This is Part I of Case Loewe.
*** Note: As the analysis of Case Loewe is becoming too long, it is currently organized in three parts. This is the structure of the three posts in this blog.
Loewe Collection Oro Message: Loewe, did you say traditional and outdated?
Measuring the extent of the negative reaction to Loewe’s video.
Viral Diffusion Process: Measuring the Evolution of Video Views
How serious are 500.000 video views with negative reviews for Loewe brand equity in Youtube?
Part II: Loewe Is Dead. Long Live Loewe!
1. Measuring the direct negative impact of the campaign. An update.
2. About the target of the marketing campaign
3. About the channel used to present the campaign
4. About the genre chosen in the commercial.
5. Communications Crisis at Loewe: Crisis, What Crisis?
1. The value for Loewe of a negative rating
2. The value for Loewe of a positive rating
3. Monitoring the reaction of viewers after the crisis.
4. Reaching the desired target, as never before
5. A substantial increase of people loving Loewe (+39% or +157%)
6. New targeted customers discovering old Loewe products… and loving it
7. Reaching International Markets, As Never Before
8. The role of parodies and spoofs: parodies of a parody
9. Tangible Benefits: Increase of Twitter Followers of 21% in one day
10. Tangible Benefits: A Sharp Increase Of Loewe Followers’ Engagement in Twitter and The Social Media
11. New Dimension of Loewe in Social Media Brand Visibility
12. Sharing My Loewe Experience. Photos Upload By Twitter Users
Part I: Loewe Colección Oro 2012 – The Aftermath of a Devastating Ad
Starting presenting this analysis just 24h after Twitter and social media in Spain entered into one of its viral waves due to a shocking event. This time was not an scandal originated by personal or institutional misbehaviour. It was simply the reaction to the Youtube video ad showing the new collection of bags and complements by leading Spanish luxury brand, Loewe.
This is a 3 minutes, 27 seconds main video. There are some complementary videos showing developped stories about the models appearing in the main video.
The content of the video became very quickly a Twitter trending topic (TT), reaching top position by mid day, 14 March 2012. Visits to the video propelled. Online newspapers were obliged to react to this social media excitement presenting the fashion campaign and the controversy it created, early in the afternoon. It reached national TV news programs. The increase of traffic by people attracted by curiosity was soo intense that Loewe internet site went down, by 5pm, and was not available during the day.
There was no reaction at all from Loewe management cocnerning the ongoing controversy. Artistic director answered some questions about the goals of the publicity, that appeared in some newspapers in the afternoon.
This extraordinary marketing case is also attracting the attention of many academics and professionals related to the luxury brands industry, fashion, marketing, branding and rebranding, social media, PR management, communications crisis.Some early reflections are already emerging. Many deep analysis will be published in the newxt few days. Our aim is to contribute to the understanding of this case mainly by providing to interested people quantitative analysis concerning media and social media impact of this reputation crisis. We will provide explanation and interpretation of the empirical results. We do not pretend to act as specialist in anyone of the mentioned fields of interests, by judging the ad itself. We will try to let the numbers talk for us.
We will show in this post that first evaluation of damages show an extraordinary negative impact of this audacious ad. But we will show that behind the apparent catastrophic marketing movement, we identify a lot of positive elements and benefits for Loewe as a brand (again, based in data analayis, not in personal subjective perceptions).
Before explaining the the source of the controversy that ignited social media community in Spain, we need to present the message as proposed by Loewe itself.
Loewe Collection Oro Message: Loewe, did you say traditional and outdated?
There is currently a lot of discussion about what Loewe was looking for with this per se controversial marketing campaign. If the scandal and strong negative reaction that they have created was a complete unintended mistake or, by contrast, it was perfectly planned.
There is a corporate statement presenting the ad, as text presenting the video in the official page. It is as follows:
The colour Gold is one of Loewe’s signature elements. The characteristic golden beige is directly associated with what is quintessentially Spanish.
Madrid’s special light has been a constant source of inspiration for Loewe, and even today the city is a fascinating melting pot welcoming both young people in pursuit of their dreams, and those just looking to have a good time.
This 2012 collection celebrates this spirit. Discover LOEWE’S NEW GOLDEN AGE and let us take you on a tour fusing Madrid’s majestic landmarks with new trends which captivate the city.
The originality of this video is that is not just models present the luxury brand products, but it is also the models talking about themselves in an apparent unclear direction.
We have the chance that they have provided subtitles in English in the video, and this allows us to capture all the verbal messages channeled in the video.
We present first the statements opening the video. They are a combination of the answers to the questions, ‘What does Loewe mean to you’, and ‘What is your first souvenir about the brand Loewe’. Here, all the statements:
My personal reaction is that the company is providing little space for interpreation, as the opening statements don’t suffer from ambiguity.
We are confronted from the very beginning with a shocking and provocative message. While the models praise some brand values that are positive, like ‘class’, ‘leather’, ‘I love it’, they directly attack and tarnish Loewe reputation, labelling as an old fashion brand, traditional, which is well suited just for old ladies, really old ladies (‘my great grandmother’s coat’!). We find a luxury brand turning into derision itself.
The amazing thing is that this message it told, s oximoron, by young models wearing and showing their bags. Those Loewe products are part of their lives as young fashion victims. They represent different fashion styles, some of them marginal. This introductory scene of the story is closed by the brand logo, showing alternately its origins (1846) and current times (2012).
This introduction provides the hermeneutics of the whole story and message proposed by this marketing campaign. I really do not see other leading messages behind the ad. Loewe is announcing that the new Loewe Madrid 2012 brand is born. Loewe maintains its roots and core values of elegance, quality, luxury and leather that pertain to Loewe Madrid 1846. This is still Spanish fashion style, Loewe Madrid. But Loewe is no more (or no only) my mother’s luxury brand. From now on, this is also the luxury brand for active people under 40 loving trends, with character, ambition and personality.
This is what I read from the opening section of the ad.
The video continues as an apparently typical fashion production, by a collection of moments and images of the young models posing with the Oro Collection bags. As said, the modification from a typical fashion script, is that the video is dotted by ‘spontaneous’ personal reflections about life by models. This is where all the controversy comes from. Marketing director has chosen ‘naive’ statements about their vision of things that by its content have launched the debate about this Loewe campaign. As we will show later, the vast majority of the reactions about what the young models say is negative, showing repulse, disgust, outragement or sense of the ridicolous.
In fact, all the controversy has been completely centered on how stupid the comments by models were, and if they represented or not young people in Spain, or even if it tarnishes the image of Spain.
Now, you can check the content of the video, and judge by yourself if your reaction to it is negative or not.
We pick a sample of images and candid statements by models
Many people commenting and attacking the marketing proposal accuse Loewe of being incredible stupid for not being aware of how stupid the selected model comments are. According to many, these young people reflect vacuity, immaturity, lack of intelligence and good taste, an extreme and repulsive sense of being ‘pijo’ (something like I-am-so-happy-with-my-wealthy-looking-style-and-way-of-life).
The question arise automatically. Please, do you really think that nobody at Loewe, a luxury brand and management known by its traditional and conservative style, were aware that these statements would provoke strong reactions of disapproval?
So, it is impossible to deny that one of the complementary goals of the design of their campaign was to create a very negative shock among many viewers disliking high class and luxury products, the ostentation approach from wealthy people or the adverse reaction provocked by bland and flawed remarks.
Select, for each one of the following cases: Option A: Loewe pursued a traditional ad wanting to show their bags following their well known values of tradition, ellegance, stilysh and Spanish. Option B: Loewe has chosen a strong rebranding strategy towards trendy luxury brands; they need that people beyond loyal customers learn and believe that Loewe is no anymore an old fashioned and conservative and traditional luxury brand.
- Greeting, not with the free hand, but with the bag
- Young people saying banalities about ageing.
- A modern looking model making naive statements about loving.
- A punky model using a deeply outdated expression.
- Using the bag as a hat.
1 a obs. : STRANGE, CURIOUS
b arc. : WANDERING
2 a : exceeding the limits of reason or necessity
b : lacking in moderation, balance, and restraint
c : extremely or excessively elaborate
3 a : spending much more than necessary
b : PROFUSE, LAVISH
4: extremely or unreasonably high in price
Merriam-Webster (Encyclopaedia Britannica)
Why would a renowned and very classical luxury brand deliberately choose a marketing strategy that provokes necessarily strong reactions, expecting to create adverse reaction from the vast majority of viewers an even from their own natural public? There is only one answer (if we exclude this Option A that all this happened by an horrendous mistake based on misknowledge of human being behaviour from marketing professionals): they were directly looking for creating a controversy as necessary means and channel to reach the new circles outside the traditional customers and lovers of Loewe brand.
Loewe took the bet to create a brand crisis in order to ensure that the inception of the new brand they were proposing reached its new public, still unaware of Loewe as brand for top-of-mind choices.
Creating a brand reputation crisis is a risky game, an extremely risky one. You know when, why and how a crisis erupts, but you never know how will it finish and how beneficial or damaging would be the effects.
I am persuaded that Loewe assumed and consciously launched a brand crisis. Did they evaluate correctly the extent of it and its actual direction?
The goal of this post is to provide some quantitative analysis of the impact of this campaign. The profile and mission of our blog is to provide measurement based in media and social media analysis. We try to proof that measuring the available information is an extremely powerful tool for understanding crisis and eventually provide useful tools for managing brand reputation.
Measuring the extent of the negative reaction to Loewe’s video.
As anticipated, Loewe provoked a social media turmoil that captured attention and lasted the whole day. Right now we are in the ending direct waves of the controversy, as it is still a hot topic in social media. We will provide later measurement in terms of quantity and visibility of the campaign. But before, we present information concerning how negatively this ad has been received.
The amazing thing of a social media driven crisis is that you have direct access to all the relevant information, live, minute by minute. This availability of information is a blessing for corporate reputation managers and for marketing and branding teams. Identification and measurement of the impact and stakeholders reaction of events outside the social media world is much more complicated, expensive and less reliable.
Teams at Loewe were perfectly aware that they were about to launch a social media bomb. They should also have designed the protocol to monitor it and plan what to do in the different possible scenarios.
What happened in practice is that soon was clear that the overwhelming reaction of people watching the video was negative. Everyone has this direct information as Youtube viewers reaction is directly and publicy available, through the like/dislike voting, plus the content analysis of comments posted by registered viewers.
We have monitored the evolution of positive-negative ratings since the inception of the crisis, when just 40 votes were sent, by 10am 14 March 2012. The evolution of this index is shown in the figure below. The share of negative votes was 75%. Soon the share of negative rates increased to almost 90% of all votes.
Were artistic director and marketing team laughing observing this results, as outraged reaction by viewers was needed to create viral development? Probably not. Too much is too much, and people at Loewe wer surely surprised by the extent of the negative reactions. Soon, and emergency measure (planned or not) was activated. Loewe decided to disable the comments in the video from their own corporate Youtube channel. This was before 10h30 am, when there were just 24 comments. If you check this information in Youtube, you will observe that the counting is stopped at that number.
The problem was that there existed another video uploaded from an external source that, of course, did not block the comments option. The flow of negative comments continued during of the reputation crisis, nourrishing the viral effect and the negative mood against Loewe proposal.
The share of negative ratings reached a peak of 95.2% by 7pm. It has decreased somehow since then, but one day after it still reach 94.3% negative ratings. This result is truly extraordinary. Such an unanimity is completely unusual. There are almost 100% of negative votes for misleading Youtube videos driving traffic with fake titles not corresponding with actual content. But it is hard to find a similar degree of negative reaction from videos with content intentionally provided by corporations or artists. Consider for instance that the infamous video with the song ‘Friday‘ by Rebecca Black reaches a negative share of 80.6% (It is true that the initial version had a highest negative ratio, but has been withdrawn. The popular but critizised song by Justin Bieber, ‘Baby‘, counts with 67.6% negative votes. There is a video from another of these promoted startlettes that approached to Loewe’s score: ‘O.M.G.’, by Jena Rose, with 92.6%.
Negative consensus against Loewe publicity proposal was not a matter of manipulation by a given group (trolls). Negative ratings are similar and consistent in all videos uploaded showing the ad. They came from an open source, as Twitter was the channel el viral diffusion of the video: all people for and angainst the video had free access to react.
Another complementary information is gathered thanks to teh fact that LOEWE has upload individual videos foe each one of the models of the marketing campaign. In their videos, they talk and explain their views… an they continue to show the LOEWE bags. These additional videos provide a very useful information. We can check the reaction against each one of them. Like this it is possibel to identify if the massive negative reception of the campaign is due to the role of a single disgusting model, or is rather an refusal to all the artistic concept.
Again, the results emerging from the figure below are revealing. This is not an opposition against a single model, its a strong disapproval to all aspects of the ad. All videos receive a negative rating share above 90%, with the exception of Martín Rivas video. Martín Rivas is a young actor appearing in TV series well appreciated by many young people (‘El Internado’). This is rather a global failure in terms of public opinion acceptance. The videos are all available at Loewe official Youtube channel.
This means a brand reputation crisis, by all standards. Even if marketing responsibles were not fully aware of how exceptional was the negative reaction to the video, they would surely be somehow nervous about the evolution of the events. A bet is always a bet.
Things did not run extactly as marketing team expected. We have a clear indirect proof. LOEWE upload a new video in its official Youtube channel in the afternoon. It was ‘Loewe AIRE Sensual Spot’. It announced a new parfum. The style of this ad was again rooted in classical elegance, with a dancer, in a black and white production. Launching this ad in the midst of a tourmoil showing a different marketing profile had little sense. The launching of the video was planned well before. It was withdrawn by the company just few hours ago, after a couple of dozens of views. The company attention was placed otherwise. (UPDATE 16 March: The video is back, two days later. Now it is just ‘AIRE Loewe Spot‘. Another lab test for measuring the impact of new LOEWE brand perception in the valoration of new ads and products).
We have the context and the global perception of the crisis. Next step that we propose is to provide elements to evaluate how intense was the crisis measured by social media impact.
Viral Diffusion Process: Measuring the Evolution of Video Views
This crisis was created by Loewe using social media tools. We count with the means to track and monitor the evolution of this crisis inside the main open social media spheres.
An event affected by a viral diffusion process is driven simultaneously by the complementary impact of different social media sources. In order to facilitate the presentation of the results, we will show the impact of this crisis separatedly in each social media platform.
We show first the impact experienced in the platform that acted as the primary source, that is YouTube. The video and its content is the required step that all people should experience before interacting and becoming another activating agent of this crisis.
We present in the following figure the evolution of the number of views of the ‘Loewe Oro Collection 2012’ video, in an hourly base. These numbers include the views of the two main videos used to watch the controversial ad. We do not include here the collateral videos proposed by Loewe. We do not include neither the parodies that emerged already in the afternoon of 14 March 2012. We will come back later commenting the role of these parodies.
The results shown in the graph indicate that number of views exploded soon, by 11am. During all afternoon number of views oscillated between 15.000 and 35.000 per hour. Massive attention decreased simply because entering into late night hours. Today there was still a sustained interest in vieweing the controversial video, but in a rather steady stage, between 5.000 and 15.000 visits per hour. The processus of sustained increase of interest was reached yesterday in the evening. But our results show that this is not a one day event: amount of visits today were far away from being marginal in comparison with the previous day. This means that the video will receive substantial addition of views in the incoming days.
We present in the next figure the evolution of total Youtube video views, based in the data presented in the previous figure.
The infamous ad reached the 100.000 views mark by 2pm; 250.000 by 9pm. It closed the first crisis day with 350.000 visits. One day after, it was broken the one half million views barrier.
These are fabolous numbers. We have shown before that each one of these visits meant basically a negative reaction against the content of the ad proposed by Loewe. The figure itself is impressive. But it is useful to provide elements of comparison to help to measure the extent of the reputation crisis.
How serious are 500.000 video views with negative reviews for Loewe brand equity in Youtube?
Half a million video views in a couple of days is something impressive. But more information is needed in order to assess the impact of this controversial campaign in Loewe global brand perception.
We count with available means to provide perspective. It consists in comparing this value with current presence of brand Loewe in Youtube.
We analyse first the impact of the last video in comparison with all other videos upload by Loewe. Loewe counts with its official corporate channel. The channel was created in May 2010. Since then Loewe has upload 72 videos. To evaluate the imapct of the new advertising campaign, we include only the controversial videos inside the official channel. As explained, it includes the main one plus nino other complementary videos presenting the models.
The figure below shows total number of views in Loewe official channel before and three days after the new marketing campaign. As it can be appreciated, total views have jumped from 121.000 views to almost 600.000 two days after (and counting). The channel has multiplied its size almost by five.
This huge impact has also an effect in terms of the brand profile of the company, at least in the short term. The explosive marketing campaign referred exclusively to bags, the Oro Collection 2012. We show in the two figures below the composition of brand profile of Loewe in Youtube, based in video content, before and after the current campaign.
Before the Oro 2012 ad, the main content associated to Loewe was parfums, due to the popular ad by Spanish matador Cayetano Rivera. Bags represented 15% of the content vwatched in Youtube official channel. Right now, in the aftermath of the current crisis, bags represent 82% of all views. This a strong brand product recomposition in the short term. Time will say if the other components grow again to reach precrisis levels.
Previous figures show the massive impact of the current crisis in the portfolio of watched videos from the official channel. They all refer to visits. We have also shown before that reactions to new videos were unanimously negative. We can then also measure the impact of the controversy on the global perception of content videos provided by Loewe to costumers and interested people.
The information contained in the following two figures are revealing. We show the share of positive-negative rating to all videos upload in the official Loewe channel before and after the viral impact of the new collection. The transformation of Loewe profile as brand in Youtube is dramatic. Before the new ad, Loewe enjoyed from a 90.6% of positive ratings in all their existing videos posted since May 2010. Three days later, the share of positive ratings drops to 12.6%, due to the massive weight of new launched videos. Yes, we labelled it as devastating ad, and it is so, indeed.
This is not all the Youtube story, as we have just showed the impact of the new ad in the Loewe portfolio from the official channel. There are also all other videos about Loewe upload by third persons and companies. There are many industries for which brand perception is created and evolves by its visual image. This refers to both photos about the brand and videos where the brand is protagonist. Having a strong and dynamic official Youtube channel is a basic branding strategy (not only social media strategy, by really global corporate strategy). If wisely used, the official channel is a tool that the company has to influence brand perception among customers and viewers. Youtube is ultimately the result of Youtube users’ preferences and choices. But the corporations count with the tool of the official channel as mechanism to lead or at least to contribute to the storyline of the brand. Official channel provides some relevant privileges. It allow the company to lanch the videos about products and services, or brand values that they want to promote. They could do it also by diffusiong content outside their channel. But the corporate channel allows you to have some control of the message: they provide an extremely rich information about the reaction of viewers, information valuable for deciding which videos should be promoted in the different online and offline platforms; the company can disable comments if they turn against the interests of the company; it can also simply delete a video if it is not running according to expectations. We have seen that Loewe has used two of these privileges ub the midst of the viral turmoil.
We present now the analysis of the impact of the crisis in the overal brand presence of Loewe in Youtube.
According to our analysis, before the crisis, Loewe controlled some 10% of the content available in Youtube, as shown in the figure below.
As a term of comparison, even if it refers to a completely issue, we find that videos from official channel of political parties in Spain had a marginal role in comparison with total views of videos in Youtube upload by other sources. You can access here the post about social media and general elections in Spain, 20 November 2011..
As for the composition of the content present in Youtube about brand Loewe, we find that the brand visibility is driven by Loewe parfums (85% of all Youtube views). Comparing with the structure of content in official Loewe channel we find that videos about parfums conquer the brand, videos presenting Loewe collections (Catwalk) mantain visibility, while the presence of product and profile ‘Bags’ and ‘Leather’ decrease to marginal size. Loewe in Youtube is dominated by the success of the collection of videos ‘Quizas, quizás, quizás’ about parfum.
As for brand reputation in Youtube, Loewe enjoyed a positive rating of 95.1% votes. This excellent rating is better that the one reached by Loewe official channel videos (90.6%)
Then came the ad, the viral diffusion and the extremely negative viewers’ reaction. Let’s see how the picture has been modified for Loewe as a brand in Youtube, three days after the crisis erupted.
In pure quantitative terms, the reputation crisis has doubled the size of Loewe as a brand in Youtube, as in just three days all existing videos about Loewe have exploded from 1.2 million views to 2.53 million. Consider also that the viral diffusion is not yet dead, and final impact of this add will represent many additional views. It is unquestionable that this video supposed a major milestone in Loewe secular history.
Now after the crisis, the relevance of the official Loewe channel has increased, as it controls now 19% of all videos in Youtube.
As we did with the official channel analysis, we can measure the impact of the ad in the composition of the Loewe portfolio of videos in Youtube, by content. There is a revolution. The weight of parfum related videos decrease to 37%, catwalk moves from 8% to 3%. The new size of Loewe’s bags in brand perception increases to 41% of all videos, compared to the previous 2%.
And a new disgusting content emerges after the crisis. Now Loewe is associated to the videos much feared and hated by corporations: spoofs and parodies using your brand as core element of the script. Now parodies about Loewe ad represent 17% of all content in Youtube. This is self evidently harming for Loewe brand reputation, as it means that in the future people loowing for videos about Loewe will find as leading results some videos making terrible spoofs about the models and products presented by Loewe in the risky ad. Right now, searches about ‘Loewe’ in Youtube propose two parodies among top 5 results.
This huge impact in terms of number of video views has also had a tremendous impact in Loewe brand reputation. Now, only 19.8% of viewers’ ratings are positive. We have counted positive voting on Loewe parodies as negative votes.
We analized recently in this post the case of another reputation crisis created and developed in Youtube. This was the crisis suffered by FedEx. In that case, the crisis was not provoked by the company intentionally. It was generated by the misbehaviour of a FedEx worker delivering (throwing literally) a computer monitor over a fence. In our social media reputation analysis, we found that the crisis had a double negative effect: a direct one linked to the number of viewers of the scandalous video, plus another one induced, due to the fact that all other videos with similar workers misbehaviour previously existing increased substantially. You can check here the analysis. In contrast, we do not observe a contagion effect in this Loewe case: views of Loewe videos and negative ratings are restricted to Oro Collection 2012, and do not affect in any sens all other existing videos.
We have shown in this post the source of the reputation crisis and the measurement of its most direct effect in terms of ad video viewings. We have also analyzed how this marketing campaign has completely modified the band profile of Loewe in Youtube.
Our aim now is to show the dynamics of the viral diffusion crisis through a time-series analysis and a content analysis. We present our analysis and results in a new separate post in this blog.
(more reputation analysis coming)