Nice job: Selfridges, The New Order

Selfridges is known for his artistic collaboration. Each year, the brand hires a wide range of artists, designers, photographers, and creatives to work on campaigns and in-store experiences – from pop-ups to installations and exhibitions.

For The New Order AW19 campaign, Selfridges invited five digital creatives – Jon Emmony, Ines Alpha, Filip Custic, Jamie-Maree Shipton and Digi-Gal founder Cat Taylor – to envision the future of fashion and shopping.

The New Order was conceived in 2018 in response to global events where we rethought everything from politics to pop culture and asked creatives to challenge how people interact with and consume products. "New ideas are triggered by radical times. That's why we asked ourselves which innovations are the best to push them into the 2020s." says Emma Kidd, Director of Creative Direction at Selfridges.

The campaign was one of Selfridges' most ambitious, seeing the brand partnering with creatives to produce a range of digital projects, including an interactive photo booth where buyers could try out 3D makeup looks, an AR installation that Transforming the company's atrium, the Oxford Street store is set in a swirling column of water filled with glowing sculptures and a series of shop-front windows that combine 3D set design with weird and surreal artwork with clothes running without models.

Alongside this, Selfridges worked with artists to create a series of digital ads for Facebook and Instagram that featured items available online and in-store. The resulting motif offers an unusual view of traditional product shots, with objects presented in imaginary virtual worlds.

The Selfridges creative team worked on the concept for a year before the campaign launched in late 2019. One of their main goals was to research "new modes of digital creation". As part of this process, they met with a number of creatives to learn more about their work. From there, they selected five people to collaborate with and assigned each artist a specific product category based on their style.

"This was an experiment that looked at what the future of fashion advertising might look like," says Kidd. “We worked with the artists because we love their work. That is why we deliberately kept the assignment open to them in order to allow creative freedom.

"As a starting point, we shared the product selections that needed to be included in the ad, and then each artist created mood boards for a digital world."

Product ads for Facebook and Instagram are typically created by Selfridges' customer marketing team using images from the brand's website. However, the project allowed the brand to try an entirely new approach.

"Our [creative] plans are always viewed as places to experiment so we can explore aesthetics that may deviate from our usual visual performance," says Kidd. “The main benefit [with The New Order] was to open up a whole new world of content creation and the possibilities that digital art offers as opposed to a studio shoot and allow us to express the materiality of clothing through its Celebrate texture and movement. and create worlds that would not have been possible with a traditional in-camera shoot. "

While the original concept for the campaign was worked out by the creative team, the customer marketing team was closely involved throughout the process, helping to create a detailed assignment for creative that matched the goals and requirements of the campaign.

“Both teams were directly involved in the collaboration – from the initial meetings with the artists to ensure they had a clear understanding of the results, to the final delivery of the assets. We were all focused on pushing boundaries and making sure the product was presented in the best possible way, ”adds Kidd.

For Selfridges, this was a very different way of working: "There was no way to see pictures or models of the final ad before we went into production – it was because the magic and creation of the digital worlds happened during the production process", Explains Kidd. "It was a lot of artistic license and fluidity to let the digital worlds evolve during the process."

It also posed some planning issues as the brand had to source products much earlier than a traditional photo shoot to give creatives time to build a digital world around them.

The latest campaign offered a playful and imaginative alternative to traditional direct response ads, and offered Selfridges a surprising range of resources that will stand out even on the crowded mobile screens.

While the project was originally designed as an experiment, the brand plans to further explore digital production methods and try new approaches to direct response advertising in the future.

“Moving the envelope of digital art opens up new opportunities and opportunities for engaging in social media and business. The New Order was an opportunity to see the realm of the possible once the physical boundaries were removed, ”adds Kidd.

As Isabelle Quevilly, director of Creative Shop UK points out, playing with new media and taking a creative approach to ad formats can help brands strengthen their identity and generate higher returns on ad spend. “If you want to create direct response ads, we recommend starting with mobile best practices. Design your visual story, design the sound, and have a short duration, ”says Quevilly. "Then you can overlay [creative elements] that drive the action, highlight the brand early on, and showcase the product and service."

With the coronavirus pandemic getting our normal routines and shopping habits back on track, retailers have had to find alternative ways to do business and connect with consumers in recent months. It's been a tough time for the industry, but Quevilly recommends thinking creatively and using a range of digital tools to keep consumers informed and have a great shopping experience.

“My advice would be to consider solutions like driving hyperlocal strategies or proactively communicating temporary changes to business and local inventory,” she says.

"There is also the opportunity to redefine the next normal: how to extend the high street experience, adapt to new security concerns of the buyer and implement solutions to make the business, for example, through messaging experiences or curated collections with Facebook shops mobile? "

Great Work is part of Inspire, a partnership between Creative Review, Facebook and Instagram to showcase outstanding advertising on both platforms. More information about the partnership can be found at creativereview.co.uk/inspire. For tips and advice on using the Facebook and Instagram advertising tools, visit facebook.com/ads/creativehub


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