 seconds, more than twice as many as Snaps created (1.8 million per 60 seconds). Videos are holding our attention better than most other internet formats and fashion needs to pull its socks up to compete.

Jeff Koons hits the moving image sweet spot at Louis Vuitton: A video-cum-animation of Da Vinci masterpieces were developed by Louis Vuitton to promote their collections of ‘iconic/ironic’ bags. The use of the moving picture format was a nod to the new movie Loving Vincent, the world’s first fully painted feature film. One hundred and fifteen painters collaborated on the movie, using 65,000 frames to tell Van Gogh’s story. Jeff Koons took a lot less time to ‘image up’ the most famous Da Vinci masterpieces, but the video ad promoting it has been praised for exploring new animation techniques. Vuitton’s fans were not convinced but the bags are selling. Ironic luxury video beats sensibilities (or ‘if it moves, it sells’).

Skateboards and crossesMore modern masters are taking on streetwear too, with the Supreme skateboarding brand launching a collaboration with Andres Serrano. Better known for his sexualised religious imagery, Serrano is now hailed as a street brand hero, with Supreme exploring the urban themes in the context of crucifixes and bloody imagery. Following a road well-trodden by Madonna, Supreme included videos and animations in its promotional material to bring Serrano’s unsettling religious art-based references to fans of the NY-based brand. Heavy investment in YouTube and video promotions are paying off: Supreme is thriving on their model of short drops of stock. This offers their ‘early buyers’ a strong secondary market on re-selling and gives their army of enthusiastic ambassadors the means to make a bit of cash.

Watch the watchersViral videos are pure gold for brands but the best ones are rare, and more often than not a mediocre video is backed by giant marketing spend that eventually gets the video shared. Michael Kors’s promotion of their smartwatch has caught the eye of younger consumers with the video being a cross between an instruction manual and a glam glimpse of the lifestyle of people ‘in the know’. Number 6 on the viral video list is pretty good going for a relatively low budget production, so kudos to the team.

Jeff Koons hits again, this time on SnapchatFrom Van Gogh to the Snap universe, Jeff Koons is having a moment, and not just with videos. As Snapchat searches for new inspirations to keep its shareholders pacified, Jeff has provided plenty of controversy. His iconic balloon dog can now be superimposed on any landscape using AR embedded in the frame. It follows where Pokémon Go went before, but clearly the brand is hoping for more than a one-month wonder. AR is the new black so well done to the Snap team for beating Facebook in the race to use AR well.

Make the invisible visible: Interested in your Facebook audience? Of course you are, and now brands are able to investigate if their followers are a random crowd or if in fact they are divided into tribes. Lostcircles.com is a Chrome Extension that helps individual or a brand page to surface (or visualise) the hidden connections between followers. Similar to the old Friends Wheel, LostCircles takes you on a journey of discovery into the hyper-connected universe we have found ourselves in.

The VR race to space: A new VR camera that looks a bit like an oversized sandwich will travel to space to take 360 and 3D footage live on the space station. Created by the HumanEyes company, Vuze VR will be used for films that can be watched using VR headsets, and will be mainly be distributed via Facebook, Oculus, YouTube and PlayStation VR platforms. The Oculus headset can be bought for under £150 so we may be seeing VR making it to the masses. Live-streaming 360 and 3D from sports events and flagship stores are sure to come next.

Upcoming events: Creating VR and immersive video experiences is still in its early days, so for the brands that need to get their video game up, the best event is in San Francisco on the 7th and 8th of December. Organised by a solid crew of pioneers, this VR conference is full of workshops and showcases by VR studios that have started popping up across California and London.