Coming on the heels of the launch of its Paris flagship in June, Kate Spade New York is experimenting with augmented reality to increase foot traffic during Paris Fashion Week.
In lieu of developing its own app, a process that is both time intensive and costly, Kate Spade partnered with Parisian media company My Little Paris on an integration within the lifestyle site’s existing mobile app. Available on Thursday, the program, titled “Joy Walks,” features a curated map of the favorite places of three Parisian influencers and bloggers. The AR technology is activated when users visit a featured location, each of which will appear on the app in the form of a popular Kate Spade pattern or image — flamingoes, taxi cabs and doves included. Users are encouraged to a snap photo of an experience at one of the locations and to post it on social media using the hashtag #katespadejoy. In doing so, they’ll be rewarded with an in-store gift when visiting the flagship store.
“We wanted to bring our brand attributes to life in a unique way,” said Kate Spade CMO Mary Beech. “We’re a brand filled with joy and optimism, and we had a lot of ideas of ways to execute. Very quickly, we narrowed in on AR, as it’s something we’ve always wanted to experiment with.”
The app will be promoted through a combination of channels, including the social media accounts of the influencers and My Little Paris. Beech said this is Kate Spade’s first experience dabbling in AR. As the brand is still relatively new to France, running with a fresh idea made sense. The flagship opened just a few months ago, and the brand only began selling wholesale products in France in 2015. Kate Spade has been making a concerted effort to expanding its presence in Europe — in addition to its Paris shop, it opened a flagship in London last year.
“We really wanted to find a concept in Joy Walks that brought together fashion, tech and media,” Beech said. “We came up with the concept, but we needed a partner to bring that to life. We bring fashion, but we needed help on the tech and media side.”
The My Little Paris website, with the selected locations of Anna Dawson, founder of The Balloon Diary
In order to develop the AR experience, Kate Spade partnered with Paris-based technology company You & Mr. Jones. Julie Hardy, partner at the company, said the goal was to work with Kate Spade to celebrate the new store in a way that went “beyond the walls of the boutique.”
“In their core and DNA, [Kate Spade is] very joyful and whimsical, and that was the theme they wanted to convey to their customer,” she said. “Based on that, we said, ‘Let’s bring an experience, rather than a traditional communication approach, to basically bring as many Parisians as possible to [the store].’