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Victoria?s Secret revitalizes fashion show anticipation via Snapchat doodle contest

Victoria?s Secret unclasped fans? excitement for its upcoming annual fashion show by asking Snapchat followers to draw their own fantasy bra with the photo-sharing application?s doodle features. 

The lingerie giant simultaneously promoted its Very Sexy Flirt bra collection by giving away a complimentary item to winners of the Snapchat challenge. As the retailer ramps up for the busy holiday shopping season, rolling out an interactive, social media-based contest is a smart move to engage with consumers and tease its mammoth fashion show event, taking place on December 8.

"Investing in this targeted Snapchat campaign will absolutely incite further frenzy for the already acclaimed Victoria's Secret fashion show,? said Laura Sossong, consultant at Boston Retail Partners, Boston. "Users expect exclusive engagement with their favorite brands on Snapchat, providing retailers with prime opportunity to truly ingrain captive consumers in their culture and image.

?As was evidenced by its popularity during New York Fashion Week, expanding utilization of Snapchat is unequivocally a smart strategic move for brands. The demographic of Snapchat users is primarily women in the millennial and younger generations, which is an ideal medium for Victoria?s Secret to appeal to younger audiences.?

Inspiring customer interpretations
Yesterday, Victoria?s Secret revealed that veteran Angel ambassador Lily Aldridge will be modeling the 2015 fantasy bra during its annual fashion show, which will air on Dec. 8 on CBS. The brand took to Snapchat to unveil the news, showcasing videos and photos of Ms. Aldridge getting ready for a televised appearance to promote the event.

Last week, Victoria?s Secret invited its Snapchat followers to visit a link to a Facebook event to find out more information about the doodle contest. Fans were encouraged to use Snapchat?s drawing functionality to render an image of their best fantasy bra within the app.

They were required include the hashtags #VSFantasyBra and #DoodleForFreeBra before sending the drawing back to the official Victoria?s Secret account, victoriassecret. Users also must have been following the account to be eligible to win.

"Gamification is becoming an increasingly popular way to incentivize consumer engagement in the brand story,? Ms. Sossong said. "Introducing fun, interactive challenges serves to further the effectiveness and reach of Snapchat campaigns.

?According to a recent Boston Retail Partners survey, 87 percent of retailers plan to use gamification techniques within the next five years."

Victoria?s Secret has not yet unveiled the winners of the contest, who will receive a free Very Sexy Flirt bra.

An increasing amount of brands are taking to Snapchat to foster two-way communication with their customers. Express also posts daily videos featuring models wearing its latest looks, and asks followers to Snap their own branded outfits back to its official account.

This is an optimal way of garnering honest consumer feedback about specific products as well.

Additionally, offering incentives and prizes is a surefire way of increasing participation in the campaign. The sheer ease of drawing an image on Snapchat and sending it to an account is likely to fuel consumers? interest in winning a free bra, as well as spiking interest in the annual fashion show.

Sneak peeks on social
The lingerie retailer has also been awarding its social media followers with the first behind-the-scenes looks and news leading up to the broadcast event. Ms. Aldridge was revealed as the wearer of the 2015 fantasy bra on Snapchat, while the bejeweled piece itself was displayed on Instagram for the first time yesterday morning.

Victoria?s Secret also posted clips from casting days for the fashion show, including one emotional video in which the fashion directors informed model Gigi Hadid that she would walk the runway this year.

The steady flow of content is designed to stir up viewership for the December show and drive excitement to a fever pitch.

Leveraging social media for exclusive material and giveaways has been a top-notch strategy for the brand.

This summer, Victoria?s Secret took its omnichannel marketing to new heights and added in-store appeal to the selfie by asking fans to visit a location, snap a picture in front of a window display and show a sales associate to receive a free gift, suggesting in-store selfie activations could be the next big thing for millennial-friendly retailers (see story).

It also unhooked a new strategy of marketing during live events with its own Lingerie Red Carpet on Instagram during MTV?s Video Music Awards broadcast this September, displaying pieces similar in style or color to celebrities? arrival outfits in a bid to spark inspiration among consumers (see story).

?Other retailers should strongly consider experimenting with creative ways to take advantage of Snapchat,? Ms. Sossong said. "As a free and rapidly growing platform that boasts over 100 million active users, opportunities to engage consumers in new and inventive ways continue to broaden within the tool."

Final Take
Alex Samuely, staff writer on Mobile Marketer, New York