October 1, 2010

Making an Impression on the Toronto Fashion Scene

Posted in events, Just for fun, Social Life, trends at 10:20 pm by Jennifer

Joe Fresh made a lot of fans when it launched in 2006, selling a mix of wardrobe basics and fashion forward pieces at relatively low prices by industry standards. It was created by Joseph Mimran, co-founder of Club Monaco and I’ve been a fan for a while now. I love being able to update my wardrobe without hearing my Visa scream out in pain.

While I still lean mainly towards stores like Zara, Banana Republic and Club Monaco for my work wardrobe Joe Fresh has added to my closet some of my very favorite outfits for after work drinks, dates and dinner with friends. So I was pleasantly excited to be invited and have a sneak peek at the recent Joe Fresh Runway Sale, partnered with Lou Lou (love this magazine). I knew a few pieces that I had my eyes on from the fall collection and was hoping to get my hands on them.

The event promised food, wine and fashion – who could possibly pass that up? Apparently, no one could! It was packed full of Toronto fashionistas scanning the racks like seasoned veterans. Being one of the first 20 people in the store I luckily found and grabbed what I wanted then snuck over to the change rooms and avoided the crowds.

Then to my pleasant surprise, the man behind the brand himself made an appearance. Joseph was friendly, approachable and walked around consulting with girls giving style advice – I briefly met him and was amazed at the relaxed confidence he exuded, cool yet completely approachable.

Planning events for clients is never an easy task, and I think overall the Joe Fresh pop up event was a hit. Some things I think could have been done better:

  • Crowd control. At one point the store was way too crowded, huge lineups for the change rooms and the cash registers. A larger space could have solved this, with areas dedicated to nibbling, socializing and sipping wine.
  • Sizes. Apparently they ran out of small/extra small in the first hour (or so I heard). Luckily I was able to get the things I wanted in small before the crowds hit.
  • No men’s clothing. Not even a little bit. I saw a few men in the crowd and felt they were left out.

But what was done exceptionally well made all of the difference. The staff was all very friendly from the people in the fitting rooms to the catering staff handing out (surprisingly good) canapés and dry white wine. I was amazed how quickly they passed through the crowd again and again, with new things that everyone got a chance to try.

The biggest bonus from an event standpoint IMO? Joseph Mimran attending. There is nothing that creates more credibility with a brand and makes an impact on customers than being able to speak with a CEO or the head of a company one on one. Making these impressions can be time consuming, yes, but they really work and create lasting impressions on your target market. Authenticity and a friendly attitude can go a long way to creating brand loyalty.

– BB

September 1, 2010

Is there a line between “inspired by” and just plain copying?

Posted in social media, trends at 9:46 am by Jennifer

Last week I read an article in the Globe tech section about everybody’s favorite smelling meme – Old Spice guy. The article was about the new Telus ads that seem to try to capture the same over the top bravado which made “Spice” such a great campaign. Many people are commenting that this is an obvious attempt to capitalize on a campaign that has been incredibly successful. Is this the case?

Where is the line between repurposing marketing tactics that worked for one promotion and pilfering them for your own brand?

One of my favorite campaigns was the Dove “Campaign for Real Beauty”. It made me smile, I loved the messaging and it started discussions between people about standards of beauty. Then came the Beautifulpeople.net campaign for “true beauty”. They subverted the Dove messaging to its very core, but in the end accomplished what they set out to achieve – to reply to the “real beauty” campaign by asserting they have their own tightly defined parameters of what “beauty” is. Did they try to capitalize off of the original campaign? Of course.

But back to the man I wish my man could smell like. I loved the campaign, still love the campaign BUT – was it the first of its kind? Is the sense of overconfident bravado, over the top claims blended with humor an original marketing concept? Not too long ago there was the most interesting man in the world – what would he have to say about Mr. Old Spice stealing his thunder?

At the end of the day many ideas will draw inspiration from something else, it’s a part of the creative process. But where we draw the line between plagiarism and inspiration is not necessarily always clear cut.

-BB