Just in time for New York Fashion Week, the Outnet - a fashion ecommerce site from the Net-a-Porter group - has launched a new campaign called Pretty Influential.

However, it’s not exactly what you might expect.

The online video series is a satirical look at the world of influencer marketing, depicting what life is like without an Instagram filter.

Here is a bit more info on the series and a few reasons why I think it works.

The Foster sisters

Pretty Influential is essentially a mock documentary, portraying a pair of aspiring influencers as they attempt to sneak behind the scenes at fashion week.

Before we go on, it’s important to point out that the Foster sisters are not social influencers in real life.

Despite stemming from a Hollywood background (and looking rather model-esque), they are in fact comedy writers and actors, best known for the VH1 show, Barely Famous, which pokes fun at the world of reality television.

A refreshing approach

So why has the Outnet – a fairly high-end ecommerce fashion site – chosen to satirise the world of influencer marketing instead of harnessing its power?

Perhaps the decision stems from last year’s controversial Vogue article, which saw a number of editors harshly criticise bloggers for supposedly “preening for the cameras in borrowed clothes”. 

The feature was a scathing take-down of the influx of influencers within the fashion industry, but instead of being met with agreement, the criticism was labelled as petty and unnecessary by many other media companies as well as influencers themselves.

Regardless of the Outnet’s opinion on the topic, Pretty Influential is a rather clever nod to the fact that – as a result of the controversy – influencer marketing is now ripe for parody. 

Taking the opportunity to do just that, the Outnet manages to come across as both refreshing and self-aware. Likewise, it also makes fun of both sides of the coin, laughing at influencer clichés as well as the highfalutin nature of fashion designers.

Short-form content

As well as the humorous concept, Pretty Influential is also another example of a brand using short-form video content to engage consumers.

Following a six-video series, with a new video being released every day, it aims to give the audience a reason to invest, and in turn, to continuously interact with the company.

We’ve already seen brands using storytelling in this way, with one of the most high-profile being Nike’s YouTube series, Margo vs Lily. While the series itself was not particularly well-received, it still shows that video content is becoming the medium of choice for many big brands.

Ecommerce tie-in

As well as entertaining its audience, Pretty Influential is also designed to point consumers in the direction of products on the Outnet website. 

Beside each video, there is the call-to-action of ‘Like what you see? Shop their look here’.

It’s a simple touch, but means that viewers might be inclined to check out the fashion after they watch the video, as well as offering extra value and the incentive to check back for another daily episode.

It’s also good to remember that, although the site sells luxury clothes, it is fundamentally a discount designer e-tailer.

Consequently, the series cleverly aligns with the desires of its demographic, with consumers likely to respond to the self-deprecating and humorous take on high fashion.

Could it alienate influencers?

Lastly, while Pretty Influential is likely to be met with appreciation from consumers, there is the question of whether influencers will feel the same way.

For the Outnet, this might not be too much of an issue. The company has a reputation for capturing the attention of everyday consumers through fun and quirky content rather than the aspirational.  

Its ‘Shoe Hunter’ campaign, which saw Sergio the dachshund provide a dog’s eye view of London Fashion Week, is a prime example.

Also, with the series using gentle ribbing rather than scathing humour, here’s hoping most influencers have to ability to laugh at themselves.

Related articles:

For even more on this topic, you can also download the Rise of the Influencers report.

Nikki Gilliland

Published 15 February, 2017 by Nikki Gilliland @ Econsultancy

Nikki is a Writer at Econsultancy. You can follow her on Twitter or connect via LinkedIn.

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Comments (3)

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Matt Lovell, Head of Customer Insight at Jack Wills

Really interesting Nikki. I would never be able to claim to have an interest in fashion or be remotely fashionable but am intrigued so will now definitely check out the content.

It strikes me as a really good way of getting traction with their audience by just being a bit honest and pointing out some of the flaws in the way we work. Ultimately it creates a point of difference and for anyone not aware of outnet, it gives them a reason to remember the brand.

about 1 year ago

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Becky Hardman, Brand Manager at Shop Direct

I hadn't seen either of these examples. Both interesting.
You mention the Nike version wasn't well received and The Outnet's first video from 6 days ago has 4.6k views.
Do you think consumers actually want to see this content or do you think it's just industry people who take an interest?
I didn't get served the 'like what you see' CTA and with only links to their social channels featured in the video description I am a bit unsure of the customer journey.

about 1 year ago

Nikki Gilliland

Nikki Gilliland, Writer at Econsultancy, Centaur MarketingStaff

Thanks for your comments, both.

@Becky, good point, it looks like you'll only come across the 'NYFW Edit' by viewing the videos directly on the Outnet site (and many consumers would probably just view them on Twitter or Facebook).

12 months ago

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