I’ve dealt a lot with questions on website navigation the last couple of months, and one of the sites I always come back to is the Swedish site Halens. Halens is a VERY old mail order firm, and their direct mail marketing has always amused me. They use personalization a lot, they print “hand written” messages on the mailing, there is a lot of “order within 7 days and get a…” – you get the picture.
A couple of years ago I was mostly amazed that they were still in business since the clothes in fact, were pretty ugly and a long way from fashionable. But then something happened. Although they didn’t get rid of the outdated clothes, they started stocking trendy clothes as well, and they’ve kept getting better at it. (I recently attended a black tie wedding in a dress from Halens)
Today, I was buying a magazine and found a new one called Bubbleroom Magazine. Since I tend to pay attention to marketing, I figured this was a nice marketing stunt from the semi-new shopping site Bubbleroom. And of course, it was – and that in itself amazed me – starting a website that transfers into a paper magazine, instead of the other way around… these times are F-U-N! I gladly PAYED 10 SEK (just over 1 USD) for their marketing! (Btw, the magazine had the same standard as most Swedish fashion magazines)
So, for the first time I gave Bubbleroom a couple of minutes of my time and my findings were:
1) Some clothes were EXTREMELY cheap! Surprisingly cheap, like if it was a new H&M site (and I knew it wasn’t)
2) They sold a brand called Brooker – I knew Halens sells a “brand” with the same name
3) The cheap clothes were branded Bubbleroom/H – very intriguing!
There just had to be a connection between Halens and Bubbleroom – even if Bubbleroom is trying to be hip and Halens will always have the air of uncool surrounding it…
A quick google led me to the blog of Jonas A Eriksson were he clearly stated that my observations were true.
In fact, Halens actually OWNS Bubbleroom!
The marketing people at Halens are freaking geniuses!! They kicked ass in the time of direct mail, they’ve for years kicked ass in building an e-commerce site and they are yet again kicking ass by testing out new ideas, and finding new (or at least uncommon) paths of marketing.
Of course, the jury is still out on Bubbleroom – but kudos for trying, Halens! This is a seriously good attempt to stay clear of the “grandma’s shopping site” feel of Halens to be able to become the “young, hip fashion community” with Bubbleroom. Personally, I hope you make it!