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Denim brands get crazy to get customers

Denim brands want to meet you.

In age of social media and stiff competition, denim companies are seeking more personal contact with customers. Utilizing huge advertising budgets and top technologies, executives are exploring new and different ways to sell their wares and build their brands, reported WWD.

“Consumers, being as fickle as they are and having the ability to have so much information at their fingertips, they require having direct contact with the brands that they buy,” DeeDee Gordon, president of innovation for brand consultancy Sterling Brands in Los Angeles, said to WWD.

While it is important for the entire fashion industry to reach out to shoppers, Gordon believes jeans makers in particular are willing to try alternative methods.

“Compared to the luxury brands, the denim brands are more nimble and open, and definitely more engaged with technology,” she said. “There’s definitely this openness to denim brands in reaching out, connecting, trying new things, being involved in augmented reality and also [doing] crazy publicity stuff.”

The list of creative tactics includes:

- Hudons Jeans permitted children to trick out jeans featuring its Union Jack logo at the Kidstock Music and Arts Festival in Beverly Hills.
- Italy-based Diesel hosted a competition to find the best political slogan, printing the winning saying on 80,000 posters distributed in the United Kingdom.
- Miss Me posted a video on its website that was filmed inside Chris Burden’s art installation at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art -- one of only three films in the world permitted to be shot within the piece of art.
- California’s AG Adriano Goldschmied will host a competition to discover an “It” girl to be the label’s official blogger.
- The brand Habitual is branching out on its blogging topics, discussing bourbon and Juliana Santacruz Herrera’s yarn art.
- Los Angeles-based James Jeans held a promotion in collaboration with Gilt City, in which shoppers turn over $50 in exchange for a $100 discount on a purchase.

“You’ve got to be so close to the consumer today,” Deke Jamieson, executive vice president of licensing and marketing at YMI, said. “They want to be involved in the conversation with you, as opposed to being dictated to.”

YMI has pursued promotions through the school system, hosting lunchtime rock concerts at 40 Southern California high schools during which it organized jean giveaways. The company also conducted drawings for prizes such as $1,000 worth of YMI clothes, a $500 gift card, and tour merchandise like T-shirts and CDs.

“You can’t go the traditional [marketing] venue any longer,” Jamieson said, revealing that YMI has significantly cut its print and billboard advertising in the last couple of years. “You want to get as close as possible. You want an emotional response to the brand.”

Denim labels are increasingly relying on consumers for direction. Vanilla Star and youth retailer Mandee hosted a design contest at New York’s High School of Fashion Industries. Seventy-two students crafted their own ensembles for Vanilla Star’s fall line, and the winning seven contributions were displayed in the storefronts of Mandee stores. The company then allowed customers to vote for their favorites by scanning a quick-response barcode or filling out ballots available in-store or online. The three winning entries from this competition will be sold at Mandee shops.

“You need every edge you can get because the kids are so savvy, they know the trend at the same time we do,” Mark Levy, president of Vanilla Star in New York, said of the competition. “The way these kids live on their mobile phone and websites, if Lady Gaga wears it tomorrow, they want to buy it in two days.”

Tagged in: denim, jeans, mandee, ymi, vanilla star,

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Purple Neon/LadyLUX via istock

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