Barbour, the luxury outerwear and fashion brand, is the latest of a growing group of high-end apparel companies to use social media and video technology to democratize the runway. It’s well-known that traditional fashion shows are populated by elite industry insiders and VIPs, but more and more consumers have gotten to experience them thanks to video streaming and social media platforms like Instagram and Snapchat. Some designers have presented their collections exclusively on Instagram, and Topshop–a Facebook and Google+ veteran–streamed its autumn/winter 2016 show on Periscope. Barbour went a step further with its spring/summer 2017 men’s collection and turned its runway presentation into a digital fashion show with 360-degree video.
The Barbour team used 360-degree cameras to capture the presentation and then uploaded the footage to its social platforms within an hour. Viewers–who were largely prompted to watch by Instagram posts and Facebook Canvas adverts–then had an almost real-time, panoramic view of the experience.
The results? The brand saw an uptick in online traffic and sales, and garnered over 7 million impressions on Instagram and Twitter. This is no small feat, considering that Barbour only has 149,000 Instagram followers and 111,000 Twitter followers.
This success speaks to the pull of 360-degree video, even when it’s not used to its full potential. Barbour could, and perhaps should, have made more use of the video format by having its models walk around the room, rather than just standing against a backdrop. Considering the money it can take to do a proper 360 video, it only makes sense to design the presentation with this panoramic view in mind.
In order to hold viewers’ interest after the novelty wears off, brands using 360-degree video will need to make their content more engaging and interactive. George at Asda’s campaign earlier this year is an excellent example of 360-degree video done right. They did a virtual tour of their branded house, and asked users to count how many clocks they saw in the video. The first user to answer correctly won £250 in vouchers. The video got over 11,000 views on Facebook and almost 1 million on YouTube.
In the case of a fashion show or other sorts of live events, live streaming will be another vital way of engaging audiences. While 360-degree video can’t yet be used this way, it’s an inevitable development as competition for attention in online video gets fiercer.