DIGITAL, RETAIL, SPECTACLE: Think Fashion Week Has Gone Digital This Year? Wait ‘til .FASHION launches.

FairWinds Partners —  September 6, 2013

Fashion Week, now underway in NYC, is perhaps the ultimate example of the retail industry’s proclivity for spectacle and showmanship. Even though producing just one runway show can cost over $1 million dollars, as industry expert Kate Betts explained to Marketplace’s Kai Ryssdal yesterday, the residual exposure is worth it thanks in large part to digital devices and social media.

Abigail Keats A/W 2010

Just try signing on to Facebook or Twitter over the next week without being bombarded by an Instagram photo or Vine video of a disinterested waif in a couture gown. Everyone is sharing – your contacts, fashion bloggers, gossip sites, and online versions of traditional media outlets, such as WSJ.com.

Given the natural, if not overwhelming, symbiotic relationship between digital marketing and the fashion industry, it’s not surprising that a new report by e-Marketer finds that the retail industry continues to outspend financial services, telecom and even the consumer electronic industry on digital advertising.  As was explained in eMarketer’s description of the report:

“Industry marketers report today’s brand-advertising mix is evolving fairly rapidly from standard banner units—for which investment is expected to remain flat—to richer and more dynamic units, such as video, as well as social display and hybrid formats that can integrate more tightly with traditional branding workhorses like TV and print.”

And where will these richer, more dynamic units live?

“Retailers aren’t going to be satisfied with campaigns that simply run on social media platforms and existing .com websites for long,” explains Phil Lodico of FairWinds Partners.

“Industry leaders, including some of our clients, have already moved to build entire online worlds that revolve around providing their customers with unique branded content and, in doing so, advertise in a more meaningful way.”

Lodico said companies that own and run their own .BRAND Top Level Domain (TLD) will have unbridled opportunities to engage customers creatively – building followers at a previously unknown rate. Even companies that did not apply for their .BRAND in this latest round are building out innovative campaigns on other relevant .GENERIC top-level domains – set to begin launching in the next month or so.

Investors in new TLDs appear to have seen into the future. Four applicants are vying for the .FASHION site.  I’d bet the new Chanel collection that Fashion Week will reach a new level of digital spectacle in a whole new way once this new gLTD – the meaning of which signals the ultimate retail industry – launches.

Let us know in the comments!