Donatella Versace & J.W Anderson portrait shot from WWD Facebook.com. Versus catwalk image by courtesy of www.vogue.co.uk
Versus by J.W Anderson launch signifies a Digital Shift.
By all accounts is was a lights, camera, action moment in New York for the launch of the rebranded Versace Versus with Brit, J.W Anderson at the helm. The lights, cameras and action, pointedly, of a 1600 strong avid social media crowd who move and shake with the best of them.
This launch did more than signal the movement of Versus back into clubby hipdom and a direct targeting to a burgeoning youth market, held as it was at Manhattan’s Lexington Armoury and with music by Grimes, Dead Sara and Angel Haze signifying just how hipster it was. This was a deliberate global marketing signal that its moved with the times. A shift to social media to create hype and buzz as twitter feeds fueled with hashtags and twitter handles relayed that the audience was there to do more than have a good time and drink champagne. They were there to quite literally see behind the scenes, pass judgement and create a social media maelstrom to fuel resultant column inches on blogs, online mags and the dated print issues appearing next day.
As circulation figures continue to plummet (Grazia’s dropped 9.2% year on year) and online editions of popular mags attempt to ape a short, sharp, newsy blog style, bite size pieces of information are viewed as the way forward. Ditto the clever brands (like Versus, Dolce & Gabbana, Stella McCartney, Christian Louboutin and Burberry) who embrace key social media opinion formers and relay a complex PR strategy often starting with social media to launch their campaigns. Their success stories cannot be disputed. Who wouldn’t want twitter feeds and blogs filled with up-to-date information and opinions regaling a new collection, increasing their weight in search engines and lessening the amount of £’s and $’s spent on direct advertising? Canny.
Add to the fact that blogs are still top of the ratings by readers when it comes to true and trusted opinions (not influenced by advertising revenues) that encourage direct purchases and brand affiliation.
What Donatella Versace has initiated with her new vision for Versus is more than a re-brand of the label. It is a storming of the barricades re new lines in communication, connecting with a shifting audience and effectively using her key target group of opinion followers as catalysts to publicise her brand. Now that’s clever. The fact that J.W Anderson’s London themed, punk tinged, sexed-up Versus collection sparked with energy was the bite back that Donatella had dreamed of.