Wednesday, February 15

SI Swimsuit 2012

It's not necessarily the marketing event of the year, but in some circles it is the most coveted magazine edition of the year.  Certainly over time, it's become a brand unto its own and has certainly launched the career of many a brand as well ... think Elle MacPherson.  There's no denying that it's a critical moment in pop culture every single year.

The Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition.

The 2012 edition appeared on newsstands yesterday, Valentine's Day, and was launched on Late Night with David Letterman the night before.  But it's not just a magazine anymore, it's an entire brand that every year gets a complete refresh ... this time around with an entire week of launch festivities in none other than Las Vegas.

I have not honestly paid attention to this brand for years, so I was really surprised to see how far it had advanced.  I caught wind of it during The Grammy Awards where teasers prepped the hype.

The brand has certainly created calendars and live events before, but now it's gone completely digital with a dedicated website, Twitter handle, Facebook page, and photo/video galleries.  It's no longer enough for the models to be photo-ready, they have to be cyber-ready as well.

And it's not just for guys anymore either, the website has a Style Guide (presented by the women's razor brand Venus) on how to "get the look" and complete "behind-the-scenes" stories of why the models, swimsuits, and accessories were all chosen.

Part of this year's refresh is a salute to Olympians, which during an Olympic year is brilliant (and also a nice tie to sports so that it all feels relevant).  There are featured models with body paint, which is cool, plus an area on the website where you can learn about body paint. :)

Of course there's music - nothing goes better with fashion and sports than music.  Check out "Beauties and the Beats" for mash-ups with soundtracks as well as live concerts in Las Vegas.  Brilliant.

I love seeing a brand evolve through the years to continually keep its audience engaged, especially as new generations of audiences emerge with different needs and media habits.  Bravo to Sports Illustrated for "owning" a pop culture moment every year and for constantly making it better and better ... and more relevant.

What's your experience?  Jim.

Jim Joseph
Author of The Experience Effect
(and now big brand theory applied to small business - The Experience Effect for Small Business)

1 comment:

  1. Brand evolution is incredibly important. I think that a brand as a whole, is greater than the sum of its parts. Sports Illustrated’s effort to push social media and use it as a strategic platform underscores their progressive attitude. It seems that any brand, even a brand as iconic as SI, can’t rest on its laurels. With the break neck pace of media today, expanding into more integrated, social forms of marketing is proving to be a necessity.

    SI’s integrated approach is very clever. They are keeping up with their customers’ tastes and preferences. Beyond that, they are engaging a broader audience, the Sports Illustrated Style Guide reaches female audiences and involves them as never before. Partnering with the Gilette Venus brand of razor is a stroke of genius. The special issue features swimsuits so featuring a women’s razor is right on target. It seems like a well thought out, mutually beneficial partnership that highlights SI’s awareness of their audience without being obtrusive or needlessly gratuitous.

    As I see it, the partnership elevates both brands and hints that the “model look” featured in the magazine, is indeed attainable for the average woman.