"Publishers are becoming curators of content rather than simply creators. As a result, digital content assets are becoming tools of immeasurable worth - both for the PR pros seeking brand control as well as supplemental content for publications." - Gerard Bush, Creative Director of The brpr Group for Haute Living
The July issue of Haute Living magazine, out today, stars Eva Longoria in a gorgeous editorial titled The Garden of Rapture. The 10-page spread features the actress, in my favorites shot, wearing nothing but a long white skirt, canoodling with a resplendent white horse amongst the greenery.
Conceived of by Creative Director Gerard Bush and shot by legendary celebrity and fashion photographer Greg Lotus, the feature also includes a QR code linking to a digital short, driven by Gerard's desire to "invite a participatory process and tell the fashion story utilizing a few different platforms."
While noting that QR codes can be a bit "visually intrusive," Gerard says QR codes have reached a tipping point and solve for the problem of synthesizing the print-to-digital, or vice-versa, dilemma. "We created the iPad version, that includes the digital short film, but we didn’t want anyone that was reading the traditional hard copy of the magazine to lose the 3 dimensional experience, so we solved that challenge by integrating a QR code so that the viewer could scan with their smart phone device and share via Twitter or Facebook and make comments. We have had over 10,00 views already and the magazine only officially published today."
The move toward a more digitally-integrated experience marks Haute Living's transition toward becoming a high fashion luxury publication that makes full use of digital tools and social opportunities. Charged with bringing a more current perspective in fashion editorial to the publication and shifting a more traditional definition of luxury to a more contemporary sentiment, Gerard notes that print and digital both hold tremendous value. "I live for still shots but the short film provides additional texture."
In addition to Haute Living Creative Director Contributor duties Gerard is also Chief Creative Director and co-founder of award winning social media marketing agency BRPR, and sees branded content as becoming almost compulsory in the field of fashion PR. "Magazines comb the earth for great content and if you can provide really polished content in tandem with relevant information important to their readership you have a tremendous leg up on PR people that are simply sending a press pitch and look book. That approach seems a bit antiquated and somewhat ineffective at this juncture. Creating digital branded content doesn't require a big budget, but it does require a clear and concise point of view."
While providing multiple ways to both access and experience fashion content increases the likelihood of views and shares, helping to build the case for advertisers, the approach also has the potential to both surprise and surround the reader with a richer, more engaging experience overall.