How would you make branded noise without making any ‘noise’?
We might need to ask Selfridges, the high end department store chain in UK (which has been voted Best Department Store in the World in the Global Department Store Summit, Paris 2012).
As part of their recent drive called No Noise – Selfridges embarked on a bold new initiative to offer a unique experience to its shoppers that is de-cluttered, de-branded and ‘de-noiseified’.
1. De-cluttered: By featuring fashion/apparels/beauty products that are a ‘carefully curated edit’ of minimalist design from brands like Jil Sander, Uniform Wares etc.
2. De-branded: By featuring flagship products from brands like Heinz, Levi’s, Beats by Dre, Marmite, Crème de la Mer & Clinique that are (surprise..surprise..!) stripped off their logos. As it says on the website
“Some of the world’s most recognizable brands have taken the symbolic step of removing their logos in our exclusive collection of de-branded products.”
3. De-Noise -ified: by getting equipped with Headspace pods and a re-instated ‘Silence Room’ – dedicated oasis of silence and contemplation amidst the usual frenzy of brands and bargains where shoppers can get access to guided meditation modules and an ambiance to help calm busy heads.
This is how they explain the No Noise initiative on their website:
As we become increasingly bombarded with information and stimulation, the world is becoming a noisier place. In an initiative that goes beyond retail, we invite you to celebrate the power of quiet, see the beauty in function and find calm among the crowds.
A couple of thoughts on No Noise:
- The initiative sounds like a very unique (and a first of its kind?) anti-retail concept by a retail brand
- Sounds like the high street fashion’s foray into the space of low-fi living – the recent lifestyle trend that is picking steam where less is said to be more
- And obviously, contrary to the stated purpose, these products with stripped off logos end up creating buzz and making the greatest magnitude of noise. For, after all, any partially fleshed out visual element that only leaves out the name and yet succeeds in making the shopper recognize its identity in no uncertain terms is a clever way to trigger imagination, engage attention, and reinforce the shoppers’ memory structures about the brand’s visual identity.
- Finally and more importantly it is clearly a self bragging loud statement by these brands on the iconic status of their visual identity elements so much so that these ‘unbranded’ products are being offered as exclusive collector’s items (Selfridges has even debranded its own bag).
To sum it up, as Tim Nudd aptly notes in AdWeek:
Throw in all the communications surrounding “No Noise,” and it seems the company is making more noise than ever this year.
Talk about the next level of sophistication in making noise without making noise.