Amplify's latest work transforms David Jones' windows into a virtual garden for Afterpay

By Ruby Derrick | 7 November 2023

Amplify Australia’s latest campaign for Afterpay began with tackling the challenge of using the three major window displays at the David Jones flagship in Elizabeth Street, Sydney. 

The brief was to create a digital display to generate buzz and excitement and connect with Gen Z audiences, positioning Afterpay as an authoritative figure in fashion through Innovation.  

The inspiration behind the journey of ‘mixed realities’ began with using the three window displays at the Sydney David Jones flagship to raise awareness of Afterpay’s association with David Jones and to attract Gen Z consumers during spring party season, said Tim Baggott, executive creative director at Amplify.  

“The solution needed to highlight Afterpay’s position as an innovative and forward-thinking brand at the centre of fashion. We also had to consider how we would feature garments from multiple Australian designers in the creative,” he said. 

The campaign relied on a fully CGI approach, a decision Baggott says immediately placed the creative agency in an innovative space and enabled it to create a suite of supporting assets to share through other marketing channels, including a variety of in-store screens around the country as well as TikTok and Instagram. 

“The move into digital transformed what was initially an opportunity limited to a window display into a targeted, multi-channel campaign that spanned both physical and digital spaces,” said Baggott.  

When considering adapting the creative for social media, we immediately knew we wanted to take advantage of the current 'faux CGI stunt' trend fuelled by fashion and beauty brands that was taking social feeds by storm, with a reality-bending Afterpay takeover of the entire David Jones building. 

Baggott said the creative process stemmed from Amplify’s admiration of digital artist Justin Ridler, captivated by his ability to blur the lines between the real and the surreal, masterfully playing with mixed realities.  

“When it came to creating our CGI content, we wanted to partner with an accomplished digital artist who would bring additional fashion credibility to the project and attract local Australian designers to participate,” he said.   

Everything was crafted from the ground up, notes Baggott, so every detail had to be meticulously considered.  

This encompassed the digitisation of the physical garments from each designer, the subtleties of the avatar from the texture of her skin and hair, her expressions and movements, as well as the intricate textures of the flora and fauna that populated the environment, he said. 

This detail extended to the animation of the virtual scenes, considering elements like wind speeds, dynamic growth of the flowers to breathe life into the garden and exploring ways to manipulate their natural form to add a touch of surrealism.  

The work invites the audience to journey through a mesmerising virtual garden where garments from three Australian fashion designers come to life, interacting with the digital world to reflect their unique identities. 

The meaning behind this garden was inspired by the ‘spring party’ theme, says Baggott. Amplify based its concept around the idea of an otherworldly Afterpay virtual garden coming into bloom. 

We loved the idea of visually connecting all three windows to create a single shared environment and animating our virtual model to move between them,” he said. 

The idea was for the garden to react, and change based on the garment the model was wearing as she passed through the garden, representing the different styles of each designer brand. 

To create the base environment, the agency used Afterpay’s brand colour palette and blended natural and unnatural textures and materials to create a feeling of an organic, albeit impossible world, said Baggott. 

Architectural and structural elements were inspired by the shapes and vector graphics found in the Afterpay brand toolkit. 

When it came to how the garden changed in response to the presence of the designer garments, we asked each designer to share some mood imagery that best captured the essence of their piece/ brand and used that as inspiration to create three distinct responses," he said.

With each response a new imaginary species of plant came into bloom in different colours and unnatural textures, from the colourful, glass blossoms of Alémais to the pearlescent, ceramic petals of Rachel Gilbert. 

Crafting every CGI detail from scratch is a big undertaking that demanded a significant amount of time and effort, said Baggott, to ensure that every element, from the virtual environment to the avatar was brought to life as envisioned.
As Amplify delved into the design process, nailing down the intricate details and nuances of each component required meticulous attention to the subtleties of each element.   

This task, while challenging, was instrumental in achieving the overall immersive quality of the virtual garden,” he said. 

Andrew Balint, vice president of marketing ANZ at Afterpay, said this multi-channel campaign seamlessly pushed the boundaries of blending tangible products from some of Australia’s most prominent fashion designers with one of the most innovative minds in the virtual reality space.  

We’re extremely proud to pioneer a campaign together with David Jones that successfully connected with younger audiences in a unique way, revolutionising the creation of fashion and changing the way that we shop,” said Balint.   

Jess Aloi, GM of financial services at David Jones, said together with Amplify Australia, the department store aimed to create a showpiece that highlighted its valued partnership, celebrated its brand partners, and showcased the next generation of fashion innovators.  

With 4.3 million views across Instagram and TikTok, we created a compelling marketing moment to engage Gen Z consumers and we're incredibly pleased with the results,” she said. 

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