Outdoor advertising key to H&M Australia launch

By Natalie Talbutt | 22 April 2014

Outdoor advertising was key to building awareness and buzz around the H&M brand ahead of its long awaited entry into the Australian market earlier this month, according to the retailer’s team on the ground.

It's two weeks since Swedish multinational fashion chain opened the doors of its first Australian store in Melbourne.

Of its pre-launch marketing activity, out-of-home was the most successful channel for driving awareness of the brand and creating a buzz ahead of its launch, H&M PR and marketing manager YC Eu told AdNews.

She said: “It was about creating an impact for the marketing launch that hadn't been done before to get the talk-ability.”

H&M worked with Adshel and JCDecaux to secure premium outdoor sites including non-media spaces that saw the H&M red ribbon splashed across promininant sites including esculators within Melbourne's Flinders Street and Southern Cross stations. Adshel also used "superstops" with high dwell time to grab the attention of pedestrians on Flinders Street, Elizabeth Street as well as Southbank.


The aim was to “dominate the city to let Melbourne know we were arriving,” said Eu.
Print advertising also proved successful. H&M paid to put the red ribbon on the front cover of  Vogue and Elle with an invite tag for launch day. Twitter and Facebook were another key strategic plank. Radio was the fashion brands' smallest marketing investment.


H&M has yet to announce where it will open next but Sydney would be the obvious location. Eu told AdNews that wherever it does launch will not follow exactly the same strategy, but the red ribbon is was a constant.

“Melbourne is different, so we can't use the same start in different cities ... [but] our launch creative – the red ribbon – is the same campaign we have around the world. When we launch in the market we use the red ribbon to announce the opening date and opening time.”

Local retailers such as Cotton On and Sportsgirl will be watching H&M's progress in Melbourne closely. A recent report by consulting firm EDITD outlines swimwear as a key category where H&M can take on local retailers in the mid-market, as it tends to be left to higher priced specalists.

EDITD CEO Geoff Watts said: “Over the past few years a rapid influx of brands like Zara, Topshop, Hollister, Miss Selfridge and Victoria’s Secret has put pressure on Australian retail. The latest competitive threat is H&M. However, new entrants into the Australian market don’t change the fundamentals of retail; having the right product at the right price, and at the right time, will always determine retail success.”

For further insight into the risk H&M poses local retailers, see the full report below.

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