Very.co.uk readies shoppable Instagram ads following YouTube experiment

Having just launched a shoppable YouTube ad, Very.co.uk says it will now look to become one of the first UK brands to launch shoppable ads through Instagram.

The new YouTube ad, which features Rizzle Kicks giving their take on the classic 90’s ‘Summertime’ collaboration by DJ Jazzy Jeff (who cameos) and the Fresh Prince aka. Will Smith, is a four-minute music video that allows shoppers to click through and purchase the clothes and picnic items modelled. The campaign was created by Havas SE Cake and made in partnership with Universal Music Group.

Although the shoppable technology isn’t live yet (it is expected to be activated in the coming days), Kenyatte Nelson, marketing director at Very.co.uk, revealed to Marketing Week that the fashion retailer is already hard at work on pushing the technology to other social media platforms.

He said: “We are currently in alpha testing with Instagram to understand how to use it as a shoppable platform– so you can look at our pictures and instantly buy the items. They are very secretive so there isn’t a concrete time frame but we’d hope to launch it by next year.”

Nelson believes brands have struggled to make the most of platforms such as YouTube and Instagram by using them for “inauthentic” marketing experiences. He says he is confident that Very’s forward-thinking approach will allow it to get closer to rivals such as Next.

“We have moved to invest millions in social media as we want to make sure we do it right,” he added.

“At the moment you see a lot of brands just force fitting their TV ads onto YouTube or copy and pasting their print ads onto Instagram – then they’re surprised when people don’t engage with their campaigns. We’re realising that you have to build original experiences to succeed on those platforms and that’s our focus.”

Rizzle Kicks and Very.co.uk got a little help from DJ Jazzy Jeff to remaster the 90ís hit Summertime, the new British themed video is entirely shopable and comes with 10,000 free downloads of the track.
The Very.co.uk music video is entirely shoppable and comes with 10,000 free downloads of the track.

Very isn’t the only brand to launch a shoppable YouTube ad with the likes of Asda having done so in the past. Nelson is “convinced” the video platform will become key to online shopping experiences in the future.

“I think to get to that upper echelon where H&M and Next operate, we have to really drive our own brand and innovating through social media can be the key,” he said.

“We know our core female customer is overindexing on YouTube and watching music videos. So to take fashion purchases onto that platform in a non-intrusive way, while she’s most engaged, is a big win.”

The changing nature of product placement

Nelson says the “Summertown” section, which hosts the new ad, on very.co.uk has more views in one day than the website’s most popular pages.

He explained: “Our intention for the mid to long term is to exploit this shift, along with the likes of YouTube and Instagram, further and further.”

“In the US, where I’m from, there is a show called Scandal and the main character Olivia Pope always wears a beautiful coat, it could be a Burberry or a Calvin Klein. It is a running joke that this thing sells out the next day and the viewers are watching just as much for the outfit as the storyline. We cannot ignore these trends and as marketers we cannot underestimate that power of music and pop culture.”

He also believes the music industry will benefit from the rise of product placement. “If I’m Universal, our partner with Rizzle Kicks, launching a new artist is expensive. I think you can offset those costs by using partner brands to show up in overt or not so overt ways in a music video. The same thing can apply for TV and videos looking to fight back against the rise of the ad-free subscription model too. This is the future.”

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