The Couture fashion website claimed its bloggers were “banned” from using Lenovo tablets at the Melbourne Fashion Festival yesterday because Samsung is a sponsor. The Festival disputes the claims.
The fashion website used the tablets as part of an activation that followed bloggers attending the festival, an activation supported by tech brand Lenovo, which was not a sponsor of the event. The Festival is sponsored by Samsung.
Mumbrella understands that the dispute erupted yesterday when bloggers Jess and Stef Dadon from How two live attended the National Graduate Showcase for activation.
The duo are ambassadors for the showcase, which they also covered on behalf of Couture. As ambassadors, Mumbrella understands that the organizers offered the pair of Samsung devices and asked not to be filmed using a rival tablet in the images on the website.
Lisa Teh, editor-in-chief of Couturing.com, told Mumbrella: âWe have been more than transparent with the festival organizers to work with them on this activation. We had many meetings to make sure we were working together.
âThe PR knew we were coming last night to film and with whom and we had various verbal and email correspondence with them about the activation on Wednesday this week, and the issue of our inability to film the girls with the tablet. last night. was not brought up once, âTeh said.
âSeeing that they were waiting to tell us when we had shot half of the segment and push our film crew back before the track was extremely disappointing. “
Couturing.com then tweeted that they had been “banned” from using the device, with the tweet having been retweeted more than 200 times since.
– Couture (@couture) March 19, 2015
A major challenge for sponsored events is to avoid guerrilla marketing stunts where rival brands try to establish themselves without paying the organizers.
A statement from VAMFF denied that bloggers or the media had been banned and that reports of some banned products were also false:
âThe Festival can confirm that no blogger or accredited media has been banned or has had their accreditation revoked from attending events and reporting on shows.
âThe reports on the ban on the use of particular products at the event are incorrect.
âThe Festival has always been known for supporting the blogging community and the growth of the Web with a targeted digital strategy. “
Mumbrella understands that VAMFF was concerned about Couturing.com’s coverage of the event, as they believed the site’s editorial was using guerrilla marketing techniques to embed the Lenovo brand in the Samsung-sponsored event.
âWe cannot assume that this would not have happened if they had not been ambassadors. They tried to block us yesterday on misunderstood terms and conditions (which we had our lawyer review, who said we were not in breach). Yesterday was just their new tactic to block that activation, âTeh said in an email to Mumbrella.
Couture.com argued that the “ban” was the result of its campaign being more “successful than Samsung’s campaign.”
âOur Lenovo-backed campaign was more successful than Samsung’s, which is why Samsung ran into problems. Samsung initially promoted the hashtag #VAMFF a few days earlier in the week, then stopped when the noise from our social networks eclipsed theirs, âTeh said.
âAccording to our reports, Lenovo’s brand mentions on the #VAMFF hashtag were 5.3 times higher than Samsung’s. We can certainly understand why we have received so much reluctance, our stories make too much noise. “
Emma Lo Russo, CEO of Digivizer, Lenovo ANZ’s social web analytics company, told Mumbrella in a statement: Being too successful. No other brand has been treated in the same way.
âIt seems a shame that the great job that Couture and her team of bloggers have done to shine a light on what’s wonderful about Australian fashion is now at the center of a social teacup storm. Let’s not forget that people choose their media sources, brands and content. Anyone who thinks otherwise is surely misguided.
Couture.com had filmed bloggers attending the festival and edited the content overnight before posting it online the next morning.
âAt the end of the day, we’re all here to do the same thing, to promote the creators. It’s just a shame that they stopped us from doing it last night when we are one of the sites that gave the most coverage to the festival and our activation created a much needed buzz and hype for the festival. Said Teh.