Cross-Media Case Study: Rock 'n Roll Is In Their Jeans
Lucky Brand's tour bus hits the road - and the cyberhighway
There's David Lynch's psychological thriller Lost Highway, AC/DC's "Highway to Hell" and America's 1970s hit "Ventura Highway."
Each evokes a certain nostalgic jag. And then there's the rock 'n roll tour - think Almost Famous. Lucky Brand Jeans manages to tap into a groovy 1960s-'80s vibe, while injecting a contemporary edge via its DenimHighway.com initiative, a grassroots marketing/party/brand campaign that invites consumers to interact with the brand outside retail.
What could be more classic rock 'n roll than a vintage Flxible 1949 school bus contemporized for coolness with Zebra print carpeting, black-leather seating, a bar and retro TV console featuring event and music videos? Lucky Brand Jeans dialed back to 1970s rock tours, taking its brand on the road to music festivals and other live events to reintroduce itself to consumers even as it plots aggressive expansion abroad.
Lucky Jeans is about as all-American a brand as they come with an independent, rocker sensibility that's flexible enough to appeal to all ages. The brand, owned by Liz Claiborne, is on the move - literally - with a six-month, 50-city multimedia tour across the country in a bid to engage directly with its customers. The DenimHighway.com initiative started this summer in Los Angeles and continues through December. Devised by Night Agency, New York, which worked closely with Mobile Media, Atlanta and Rock-It Media, the tour and DenimHighway.com offer a versatile marketing platform for Lucky.
"The bus was a cool idea," says John Lewis, director of marketing at Lucky Jeans. "We really like the idea of creating a dynamic Web environment and tying it into the bus going to retail locations and tying into music." Lewis says Lucky doesn't do a lot of traditional marketing and paid advertising, so the Web-based initiative with strong offline hooks made sense: "It was finally a way to touch consumers in an interesting way and to have them experience the brand." The brand will have 150 stores in the United States by year's end, with openings planned in London and Dubai.
In addition, Lucky wanted to involve its sales associates in the effort: Employees are encouraged to upload photos of their favorite "tour stops" (restaurants, clubs, bars) onto DenimHighway.com. While the brand spans ages 6 to 60, its sweet spot is 30- to 35-year-olds. And it recently debuted a maternity jeans line.
On DenimHighway.com, fans can hear music, check out the tour blog and, of course, get information on jeans. At each tour stop, offline tie-ins include radio promotion and giveaways, T-shirt shops with limited edition "tour" shirts, a chance to take a picture against a vintage rock-show poster background. Then there's the jeans "prescription" - consumers receive a custom fitting and a $20 coupon good at Lucky Brand stores for a limited-time jeans offer. Lucky stores are tying in with in-store concerts, signage, discounts, psychedelic stickers and other giveaways.
"At the end of the day, we want to grow up and be a global brand like Diesel," Lewis says. The DenimHighway.com effort is one strategy for getting there. "The [tour] bus, retail events, most of the media we're doing, blogging, viral marketing, is all driven by music, which is one of the big drivers for our brand." Lucky does more viral and word-of-mouth media than paid media, though this fall, it's embarking on a five-city billboard and postings campaign promoting the fit of its jeans. The DenimHighway.com campaign dovetails with the offline "fit" effort.
Night Agency has supported DenimHighway.com in a dynamic way by shooting and posting video from tour stops on the site, which also links to Lucky's e-commerce venue. "Lucky's never done anything special online so they decided to try it," says Darren Paul, Night's managing partner. "They wanted to drive engagement by tapping into the brand essence with a new audience, while also getting in front of people who are loyal consumers."
Paul emphasizes that the concept needed an offline component to reach the store level:
"Lucky is rolling out 45 new stores this year and it needed to support the store launches with press, events and the tour. DenimHighway.com needed to have a real offline hook to it." In terms of online, Night sought to tell "tour" stories via the blog in a dynamic way to keep people coming back and to encourage them to sign up for alerts via mobile phone. In addition, consumers can sign up to win tickets to various music festivals and shopping sprees.
"The brand was able to orchestrate a fully integrated campaign," Paul says. In the stores, for example, DenimHighway hangtags are attached to jeans and shirts. Even so, online is the backbone of the campaign; shoppers can even try on jeans virtually and check out the new line. Consumers can shop by inseam, wash, leg, rise and jean name; zoom capabilities offer online shoppers a legitimately decent view of the style and cut of the jeans, a challenge in the virtual environment.
With more than three months remaining on the tour, Lucky hasn't run out of gas yet. "We're looking for the online platform to stick around for while. We think it has legs," Lewis says.