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Stitched together: Bauer, Lincoln University and Nudie Jeans show the value of collaboration

Ask any parent of a teenager and they’ll likely tell you their kids don’t want to be told what to do, and the approach to encouraging them on how to choose a university has traditionally been to shout so-called inspirational messages at them through a TV screen. But this year, Bauer sought to approach potential students differently, providing them with an experience instead, in the form of an activation run at Auckland City Limits on behalf of Lincoln University with its partner Nudie Jeans.

By StopPress Team | July 18, 2016 | Sponsored content

Bauer Media activations manager Jessica Allan says Lincoln University wanted to celebrate sustainability through its brand this year.

“We wanted to help [Lincoln] change their brand perception and target savvy early adopters and people who would seek out experiences,” she says. 

She says GSL Promotus’s Steve Dimakis and Lincoln University's marketing manager met with the Nudie Jeans crew last year. 

“They told us that [Nudie Jeans] are a great example of a sustainable business and that their ideals are very similar to those of Lincoln, so we thought ‘Great, that could be a perfect collaboration opportunity’,” she says.

Nudie Jeans is an environmentally conscious Swedish brand that has been rolling out repair stations across its stores around the world since 2012, training up specialists in the art of repairing denim.

The great thing about its jeans is that once they become ripped or worn, a sad inevitability with denim, it’s not the end of the road just yet. You can either take them to any Nudie Jeans store worldwide and have them repaired, or hand them in to be recycled and receive 20 percent off your next pair. 

“And so when we presented the activation concept to Lincoln we said ‘Look, you guys have an existing relationship with Nudie which we would like to create content from’. So we came up with a concept of having a repair shop at Auckland City Limits,” Allan says. 

DIY publishing

Bauer brought its masterplan to life by creating a pop-up repair shop.

“We fitted it out to look like the other repair shops they have around the world and we interviewed Ruari Mahon who is the marketing director for Nudie based in New York and is very in the loop and up to play with exactly what they are all about ... he’s the spokesperson for the business, so he had the whole story.”

She says even though Lincoln University didn’t have a fashion course, it wanted to show people that students could create a sustainable business idea like Nudie Jeans if they had a degree from Lincoln. 

“We used Metro and FQ to create this content by having our writers interview Ruari, experience the activation at Auckland City Limits and push out content from there. So it went across digital (online and EDMs), social and the magazine [Metro].”

Allan says she wanted something to appeal to as many people as possible but look great and stand out in the sea of activations at the festival.

“You had to make sure you had a point of difference and we worked really closely with the team at Nudie across Sweden, Australia and New York in order to get the perfect aesthetic from what their stores and pop-up repair stores look like around the world.”

Bauer worked with Event Base for the structure and internally sourced the furniture, while Nudie sent worn denim and other denim supplies to accessorise the walls of the repair shop.

Allan says the activation was really popular, with hundreds of people cruising in throughout the day, leading to the repair of 35 pairs of jeans. 

A competition was also run where festival-goers could take a photo of the repair station onsite, upload it online, and tag ‘#LUgeneration’ to win a pair of Nudie Jeans and a limited edition collaborative t-shirt designed for Lincoln by the Nudie Jeans designers.

The party moves online

Interest in the event also blew up on social media. A post from Fashion Quarterly about the activation reached over 20,000 users with hundreds of ‘like’s. And a subsequent post from Fashion Quarterly linking to a story about Nudie Jeans reached over 100,000 users with close to 6,000 link clicks. 

GSL Promotus digital strategy and media planner Steve Dimakis says the response
was so great that on the day of the activation people who weren’t aware of the campaign previously but were wearing Nudies whipped
off their jeans and grabbed a pair off the wall while theirs were being fixed.

“We had one guy who just sat in his underwear while they were being repaired,”
he says (which is also surprisingly fitting for
a brand called Nudie).

“We had a lot of people coming to the repair station and we could talk to them about why sustainable business is important.”

He says the collaboration with Bauer and Lincoln was fantastic. 

“It’s not just another advertising offer,” he says. 

“They really get involved and when you let them, they become part of your team rather than being a supplier.”

He says it was also important to let Bauer find the newsworthy stories its own way. “Otherwise it can become too advertorial, and they’re great at what they do.”

Allan says Lincoln University was stoked with the activation. “They were really pleased … In the world of advertising and content marketing, it’s great to be that creative and we thought it’d be fantastic if [Lincoln] said ‘yes’ to this. They initially were apprehensive about the rather out of the ordinary concept but then they started to understand just what our strategy was and immediately saw the value in it, then they were on board.”

Brands are after something different to attract consumers these days, she says. “They want stand out content and so this absolutely fit the bill. It was a very cool project and collaboration because the client really trusted us and then gave us access to the Nudie Jeans team and from there we were able to work together.”

In fact, the activation went so well that Bauer has been enlisted to help Lincoln University with its next campaign, which will again focus on taking an unconventional approach to reach students. We can only hope there aren’t any blokes hanging around in their tighty-whiteys when the next collaboration kicks off. 

He says the collaboration with Bauer and Lincoln was fantastic. 

“It’s not just another advertising offer,” he says. 

“They really get involved and when you let them, they become part of your team rather than being a supplier.”

He says it was also important to let Bauer find the newsworthy stories its own way. “Otherwise it can become too advertorial, and they’re great at what they do.”

Allan says Lincoln University was stoked with the activation. “They were really pleased … In the world of advertising and content marketing, it’s great to be that creative and we thought it’d be fantastic if [Lincoln] said ‘yes’ to this. They initially were apprehensive about the rather out of the ordinary concept but then they started to understand just what our strategy was and immediately saw the value in it, then they were on board.”

Brands are after something different to attract consumers these days, she says. “They want stand out content and so this absolutely fit the bill. It was a very cool project and collaboration because the client really trusted us and then gave us access to the Nudie Jeans team and from there we were able to work together.”

In fact, the activation went so well that Bauer has been enlisted to help Lincoln University with its next campaign, which will again focus on taking an unconventional approach to reach students. We can only hope there aren’t any blokes hanging around in their tighty-whiteys when the next collaboration kicks off. 

  • This story first appeared in the Media edition of NZ Marketing is part of a content partnership with Bauer Media. For more information, contact pgardiner@bauer.co.nz.

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