Aussie label Sass & Bide returned to New York Fashion Week last season after a few years off the schedule. And in November, it opened an NYC flagship in SoHo. Now, the company is hoping to make another big splash with an innovative, first-of-its kind ad campaign dubbed “Freetown.”
Starring one of my fave models, Brazilian beauty Aline Weber, the campaign can be found on an interactive website, freetown.sassandbide.com. It allows the user to navigate a 360 degree room, in which Weber, accompanied by a band of misfits, appears in various positions throughout the room wearing different Sass & Bide looks. And it genuinely looks like there are 40 Aline Webers in a room — that’s how seamlessly the ad was put together. On top of that, you can click any look in the photo to buy it.
Amazed and utterly confused about how this was accomplished, we chatted with Sass & Bide CEO David Briskin and photographer Terry Gates about how it came together.
Gates explained that it was a long process, and that he’d been developing his panoramic photography skills and click-to-buy technology for the past year and a half, during which he’d “been in constant connect with Sass & Bide,” which is based in Australia while Gates is based in New York. He said the panorama was comprised of about 40 images stitched together, each one shot with “some very precise equipment.” The links were put in afterwards.
Briskin confirmed that the logistics were pretty complicated on Sass & Bide’s end. “We had to work out with Terry how the photography would work and then with our online developers to make sure it was fully integrated so that you could zoom in on the product and then click to buy.” Then, they had to coordinate with stores. “It was a lot of work between Terry, us and our online guys.”
Though, Briskin says it was worth it for the end result. “We’re always trying to be innovative in what we do with our product and what we do with our our marketing and digital experience,” he said. He hopes that the format “takes the viewers on a journey,” via the way in which it starts out at a high angle to pique viewers’ interest, and then allows them to interact.
“Interactive” definitely seems to be buzzword du jour when it comes to fashion marketing — there was Topshop’s interactive Pinterest gift guide, Victoria Beckham’s interactive Skype project and Kenneth Cole’s interactive 30-year anniversary campaign.
It remains to be seen, though, whether the campaign strategy will be as effective for Sass & Bide, which doesn’t quite have the name recognition of the aforementioned brands, at least not in the States.