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Fashion Brands Capitalising on Lockdown

By Connie Brannan

As we roll into the extended days of COVID-19 lockdown, the marketing focus of online fast fashion brands continue to use the pandemic as PR. The edits over the past three weeks of lockdown have been specifically catered to loungewear and through the use of Twitter many fast- fashion online brands such as PrettyLittleThing have been offering give-aways on contests to keep buyers occupied during these testing times. The question is, how ethical is cashing in on a COVID-19 ?

To those of us subscribed to a brands mailing list, which is most of us, we are getting at least one email per day, per brand promoting sales, special discounts and free delivery. The brand Nastygal ran the edit entitled ‘look on the bright side’ promoting pastel shades to brighten up a dark time. Boohoo ran the edit of ‘home huns’ and ASOS are running the edit ‘WFH Attire’ (working from home) promoting new clothes that cater for the masses of us that are sat at home. The bombardment of emails and promotions of social media platforms entrap us customers into filling our time scrolling through the sales and deals on offer. These edits and offers specifically catered to the current socioeconomic climate, with extended return times and ‘safer deliveries’, almost infer that there is a sense of protection and comfort in online shopping during such a testing time.

Whilst the main aim of these online brands is for their customers to buy clothes, these brands are also reaching out to spread positivity. PrettyLittleThing is running the ‘The stay inside guide’ as part of their beauty blogs and Missguided launched their ‘Working From Home: Missguided HQ Takeover’ last week. Within these blogs customers are obviously being promoted the brands’ stock, but also offered tips and tricks as to how to cope with the lock down as well as enforcing the idea of making yourself feel good by looking good. Whilst following these tips can lift some spirits, their main goal is promoting their brand and a constructed appearance which, in the opinion of these brands fashion blogs, means buying their clothes.

However, these brands are promoting their generosity particularly with give aways on twitter. The PrettyLittleThing online marketing team already have their weekly #wishlistwednesday give away, but since the lockdown has begun online brands have increased the rate in which they’re seen to be giving prizes to winners on social media. The brand OH Polly have been sending out tweets such as ‘Who would be part of your dream QuaranTEAM?, tag your besties that you wish you were in lockdown with’, rewarding the lucky participants with prizes. Although this seems to be in the good nature of rewarding precious customers, it also promotes the brand onto the participants and their tagged friend’s timelines, advertising OH Polly. As we all have extra time on our hands scrolling through social media and seeing more give aways from these brands, it is excellent free publicity them.

Amongst the free advertising, these brands are showing their admiration for key workers and NHS staff with ASOS promoting tagging a friend that is working hard to win ASOS vouchers and PrettyLittleThing giving away 100 sets of pyjamas to NHS workers. These actions from the brands as well as promoting hashtags such as #stayathomewithplt does give a positive persona that they are complying with government guidelines and supporting key workers. Whether they are or not behind the scenes is another question entirely.

Whilst these brands stay in touch with the plight of their shoppers offering sales, give-aways and free delivery enticements, the reality is that they are just cashing in on us all sat at home with little to do but online shop.

Links for tweets:

Pretty little thing – stay inside guide

Working From Home: Missguided HQ Takeover’-

Oh polly quarenteam dream tweet :

Asos tweet :

PrettyLittleThing tweet :

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