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Marc by Marc Jacobs uses social media-based casting to find its next model

Marc by Marc Jacobs is searching the social media airwaves for a model to star in its first ad campaign under new leadership.

The secondary collection?s new creative directors, British designers Katie Hillier and Luella Bartley, are ensuring the brand takes a fresh approach by using a social media based campaign called #CastMeMarc. The duo unveiled their first collection for Marc Jacobs sister brand in New York in February, and announced this week that aspiring models could submit applications via the #CastMeMarc hashtag, which prompted a flood of pictorial responses almost immediately.

?Twitter and Instagram are both popular today with affluent millennials,? said Raquel V. Cadourcy, vice president of business development and strategic accounts at HelloWorld, New York. ?These social channels allow brands to speak personally to their consumers on the go.

?In return, consumers can share their personality and feel as though they have a voice with the brand?, she said.

Ms. Cadourcy is not affiliated with Marc by Marc Jacobs and commented based on her experience in mobile.

Marc by Marc Jacobs did not respond to a request for comment.

High stakes
Last May, the company announced that longtime Marc by Marc Jacobs accessories consultant Katie Hillier would assume the mantle of creative director. Ms. Hillier in turn brought in Luella Bartley, of the much-missed London label Luella, as design director.

Together, they represent the new public face of Marc by Marc, the first time that face had ever been any but Mr. Jacobs?s own.

Marc by Marc Jacobs #CastMeMarc campaign

The stakes of such a shift are high, as Marc by Marc Jacobs represents as much as 70 percent of the business of Marc Jacobs International.

A fresh perspective could help the brand maintain awareness and interaction.

Social media initiative
Calvin Klein ran a similar successful social media campaign in February.

The brand launched a global social media initiative asking fans to share ?selfies? where they showed off the iconic Calvin Klein waistband.

Called ?show yours #mycalvins?, the campaign coincided with the launch of Calvin Klein?s latest underwear collection, Calvin Klein Dual Tone. To expedite the outreach of the campaign, the brand teamed up with over 100 style influencers like Trey Songz, Fergie, and Miranda Kerr to contribute to a digital conversation by posting titillating self-portraits on social media with the hashtag #mycalvins.

Fergie's #mycalvins self-portrait

The best pictures were then handpicked by the Calvin Klein team and featured on the brand?s official Instagram feed, allowing several to become a bona fide Calvin Klein model.  

?Using Instagram and Twitter creates a two-way conversation between the consumer and the brand,? Ms. Cadourcy said. ?It allows for direct connection between the two.

?Not only that, it allows brands to speak to consumers in a more personable way, and allows for the consumer to share their individual personality,? she said.

Trophy case
Since winning the Council of Fashion Designers of America?s New Fashion Talent award in 1988, Marc Jacobs has been decorated with some of the fashion industry's most esteemed honors.

Last month, Marc Jacobs won the Style Coalition award for best social presence in fashion. His Twitter updates and Instagram pictures taking cues from his material success to carve out a role for the brand in social media.

Marc Jacobs is successful in reaching target audiences because it has the courage to test a traditional promotion like a contest in an innovative way, and more importantly, within a social channel the brand's target audience uses every day.

?This is sexy and shows that Marc Jacobs is forward thinking and is willing to take risks,? Ms. Cadourcy said.

?So many luxury brands today know they need to test the waters with social promotions to drive brand engagement but they are too afraid,? she said.

?They hide behind the history and prestige of the brand and therefore are behind. It's all about understanding and using traditional promotions that have proven to work for other brands and putting a luxury and innovative lens on these ideas to create sophisticated programs the brands can stand behind and test.?

Final Take:
Michelle is editorial assistant on Mobile Marketer