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Dolce & Gabbana appeals to aspirational consumers with crowdsourced photo album

November 27, 2013


Italian fashion brand Dolce & Gabbana is allowing users to submit their own family photos to its Web site to further fan interaction with the brand online.

The #DGFamily project has created an online photo album of family photos that visitors can view. By creating an interactive, personal digital collage of photos, Dolce & Gabbana will likely increase user engagement on its Web site and endear itself to aspirational consumers.

"Dolce & Gabbana is trying to bring the focus back to its core values and family is one of them," said Yuli Ziv, founder/CEO of Style Coalition, New York. "It is a great concept to connect to consumers with, especially around the holiday time when family is so important.

"This Dolce & Gabbana campaign is a great tool for making the aspirational consumer feel part of the brand, extending the current Dolce & Gabbana fan base," she said.

"Crowdsourcing is signifying a connection to people. However, when not properly curated, it may bring results that are not necessarily up to a luxury brand standard. While crowdsourcing is a great tactic to engage with consumers, it is best used when filtered through a brand's unique point of view, visually or contextually."

Ms. Ziv is not affiliated with Dolce & Gabbana, but agreed to comment as an industry expert.

Dolce & Gabbana was unable to comment before press deadline.

Photo album

This photo project is an extension of Dolce & Gabbana’s print ads from 2012 to the present that feature large Italian families.

In 2012, the ads showed all generations, from babies to grandparents. More recently, the ads have focused on the middle generation, with a woman and man embracing while a group of men stand in the background.

Dolce & Gabbana ad for Spring 2013

This call for photos allows users to show other Dolce & Gabbana fans what their family looks like, allowing the brand’s campaign to cross cultures and generations to generate a global compendium.

DGFamily Web page

Users have entered everything from vintage black-and-white photos of brides and grooms to modern Christmas card photos. Every photo entered has the Dolce & Gabbana logo placed within it, making each picture a mini ad.

To submit photos, users must either enter information into the Dolce & Gabbana Web site to create a profile or login with their Facebook account. This allows the brand to gain insights on who its followers are, and potentially gain new email subscribers.

The photos are laid out across pages, with 12 photos per page. Dolce & Gabbana has so far gathered 46 pages worth of photos, giving users a lot of content to look through if they choose.

DGFamily Gallery

Dolce & Gabbana’s online lifestyle magazine Swide is picking one family photo per day to be featured on its Web site.

The project extends to Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram, where users are posting photos with the #DGFamily hashtag. As of press time, 822 photos on Instagram were tagged #DGFamily.

Posts tagged #DGFamily on Instagram

Even celebrities got in on the photo sharing, with British television personality Peaches Geldof posting a photo of herself and her baby with the hashtag to Instagram. Dolce & Gabbana's own Stefano Gabbana also posted his own family photo.

Instagram post from Stefano Gabbana

Group effort

Other brands have used crowdsourcing to learn more about their consumers and increase interactivity among their fans.

For instance, department store chain Bloomingdale’s is letting fans determine the best selfie shot from its #BloomieSelfie Instagram contest to increase participation and spread awareness of the campaign.

The #BloomieSelfie contest asked fans to submit a selfie that details a favorite beauty or styling tip that enhances their snapshot. By aggregating a diverse range of interpretations, the retailer not only boosts the reputation of its social media pages but also gets a clean insight into what consumers want (see story).

Unlike the Bloomingdale's contest, the Dolce & Gabbana campaign is not a competition, since there is not prize for entering. However, in this case, the ability to have their photos shown to the world is enough to entice users to submit photos.

Besides Dolce & Gabbana, other brands' calls for photo submissions have garnered responses from multiple social media platforms, spreading the conversation and awareness about the campaigns further.

For example, spirits maker Moët & Chandon strived to position itself as the Champagne of choice for celebrations with a global photography contest through Nov. 9 that spans Instagram, Tumblr and Twitter.

The #MoetMoment campaign calls for fans to submit photos of any celebration and each week a participant will win a golden magnum bottle of Moët Impérial. Since the campaign will dispense prizes on a weekly basis, it may captivate fans consistently enough to reposition the brand (see story).

In the case of Dolce & Gabbana, its crowdsourcing might be lacking in motivation for those who are not dedicated fans of the brand.

"While the feature is easy to use, the incentive isn't clear enough," Ms. Ziv said. "It is not explained if all submitted photos would be displayed on the Web site or only the best ones.

"There is also no clear reward, besides landing your family portrait to be displayed to the large audience of the brand's fans, with a Dolce & Gabbana logo decorating it as if it was an ad," she said.

"It may appeal to the hard core brand fans, but reject others who are more protective of their own family image."

Final Take
Sarah Jones, editorial assistant on Luxury Daily, New York