ASOS is one of the fastest growing online fashion retailers in the world. In December 2012, Carat Global Management was briefed by ASOS to deliver a media plan that would help the brand continue its impressive growth over the cluttered Christmas period.
In response to this challenge, the team launched the entire Christmas season clothing range by creating 3 unique music videos. By using a technology that enabled users to click and buy the featured items instantly, the team turned all digital platforms into asos shops. Carat optimised the content’s performance in real time and generated £5m of incremental sales, delivering ASOS’ best sales results ever.
The team knew that urban music videos would provide the ideal platform to showcase the range but they were also conscious that the ASOS brand is all about the best of fashion, right now. So they worked with music labels to find stylish urban acts that not only resonated with theirtarget users but also had ‘new news’ to tell just before Christmas; the promotional talent of the moment.
As a result the team picked starlets Azealia Banks and Ellie Goulding who have their own distinctive social following on both sides of the Atlantic and had new singles to promote in the build up to Christmas. Then they added model du jour Charlotte Free to bring her fashion credentials to the mix and to utilise the hype around her on both sides of the Atlantic.
While talent negotiations were on-going the team was simultaneously trying to understand what would make their target users truly engage and transact with ASOS.
Through focus groups and quant media research it was realised that the one thing that the socially active fashion-conscious young women did was take inspiration from a range of sources and platforms at any moment. So the team needed to be in the right place and the right time and mirror their behaviour.
The team chose the insight of any moment of inspiration and the perceived importance of the Christmas parties as the best nights of the year, to fuel the creative idea. ASOS would help young women navigate the demands of the party season to have their #bestnightever.
And while the one thing the target consumers craved was inspiration, the one thing asos didn’t have was physical stores and fitting rooms. This necessity led us to a single-minded communication solution.
The agency would use the 3 music videos to create ASOS shops in every digital platform that their audience could watch videos. They identified the spaces where the audience live online and then they used an overlay technology that enabled them with one click to ‘add to basket’ every piece of clothing and accessories featured within the video, in real time.
Credible content was paired with commerce and ASOS as a brand created something that our audience wanted to watch and share. The talents’ love for the brand also helped!
Converging content with commerce was more complicated than the team initially thought. The overlay technology worked perfectly on global platforms like Youtube and Spotify but for national VOD platforms they often had to create bespoke solutions. For example, when they realised that iTV-Player in the UK couldn’t handle the overlays, they had to source the Ad-Sync format that featured the shop-able items next to the content in perfect synchronisation with the video.
In addition to the technology innovations, this brand campaign succeeded because it was treated as a Direct Response campaign. By merging media and sales data the team was able to optimise the sales that each of the videos was generating across different platforms and for different products in real time. Once users had watched a specific video the team was able to test and re-target them with relevant promotional messaging through cost-effective ad networks across mobile and fixed internet.
So while Spotify, YouTube and Twitter solutions were driving huge numbers of video views, the unsung heroes of ROI optimisation were the not so trendy ad networks and small and misunderstood formats like Facebook’s micro-targeted ASUs.
The campaign drove more than £5m worth of incremental sales, directly attributed to #bestnightever activity.
It also registered the highest ever ASOS marketing ROI to date (4.44) and US ASOS searches increased by more than 50% during campaign period.
Despite a slow down in the rate of growth across H1 2012 the Christmas campaign helped buck this trend –contributing to a 34% YOY sales growth in the UK, a massive result considering that UK is the ASOS heartland and its most mature market, and 57% YOY sales growth in the US, the next big market for ASOS.
The music videos went on to achieve 7 million YouTube views and increased sales of the most of their featured products in the 3 weeks leading up to Christmas. (a money rich – time poor consumer watched the video on her mobile and went on to buy 26 items in one go – paying £1,400 on Dec 22nd!)
Draper’s (the bible of the business of fashion) voted the asos CEO as the most influential person in fashion for its 2012 Power List 100, topping Sir Philip Green, Paul Smith, brand Beckham and Stella McCartney.
Best Night Ever. Best Sales Ever.