Those were just a few pieces of advice imparted Thursday by Alex Charlton, a partner at Essential Research, who recently completed a study on luxury brand consumers. Charlton's firm partnered with Microsoft for the study, which was presented at the "Seeking the Sought-After" event, where Elle, Microsoft and the Council of Fashion Designers of America introduced new consumer research on how to tap into the most coveted shoppers. "The three core purchase motivations are indulgence, exclusivity and status," said Charlton. "Don't just focus on the rational benefits, entertain them. Extend the in-store experience online and welcome them to 'the club.' You need to create a seamless integration of the physical and digital brand experience." He also said that just as consumers expect more from luxury brands, they also have higher expectations for their ad campaigns. "You need to raise the bar," he said. "Use the latest tools and techniques, animation, sounds and new formats such as expandable banner ads."
The study was done with LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton in mind, said Beth Uyenco, global research director, Microsoft Advertising, although she isn't sure what the company is going to do with the results. LVMH did not return calls for comment Thursday.
Elle also presented its study on the "recession-proof shopper." The magazine identified three kinds of consumers — the power shopper, trendsetter and enthusiast — and advised the audience made up of retailers, brands and agencies on how to get each type into stores. "In this environment, being 'top of mind' wins," said Paul Leinberger, an expert in brand and market strategy, who presented Elle's research. "Use all channels to reach her. She leads a full life. You need to be where she is." Like in magazines, or on their Web sites, perhaps?
— Amy Wicks
CAVALLI'S NEW QUARTET: Roberto Cavalli has switched things up for fall. For his company's upcoming ad campaign, Frankie Rayder, Angela Lindvall, Isabeli Fontana and Raquel Zimmermann were photographed by Inez van Lamsweerde & Vinoodh Matadin in Los Angeles, with the inspiration for the shoot coming from the film "Il Gattopardo," starring Claudia Cardinale and Burt Lancaster. "I've always been esthetically fascinated by this film," said Cavalli. "I also find 'Il Gattopardo,' a story is based on the idea that 'the more it changes, the more it stays the same,' a good metaphor for fashion. In the campaign, the heroine — a sort of new Angelica — Cardinale in the movie — dances in the wilderness while a fire rages in the background. She represents the force of everything that is new, yet in the end she's dressed like a romantic debutante. I find this idea, the contrast of old and new, to be very modern and thought provoking." Rayder, Lindvall, Fontana and Zimmermann replace Kate Moss, who has done the Cavalli campaign for the last few seasons. But the designer hasn't dropped Moss — she is appearing in the Just Cavalli ads.