What Burberry can teach Broadcasters


The way in which Burberry has just marketed its new collection at London Fashion Week has lessons for the media industry.

They didn’t just show off their latest collection to the press: they opened it up to a worldwide audience with a great use of social media.

Burberry has established a reputation for groundbreaking marketing over the past few years. In 2009, they used live streaming to showcase their collection - one of the first fashion houses to do so. In 2010, they streamed in 3D. And in 2011 they’ve raised the game by linking in their live streaming with Facebook, Instagram, iTunes, Twitter and big screens in various locations such as Piccadilly Circus.

They also premiered the collection first on Twitter before the show had even started. The front row celebrities - including Mario Testino, Kanye West and Samantha Cameron - only saw the new season collection after Burberry had already tweeted pictures to its 535,000 Twitter followers. This initiative boosted Burberry to the world's third most popular trending Twitter topic on Monday. The live streaming was available to watch at burberry.com and on Facebook where they created a link so that every one of their eight million fans was able to stream the show on their own personal Facebook page and share with their friends. 'Click to call' and 'click to chat' facilities allowed people to contact the Burberry team to ask questions about the collection as it was being shown using both phones and instant messaging. In its tie- up with Instagram, Burberry hired British photographer Mike Kus - who has 123,699 followers - to share his images from the show.

As Mashable commented: "A once largely private trade event for press and buyers has been turned into a global, consumer-facing experience"

Christopher Bailey, Burberry's chief creative officer, is driving the democratisation of Burberry: "We are thrilled to be bringing the Burberry show to our widest audience yet in an immersive, interactive and entertaining experience. Whether you are at home online, watching in Piccadilly Circus, using a mobile device or in our store in Beijing everyone will be able to feel the energy and attitude of the brand and the excitement of the show."

This use of social media in unveiling the new season's collection provides vital lessons for broadcasters. Rather than release pilots and clips of next autumn/winter or spring/summer TV shows at press only events at Cannes or LA, why not open it up to a wider public? TV fascinates the public even more than fashion. We know that TV is the second most talked-about topic of conversation (after “what's for dinner”) in UK households (source: kellerfay). So there’s huge potential to broaden the excitement surrounding new TV shows by launching them to the public directly. I for one would love to see what's coming up next on ABC Studios or BBC One and I'd rather get the inside track from the Chief Creative Officers of those broadcasters themselves and not just from the tired newspaper TV critics.

As the launch of New Girl in the US shows, millions of views online or in social media can result in greater audiences when the programme is later broadcast on TV. Audiences will watch the episode again and word of mouth and personal recommendation will encourage their friends to watch too. It’s time to get fashion-forward with our TV marketing strategies.

Clare Phillips, Head of Strategic Planning