Ralph Lauren is the latest brand to harness broadband video as part of its marketing mix.
I discovered the company's lush "Sports of Summer" mini-site after noticing the same rich media skyscraper ad in the NYTimes.com's Wimbledon coverage. Clicking through brings you to the Lauren mini-site, which highlights 4 sports that Lauren is sponsoring this summer: Wimbledon, The Olympics, the US Open (tennis) and the Black Watch polo team. On closer inspection, I noticed that the mini-site has actually just become the main part of the regular Lauren web site.
The structure of the mini-site is consistent across the four sports with each containing both video and text/photo content. At the bottom are three panels offering a rotating choice of content, which when clicked play in the large center section of the page. The content includes interviews, old highlights reels and other sport-related information. The content is drawn from RL magazine, a quarterly the company puts out, and also from RLTV, which is a series of celebrity interviews, fashion show footage, sports, commercials and other video.
Broadband is particularly powerful for Lauren because the company's marketing strategy has always been focused on immersing customers in the highly-aspirational Lauren lifestyle. Lauren has been masterful at conveying those attributes through print ads. Broadband takes it to the next level. For example, when you click on the Wimbledon tab and see the very 1920's British-looking Lauren models frolicking to classical music (what is that piece?!), you really get the full impact of the brand's sensibilities. That the same 30 second piece plays over and over again however is a drawback; it would have been nice if Lauren had created at least 2 or 3 others to break the repetition....
Still, the point is that the broadband-centric mini-site lets Lauren go beyond what it ordinarily would have been able to do with TV ads, and surely at a fraction of the cost. By embedding the mini-site in the navigation of the regular Lauren web site, you can easily access the product catalog for all-important shopping. So thought of another way, the ad on NYTimes.com and the mini-site content are really just ways of setting the stage and driving traffic to the site for users to buy products. While most e-commerce companies might be running online ads blurting "SALE!" to drive traffic, Lauren's more subtle approach is in keeping with its brand image.
Broadband is opening up a whole new lever for brands to experiment with. I expect we'll continue to see a lot more activity from them. If you know of some good examples, send them along!
Categories: Brand Marketing
Topics: Ralph Lauren