Allen Solly surprises with 'Humannequins' in malls and streets

By Surina Sayal , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Advertising | October 21, 2009
The brand uses a fairly new concept of live models freezing to pose as mannequins to show off the new apparel line

Clothing brand Allen Solly recently launched a new casual chic line of apparel and also devised a new campaign and tagline, 'I Hate Ugly'.

It has now bolstered its communication mix with a novel concept. Using the idea of flash mobs, the brand played out a 'freeze act' with the help of live models decked in the latest Allen Solly attire, in malls and high streets across the country.

& #BANNER1 & #Girls and boys attired in smart casual wear walk into malls or high streets and sit or hold a certain pose for up to seven minutes, becoming real live 'Humannequins', which comes from blending the words 'human' and 'mannequins'.

While Humannequins as a concept has been used abroad extensively, with people in window displays sitting on furniture, beds and with other products, the idea has not been frequently exploited in India.

Passersby were surprised when they saw these Allen Solly Humannequins and stopped to look at them, take photographs of and with them on their mobile phones, while some even ventured to touch them to check if they were real.

An announcement told the crowd to take a closer look at Allen Solly's latest act, as it stood still right next to them. Passersby also gathered that this was an Allen Solly activity as some of the models were carrying Allen Solly branded bags - as if they had just shopped from there.

The models held different poses such as talking to each other, showing off their new clothes to friends, applying makeup and proposing to a girl.

All the malls and locations where the activity was carried out house Allen Solly stores. Malls in National Capital Region, such as The Great India Place, Select Citywalk Saket and Bengaluru's Garuda Mall saw the activation, while Delhi's South Ex was one of the high streets where the initiative took place. Permissions were also taken from the malls to perform such activities.

The performance was repeated a number of times during peak weekend shopping traffic in Bengaluru and Delhi.

While in Bengaluru about 50-75 models were dressed to act as Humannequins at a time, the Delhi activity saw a group of about 100 models at a time, garnering a lot of attention.

Discussing the activity, R Satyajit, chief operating officer, Allen Solly, says, "This was an idea whose time had come. Keeping with our tradition of being radical in whatever we do, the task was to create buzz and excitement in a way that people remembered the event - long after it was over. This is also possibly the first time that models and consumers are in such close proximity during a live event, bringing the merchandise so close to them."

The activity was devised and executed by Tequila India, TBWA's marketing services arm that offers solutions in retail, activation, digital and brand design, spanning all aspects of below-the-line consumer engagement.

John Mathew, managing director, Tequila India, says, "We at Tequila have always used disruptive communication. While the idea of flash mobs itself is not very new, we gave it a new twist by freezing the participants in the merchandise. It was a surprise fashion show, where the ramp happened to be the mall or the street - pretty much amongst the shoppers."

Vinod Vijaykumar, senior general manager, south and west, Tequila India adds that the idea was to show off the new line, which is casual in nature as Allen Solly was usually known for Friday Dressing.

He shares that the plan is to execute the Humannequin activity across three-four cities and after completing the Delhi-Bengaluru activity before Diwali, it will now be taken to other cities.