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Mr Porter uses children’s character to promote holiday dressing guide

December 19, 2013


Online menswear retailer Mr Porter released a short video based on beloved British children's book and television series Mr Benn to appeal to consumer nostalgia during the holiday season.

Mr Porter enlisted the original writer of the Mr Benn book and BBC series, David McKee, who used a similar story line for the retailer, showing the title character going to his favorite costume shop, but then choosing to shop instead from the Mr Porter app. By using a familiar character in a holiday promotion, Mr Porter is able to both entertain consumers and promote its own services.

"It’s brilliant for Mr Porter to use the Mr Benn character to promote its holiday strategy," said Karen Pattani-Hason, new business and partnerships director at Aurnhammer, New York.

"Mr. Porter is a luxury brand which appeals to men who take special care in their fashion choices, and who appreciate the sartorial advice the Mr Porter brand provides," she said.

"The video fits the brand well, as the Mr Benn character is familiar and beloved, and it demonstrates how the new Mr Porter app can assist in making appropriate and fun menswear choices for the holidays and beyond."

Ms. Pattani-Hason is not affiliated with Mr Porter, but agreed to comment as an industry expert.

Mr Porter was unable to comment directly.

Familiar story

Mr Benn is a dapper fellow, in a bowler hat and suit.

The traditional Mr Benn stories followed a similar arch. Mr Benn would visit a costume shop, pick an outfit, and then walk through a back door in the store and go on an adventure related to his chosen garb.

For example, in the first episode, Mr Benn chose a knight costume for a fancy dress party he was attending. When he left the changing room through the magic door, he encountered a dragon in an alternate world, and helped the creature.

In this mini episode for Mr Porter, Mr Benn is attending a holiday party at his office and needs something to wear. Mr Benn spends all day shopping, finally ending up in his usual costume shop.

Mr Benn is greeted by the shopkeeper, who asks him what he is looking for. Mr Benn explains that the invitation said to dress smart, so he doesn’t want to look dull.

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The sales associate notes how Mr Benn had so much fun while wearing a spaceman, or astronaut, costume, so maybe Mr Benn should try that again. Mr Benn says he would not be able to drink his cocktail or eat at the party in that ensemble.

The shopkeeper then tells Mr Benn that he knows what he needs, and asks him to wait in the fitting room while he fetches it.

While the shop keeper is away, Mr Benn gets curious about the back door in the fitting room of the shop, a nod to the original Mr Benn series.

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The shop clerk returns with a smart phone and shows Mr Benn the Mr Porter app, telling him it will solve his dressing dilemma, noting the holiday dressing guide included. He adds that the ecommerce site has same-day delivery in some cities.

Mr Benn starts scrolling through Mr Porter’s selections, pleased with the array of choices. He then picks out navy pants, a blue velvet Burberry jacket, patent shoes, a white dress shirt and a Lanvin bow tie.

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Mr Benn then magically changes into his Mr Porter outfit.

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He looks again at the door in the changing room, wondering what adventure is behind it today. He opens the door, and music and flashing lights eminate.

A bouncer pops out and tells Mr Benn that it is closed for a private party.

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Mr Benn then decides to go home and take a nap before his party. Before he leaves the store, he thanks the shopkeeper, who tells him it was not his help, but Mr Porter’s, that got him dressed for the party.

Mr Benn then heads home, Mr Porter bag in hand, excited about his plans for the night.

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Mr Porter featured the video in its online magazine, with an article that explains that the brand brought together the original artists behind the Mr Benn series. The article also tells readers that original artwork from the series was used in the Mr Porter film.

Mr Benn at Christmas

Mr Porter editor-in-chief Jeremy Langmead tells readers the brand thought Mr Benn fit with the retailer because of his fashion sense, charm, manners and search for adventure.

The retailer placed the Mr Benn article in a prominent position on its homepage to increase views.

Mr Porter also posted the Mr Benn video to its Facebook page.

Video tutorials

Mr Porter is consistently creating new content for its consumers, mixing entertainment and instruction with its shopping platform.

For instance, Mr Porter is teaching its male following the art of shaving with a new social video that promotes products sold by the ecommerce store.

Part of a new series of tutorial videos, Mr Porter’s “How To: Shave Well” stars Charlie King, a barber at London’s Pankhurst men’s club. Tutorial-style videos engage consumers by showing their potential purchases in use while echoing the overarching Mr Porter lifestyle (see story).

Also, Mr Porter is advising its consumers how to stylishly wear certain garments in five different ways with a video series rife with product references on its online magazine Journal.

The latest “Five Ways to Wear” video provides examples of how to wear a cardigan under the guidance of style director Dan May. By demonstrating that, like most other garments, the cardigan is only as stylish as its complementary pieces, the video is able to advertise a surprisingly large array of products (see story).

"This video is a great promotion for the Mr. Porter app," Ms. Pattani-Hason said.

"Fans of Mr Benn as well as fans of the brand will be inspired by the positive, holiday-themed content in the video," she said. "The video's placement on Facebook will make it easier to discover, preview and share for Mr Porter’s 300,000 Facebook fans."

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