Consumer Interaction – The Two Way Street

May 9, 2012

Consumer engagement is something advertisers are constantly striving for and over the past while a number of innovations have come to the front that are aiming to increase levels of engagement.  Two campaigns caught my attention recently, where brands have built a greater level of interactivity into their communications.  While I did think that both were an interesting use of media, I couldn’t help but be left wondering what was in it for the brand?  What were their original campaign objectives and did they achieve them? Both examples feel like steps in the right direction, but at the same time, they felt incomplete.

The first of these came from Brown Thomas who in a first for an Irish retailer teamed up with VStream to bring their exclusive shows to a wider audience.

Through a brand new type of video platform viewers not only have a front row seat at the most exclusive shows they can also interact with the most desirable labels such as Diane Von Furstenberg. By simply clicking on any item of clothing, accessory or pair of shoes the viewer has access to information such as price, designer and current stockists.

This is a notable step for Brown Thomas as they do not typically showcase their collections online. It’s giving the consumer more opportunity to engage with the brands but I do wonder what if any effect it will have on sales – there is still no platform to buy online from the website and the showcases have been limited to a few select designers.

The second campaign, is from an entirely different arena – in a bid to raise awareness about how the general public can intervene and help put a stop to domestic violence a series of interactive billboards have been installed at Euston Station, London.  On the first screen we see a video of a man shouting violently at a woman, passersby are encouraged to interact with the billboard using their mobile phone. If the opt to do so they are brought to a mobile site where the characters on screen can be controlled – here they can literally drag the man away from the woman.

While it’s certainly a very clever use of media; a series of connected billboards see the abuser being dragged further and further away from his victim, it left me wondering how effective the campaign would be. Would passersby actually take the time to visit the site and interact?These two unique campaigns both take advantage of the increasingly creative ways in which consumers can engage with more traditional forms of media, but I just don’t feel like they’ve completed the process.  At the end of the day, consumer interaction is two way street.  Both brands and consumers should come to benefit at the end, without that, what’s the point?

– Sorcha

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