Hunter jumps feet first into new agile festival strategy...through the medium of a Giphy portaloo
In January this year, fashion brand Hunter declared it would be eschewing the traditional fashion calendar in favour of an "always-on" approach, centering on music festivals in order to develop closer ties with its consumers.
Now, as the UK's festival season kicks into gear, the label synonymous with supermodel-friendly wellies has launched its experiential activation for the summer, dubbed The World's Smallest Festival. The photobooth style installation is – rather fittingly - housed in a colourful portaloo structure and showcases a new partnership with Gif search engine Giphy.
Visitors are treated to an impromptu live performance, snap themselves behind various bespoke, festival-themed filters (including a magical rainbow of bog roll) and share instantly on Twitter and Instagram. A 'flush' button inside also reveals a surprise when pushed.
It's not often that you see a fashion brand associate itself with toilet humour. But as creative director Alasdhair Willis explained, Hunter is going less for luxury exclusivity and more for brand love at festivals – an area that its consumers are "very, very actively participating in".
"The portaloo is something that is a very democratic vehicle, so to speak," he told The Drum. "No matter who you are, what you are, or what background is, when you go to a festival you will ultimately engage in one of these structures.
"It allows [consumers] to have that bit of fun and play with our brand in a tongue-in-cheek and humorous way."
The World's Smallest Festival – a campaign devised in collaboration with agency Amplify – is currently based at Hunter's Regent Street flagship, but will eventually head on the road to train stations and festivals across the summer. Willis is refreshingly open about the commercial benefits of such an experiential initiative too: unlike most brands, who appear to plan this sort of activity with the wooly goal of upping brand perception labels, Hunter is also thinking strategically about sales.
Willis explained: "This is not just about just simple level engagement - it's also about driving a somewhat commercial return to the business as well. I'm trying to balance where our key stores, partners and retailers are and work in those in those towns and cities [into the tour schedule] as well."
So far, Hunter's new "always on", agile approach has been successful, with Willis noting a 50 per cent sales uplift in the festival category since the season began with Coachella in April. It's a positive start – but a start is exactly what it is, according to the creative director.
"This is one of a number of activities and initiatives that we're taking throughout the whole of the festival season, which now runs basically from April right the way through September," Willis said. "So we've got a plan that's going to take us around various major cities, but this is not just a one year, one seasonal moment.
"I anticipate this is going to be something bigger and something that will roll out year after year. Hopefully there'll be one in every major city, on every street corner."
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