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Sports Illustrated promotes annual Swimsuit Issue with bevy of digital engagements

sports illustrated

This is Kate Upton's third time gracing the cover

As if there were not enough chatter surrounding Time Inc.’s Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, the publication is cross-promoting it with some serious social investment, including Facebook Live and Snapchat integrations.

This year’s issue, again covered by perennial Swimsuit Issue favorite Kate Upton, coincides with an unprecedented multi-platform, multimedia launch across print, digital, social and experiential channels. The launch will also involve partnerships with numerous companies, including GIF search engine Giphy to create hundreds of the image files, searchable by model and topic.

"The women of SI Swimsuit 2017 are a collection of change agents, pioneers, power brokers and breakout stars-in-waiting who have in their own way redefined the cultural conversation around beauty," said MJ Day, Sports Illustrated Swimsuit editor. "These ladies embody character and beauty — and they prove that when it comes to beauty, there is not one singular definition. 

"This is the very essence of SI Swimsuit, and it's our guiding principle as we move forward."

Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue
Launch week will feature over a dozen Facebook Live shows, including the announcement of the 2017 Rookie of the Year winner from Facebook's Manhattan studios. 

The promotional campaign will be highly video-centric; aside from the Facebook Live integration and the partnership with Giphy, Sports Illustrated will be releasing exclusive new YouTube videos featuring top influencers and exclusive Instagram swimsuit videos.

Courtesy of Yu Tsai/Sports Illustrated, on sale now

The brand’s interest in Instagram goes further than purely content: Sports Illustrated will also partner with @WomenIRL, a Time Inc. Instagram community devoted to authenticity, and will tout its partnership with Health.com and its What I Model campaign through the promotion of the hashtags #WhatIModel and #LoveYourSwimsuit, where users can submit videos “celebrating confidence and beauty in all its forms.”

SI Swimsuit will continue to roll out never-before-seen photos and video content, including 360-degree videos from shoots in Fiji and Mexico, premium in-app content.

Snapchat Global Story
Sports Illustrated is also planning a Snapchat Global Live Story following the models during Swimsuit launch, a tactic that was used extensively during New York Fashion Week to give mobile users access to an event that has historically smacked of exclusivity. The Snapchat installations have been a success, and have had the added effect of shifting focus on the NYFW festivities from the designs involved to the influencers attending and participating.

Olympic champions Aly Raisman and Simone Biles also got in on the fun

Last year, the Swimsuit Issue was sponsored by Lane Bryant, which also rolled out a Live Story on Snapchat to take advantage of the viral sensation following the announcement that Ashley Graham had been chosen for the highly anticipated edition (see story).

Schick also had a significant digital presence for last year’s Swimsuit Issue, which was a continuation of a sponsorship from the year previous. The brand would introduce a mobile-first campaign for its latest Schick Hydro product that targeted both of the brands’ respective audiences through a selfie contest designed to attract millennial-aged men (see story).

"We didn’t start off with the idea of three covers, regardless of who was on the cover," Ms. Day said. "But when Kate was actually shooting, we were trying so many different looks on her and each photo was coming back just as great as the next.

"It's a full circle moment for us," she said. "We started Kate in her career, and we watched her grow and become not only this worldwide, superstar phenomenon; she changed the direction of the modeling industry. 

"Kate Upton was really this trailblazer that led the way for the Ashley Grahams of the world and everything you're seeing happen that's different in fashion right now."

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Rakin Azfar is editorial assistant on Mobile Marketer, New York. Reach him at rakin@napean.com.

 
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