‘It’s sexier to conceal than reveal’- Ted Baker founder on why it shuns traditional advertising
For a brand that has avoided conventional advertising throughout its 26 year history, British fashion label Ted Baker has still managed to reap the rewards. Indeed it is in part due to this undercurrent approach to marketing that has attributed to its success, according to founder and chief executive Ray Kelvin.
Speaking about Ted Baker’s somewhat unique attitude to advertising at the press launch of the brand’s SS15 campaign, Kelvin said it is “sexier to conceal than reveal” when it comes to promoting the brand as he likes customers to organically discover Ted Baker, particularly via digital and social media.
“As a business we’ve never advertised conventionally so we’ve always thought about how we can develop the brand in a different way. When you go back to the start of this business in 1988 the only way you could develop the business and develop the product was through taking a page in a magazine and even then i found that quite cheesy.
“We now obviously have all the hard wear and the tablets and the devices to develop ideas but we still don’t advertise in a conventional way even though we use social media and digital.
"Digital is absolutely key and social media is too but it's more about discovery so finding out about us [rather] than advertising. We like developing new content, we like to feel it’s just trying to find ways of people discovering it and finding it cool rather than us pushing it into their faces.”
Akin to that is Ted Baker’s most recent campaign, a two-week digital activation playing out on Instagram which requires followers to repost images from the Pinch Me campaign to discover hidden clues and messages.
Each day from today (9 March) a new image will be released on the Ted Baker page and followers will be encouraged to play around with Instagram’s native filters and exposure tools to find the concealed content.
While some of the featured images are of the brand’s new collection, others include more quirky pictures unrelated to Ted Baker products, such as various fruits, an attempt to reflect Ted Baker’s ideology of creating an emotional connection with the consumer, according to Kelvin, who called advertising “a con”.
“If you look at the amount of effort we put into things and you look at other [brands who] just stick a girl in a bikini and it’s just shot on a beach and that’s it, it’s over, we’re trying that much harder, without over trying, to connect [and create] something that’s a little more intelligent.
“Advertising can be actually quite a poor instrument to actually con customers. At the end of the day it’s a shirt, it’s a trouser, it’s a jacket.”
Throughout the new campaign prizes and giveaways will be given to participants, including a trip to Portmeirion in Wales where the campaign film was shot.
Digital and social activity has been integral to Ted Baker’s success in recent months. E-commerce sales at the fashion brand surged 65.7 per cent over the 2014 Christmas trading period, despite it shying away from any major promotional activity in the run up.
The brand also recently u-turned on its stance on in-store beacons, having made the decision to install the technology in the Ted Baker store at Westfield White City, despite brand communications director Craig Smith calling the technology “alien” in a previous interview with The Drum.