TopShop meets Oculus Rift

TopShop meets Oculus RiftThis year, for the London Fashion Week, Topshop set the bar offering its customers a “front row experience” to its catwalk from its Oxford Circus flagship store.

HOW: Topshop in collaboration with Inition, a 3D agency, has adopted the Oculus Rift augmented reality technology to enable customers to experience Topshop’s fashion show taking place at the Tate Modern Art straight from the windows of the Oxford Circus store. This technology allowed customers not only to experience the runway action up-close like the VIPs in the first row, but also explore the behind-the-scenes activities as well as live tweets flying around during the event.

 

The 5 lucky competition winners who posted their favourite fashion outlook with hashtag #TopshopGoesVirtual through Twitter and Instagram, have been the first to experience the virtual catwalk. The other fans, had the chance to see the same content on demand in the three days that followed.

WHY: The campaign by Topshop aimed at democratizing the front row experience and getting customers more involved with the world of Topshop.

The reasons I decided to talk about this campaign are:

  • REACH: The buzz originated by mentions on social media, headlines on magazines, blog posts on tech and fashion sites as wisely orchestrated by the Marketing and PR of Topshop.
  • INNOVATION: I admire the effort and the risk taken by the company to adopt a brand new technology at the service of an extraordinary customer experience. The virtual reality is in fact described as “the ultimate interface to the digital world with the power to transport the user to another place as soon as they put on a special display”.
  • INTEGRATION: the integration of the augmented reality with the social media channels, as the natural extension of an ad-hoc communication in a virtual environment

Which are the downsides?

  • TECHNOLOGY REQUIRED: The technology required for an event like this is heavy on the pocket, and most of the time it is experimental and hence tends to be anchored to just
    one location.
  • SCALABILITY: The event took place at the Oxford Circus store and was not replicated in other Topshop stores.
  • ONE POINT IN TIME: The event was registered, therefore winners did not experience a live show. Moreover, the experience was restricted to a few customers: the five competition winners, and those who queued
    during the following 3 days.
  • PR: The entire campaign is not more than a well orchestrated PR story, if just a few customers have the chance to be part of it.

An experience that can be enjoyed by a few cannot be categorised as democratic. It was more about creating brand awareness than offering an unique experience for all customers.I would opt for a less innovative technology that can offer a great experience to all customers interested in being part of it. A technology like live streaming that can allow a multitude of people, comfortably seated home, to enjoy the live event.

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