February 1st, 2006
Julie of Almost Girl asks, "What will fashion advertising look like and where will it come from?" While the future is hazy (at best) to us as well, we’ll offer up our two cents.
Question 1: What will fashion advertising look like?
Fashion advertising, as discussed in Part One of this post, will likely be a combination of branding and direct response advertising—and more heavily weighted toward direct response than it is now. As for what it’s going to look like, we’ll throw our hat in the ring and offer up a few ideas:
Branding isn’t going to go away. The “slick expensive ad campaigns shot by expensive photographers with exotic models” described by Julie aren’t going to end. However, the measurability of direct response is likely going to affect the way branding campaigns are run.
We predict that these branding campaigns (the ones with the beautifully blasé looking models) will be held to a higher standard, one that involves metrics in some shape or form. The fashion industry is waking up to the potential of the Internet, and though the industry will inevitably face a rocky road on its quest to embrace these online opportunities, they’ll get there.
Direct response fashion advertisements aren’t going to look like your standard Google text ad. For one, they’ll have to include images—even a lengthy description of that perfect oversized teal sweater is far less compelling than a thumbnail image of the garment.
Question 2: Where will fashion advertising come from?
Right now, fashion advertising is dominated by Big Companies with Deep Pockets. Completely natural, given that they’re the ones that have the dollars to shell out on these expensive branding campaigns. Take a look at the latest Vogue (or other fashion magazine of your choice). Who do you see advertising? Luxury brands, big name designers—most, if not all, with financial backing. After all, that Versace ad with Halle Berry can’t have been cheap to produce.
Fashion, however, is becoming more democratic (in part, thanks to the scores of up and coming designers looking to make their mark, and as The Fashionable Kiffen notes, thanks to fashion bloggers). Advertising in the future, especially as the industry shifts towards the scalable, affordable direct response ads, will include more of these voices. While the majority of fashion ads might still be from the Louis Vuittons, the Versaces, and the Calvin Kleins of the world, smaller designers will be able to speak as well.