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Brief Published: 15 Aug 2017

Retail’s Infomercial Micro Trend

Monki Cares

The recent fashion-focused, retail-marketing trend for tongue-in-cheek infomercials reveals an appetite for humour and a degree of simplicity and humanisation often lacking in convoluted, app-based initiatives. Both brands and tech start-ups are getting in on the action.

  • US luxury fashion label Marc Jacobs led the way during Valentine’s Day 2017, echoing the sex hotline infomercials of late-night 90s TV shows. The three 35-second videos – each with a slightly different tone – starred female models with over-the-top early 90s styling, teased hair and dramatic make-up.

    Shared across the brand’s social media channels alongside still imagery of its small leather goods and cosmetics, the campaign invited customers to call 1-844-LUV-MARC to receive a discount. When dialled, an automated recording of a sultry voice provided a 10% discount code for US and Canadian consumers on all products on Marc Jacobs’ e-commerce site. See also Valentine’s Strategies, 2017.
Marc Jacobs '1-844-LUV-MARC'

This summer, the format has cropped up in two other key initiatives – linked to rebooting the perception of an eco-friendly lifestyle as hip, rather than worthy.

  • British fashion brand Stella McCartney has partnered with international textile care association Clevercare on six 50s-inspired infomercials. Located on the brand’s website, tips include “how to care for your denim” and “wool’s self-cleaning properties”.
  • Swedish fashion brand Monki launched a sustainability campaign called Monki Cares, featuring a video that depicts models dialling a fictional “1-800-Lazy-Eco” hotline for advice on how to be more environmentally friendly. A narrator suggests a range of easy changes such as washing clothes at lower temperatures and freeze-cleaning. See Retail: Reframing Sustainability and Retail: The Eco-Ethical Upsell for more on this topic.
Stella McCartney x Clevercare

Technologists are also applying start-up thinking to the opportunity.

  • NY-based Mik-Mak has jumped on the trend by creating a tool called Attach, currently in beta, that aims to help retailers translate social media ads into more entertaining infomercial formats. Instead of the usual process of swiping up to buy, which takes consumers to an e-commerce product page, the swipe redirects them to a brand-made infomercial instead. The user can then hit ‘add to cart’, or view other mini-infomercials by the same retailer. 

    Applicable to Instagram Stories or Snapchat Ads, brands that have used the tool so far include US beauty giants Birchbox and Dr. Brandt. The latter has reported a 500% increase in direct sales conversion from Instagram Stories. In addition, 50% of those customers who swipe up also go on to watch further infomercials.

For more on humanising and adding humour to digital brand strategies, see Haute Humour: Visual InfluenceConcierge Commerce, and Intimacy, Empathy & Solidarity in Retail Tech: Future-Shaping Tools & Trends, 2017/18.

MikMak x Birchbox