UNIQLO is a leading fashion retailer, with over 1200 stores globally and 20 Australian locations. A distinctly Japanese brand, UNIQLO delivers easy-going apparel that serves a larger purpose: improving your life with thoughtful, functional details. Innovation is at the heart of UNIQLO - as president and CEO Tadashi Yanai states “We’re not a fashion company. We’re a technology company.”
HEATTECH is UNIQLO’s thin and comfortable thermal range. Micro-acrylic traps and retains heat, while special fibres in the material absorb moisture from the body to convert into warmth. HEATTECH are thermals for everyday use for all lifestyles, but UNIQLO’s challenge in Australia is to make HEATTECH relevant. Traditionally, thermals are only worn in extremely cold weather or for outdoor activity - they’re rarely considered for wearing under everyday clothes, so a key part of the local strategy is driving trial.
UNIQLO’s purpose-driven clothing is versatile enough for all demographics, meaning their target market is wide and diverse. So the audience for this campaign were people affected by Sydney’s winter weather - cold commuters. The aim was to ‘improve their lives’, as per the brand’s ethos.
1000heads were asked to leverage UNIQLO’s brand exposure to drive HEATTECH product consideration for the 2019 Australian winter. We needed to position UNIQLO as the retail destination for ‘Winter Warmth’ via a premium, innovative and interactive consumer activation which would also generate earned media and shareable content.
1000heads research showed that adverse weather conditions trigger online climate discussions, with over half of national weather conversations driven by the cold. Our agency data also showed that Sydney accounted for 28% of all Australian cold weather conversations across Twitter and Instagram between March 2018 - February 2019.
According to the City of Sydney, daily footfall in Sydney’s Martin Place is approximately 90,000 people. A short 300m walk from Martin Place is UNIQLO’s MidCity store.
To hijack these cold weather conversations and inject HEATTECH into the discussion 1000heads posed the question: How does it feel to #staywarm with HEATTECH? To answer, we created a ground-breaking digital OOH activation, delighting a chilly public by inviting them to experience some HEATTECH warmth.
The activation ran from 7am - 7pm on Friday 14 June and involved the following...
A 5m tall HEATTECH t-shirt was built and displayed in Martin Place - a massive structure to capture attention. A walk-through tunnel (2.3m high x 1m wide) inside the t-shirt housed powerful heaters with glowing red LED lights across the top and sides. UNIQLO staff wearing HEATTECH clothing encouraged people to walk through the activation to enjoy the warmth. A large plasma screen atop the back of the t-shirt played a pre-recorded video on loop, highlighting HEATHTECH’s features and benefits. The clothing line was also showcased in a pop-up display next to the activation.
Entering the activation one at a time, people pushed a button to activate a FLIR (Forward-Looking Infrared) camera, which highlighted their own body’s hot and cold spots on a suspended screen. FLIR cameras are typically used by firefighters, security and military and civilian aircraft - they sense infrared radiation and register different temperature levels, converting them into a film or video image. FLIR systems show the world in infrared, helping to demonstrate how important heat retention is on a cold day. 1000heads harnessed this technology, allowing fans to take their own thermal selfie, which printed out to take home. The UNIQLO-branded picture imitated the much-loved and endlessly shareable Polaroid look and feel.
Unique to each thermal selfie was a redemption code inviting customers to collect their free HEATTECH item (valued at $19.90) at the nearby UNIQLO MidCity store. The activation took place merely minutes’ walk from the store, meaning 1000heads were confidently able to direct traffic to this convenient retail location.
This cutting-edge concept encouraged three actions: Firstly consumers engaged with the #staywarm activation (and therefore UNIQLO) by walking through the t-shirt and taking their thermal selfie. Secondly, the unique winter concept spurred sharing of the experience online, with the hashtags #UNIQLO, #HEATTECH and #staywarm. Thirdly, people were driven into store to redeem a free item of their choice. This third interaction not only encouraged HEATTECH trial, it boosted in-store traffic and drove a large spike in sales. The $19.90 voucher value was high enough to be appreciated by consumers, but low enough to encourage and warrant additional spending once in-store.
The activation was a big success and the impact for UNIQLO was significant. Word of mouth across Sydney was exceptionally positive - everyone was talking about that HEATTECH activation!
By 7am a queue of 700 people had formed, with the line at 300-500 all day. In total 1,785 people walked through the activation, with 1,655 voucher redemptions - a staggering 93% redemption rate.
On the day, in-store footfall increased enormously at the MidCity store. The overall HEATTECH category also saw a 20% increase in sales on the previous year.
Customers shared their thermal selfies across social media, thanking UNIQLO for their free HEATTECH. Organic social media levels rose and sentiment was high - the activation generated positive brand sentiment in just under 9 in 10 mentions (89%).
Media coverage also stirred up conversation online: Concrete Playground, Broadsheet Sydney, KIIS 106.5, Brag Magazine, WSFM 101.7, Eat Drink Play, The Beast, Fashion Journal and other outlets posted about the event across their websites, eDM and social channels.
Australian HEATTECH mentions quadrupled across Twitter, blogs, forums, Tumblr, Instagram, Weibo, news and Facebook, and brand exposure rose tenfold versus pre-activation. Total impressions across all media was approximately 6 million, garnering over 50,000 engagements.
1000heads are thrilled with the success we achieved in ensuring UNIQLO was the destination for ‘Winter Warmth’. The #Staywarm with HEATTECH event drove trial, stimulated intent to purchase, and provided shareable content whilst remaining true to the brand’s values - win, win, win!
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