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Special Project

Special Project
From the 8th Annual Shorty Awards

How HSN Took 1 Million+ People to the Serena Williams NYFW Show

Finalist in Influencer & Celebrity Campaign, Retail & E-Commerce


When it came time to debut Serena Williams' fall collection, we wanted to deliver an interactive and simply unforgettable retail experience to our customer where she is most comfortable, be it at home sipping wine or sitting in a café browsing her tablet. That is what HSN is all about. We pioneered Boundaryless Retail™ – a frictionless experience that gives consumers the power to browse, buy and have fun with HSN anywhere – and with Serena's new line we wanted to take that concept to a new level. We wanted to put our customer front row at New York Fashion Week, rubbing elbows with Anna Wintour. We wanted her to get up close to the stars on the red carpet and show her the flash bulbs popping backstage, stealing a glimpse of Serena and her inner circle. We wanted her to feel in-the-know and included in a world that can be intimidating, and at the end of the day we wanted her to feel empowered to make a purchase, direct from the runway, that would make her feel current and relevant. Our goal: To bring the sizzle and excitement of the NYFW runway to every HSN customer.

Strategy and Execution

The key to our strategy was content. To achieve our goal we delivered exclusive, real-time content to our consumer on multiple platforms, each of which offered a different, complimentary experience. The variety of platforms allowed our consumer to take part in the experience in a way that felt relatable to her, and when content from multiple platforms was viewed, it created a richer, more nuanced experience.

The heart of our strategy was a digital live stream of the show on and a robust, interactive experience that allowed fans to do more than simply watch. While they saw Serena's models strutting down the runway they could purchase the product in real time, without ever leaving the page.

Just beneath the product carousel, a mosaic of social content from HSN and others at the event provided in-the-moment updates. Consumers could engage with the posts right from the page and share their own take on the show via Twitter, without ever leaving the experience. The on-page social mosaic truly brought the event to life – it was carefully moderated to first show the event space under preparation, then posts from the red carpet, followed by tweets and images from the actual show, and finally posts from backstage following the event.

Off the show came to life and reached beyond HSN customers with a robust social activation. We partnered with Twitter to maximize our social reach by leveraging the Twitter Mirror. Stars from the red carpet, including Gigi Hadid, Robin Roberts and Serena herself captured selfies with the Twitter Mirror emblazoned with the hashtag #SerenaOnHSN and HSN tweeted them, engaging fans of these celebrities while garnering reach for the branded hashtag. To keep the momentum and chatter going, HSN broadcast via Periscope just minutes before the show from backstage, and immediately after the show, providing an exclusive, intimate look at the event. Followers were able to see the controlled chaos that takes place before a runway show starts and after the show they saw press, models, celebrities and Serena's nearest and dearest mingling backstage and congratulating the star.

On Facebook we also delivered real-time social content by sharing Serena's Facebook Live broadcast, which mirrored our pre-show Periscope. This was especially valuable as our core customer prefers Facebook and does not often experiment with emerging platforms such as Periscope. Sharing this live content on our customers' platform of choice allowed her to take part in the immersive live streaming experience in a place where she felt comfortable, reinforcing her trust in HSN. We also delivered an album from the show on Facebook that a customer could browse at her leisure.

Twitter and Instagram were bursting with social chatter and images from the show and we kept this audience engaged following the event with a social UGC contest. Fans shared images of themselves in their own "sporty chic Serena style" and the best of the best won custom couture clothing worn in Serena's show, but not available for public sale.


Our real-time content approach to launching Serena's new line was a major success. On the day of the event, sales of Serena's product exceeded our expectations, driving our overall performance as a business well above our plan. The digital experience page

nearly matched the attributed sales total for the entire month of August on that day alone. We wanted our customer to feel inspired and empowered to purchase, and she did.

We also made huge waves externally with more than 3 billion media impressions and 47.3 million impressions for #SerenaOnHSN. This impressive reach helped reinforce HSN not only as a fashion shopping destination, but also as a business that is pioneering new experiences in the digital retail space. The event delivered results that confirm consumers are craving a new retail experience, one that HSN makes its business to deliver.


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