File under: "What took so long?" YouTube and commerce are intersecting in a novel way with the recent launch, at the end of September, of French Connection's "YouTique." The FCUK YouTube channel, now designed as "YouTube Boutique," makes clever use of YouTube's pop-up buttons by letting viewers buy items with just a few clicks.
Though the pop-ups traditionally only link to other YouTube videos, FCUK has made an arrangement with YouTube to allow certain buttons to lead directly to the FCUK site. After FCUK's stylist Louise Roe makes a case for buying a sequined top or a gold-tone pendant necklace, the video presents a model who stands and sways for several seconds wearing the outfit in question. Her different items of clothing become annotated with a "buy" button that the viewer can click to be taken directly to the FCUK page selling the item in question.
This is a simple trick, but potentially a powerful one. Video advertising is wonderfully effective at creating consumer lust in the moment of the video pitch—but that so often wanes as soon as the spot is over. By enabling the viewer to click and buy in the very moment of the sales pitch, FCUK could have powerful results. Since most of the videos are designed to answer basic questions someone might enter into a search engine—what should I wear to a wedding? what should I wear to go out?—the site is also optimized for search engines.
The site was created by the digital agency Poke. "As a combined client / agency team," writes Poke on its site, "we worked alongside YouTube to become the first brand in Europe to use out-linking annotations in video, providing contextual links to purchase product from the frenchconnection.com website without interrupting the user experience." According to New Media Age, FCUK is the first British band to experiment in this manner with YouTube's annotations, but apparently U.S. brands—including Toyota and Old Spice—have experimented with it before. We've reached out to YouTube, FCUK, and Poke to learn more about how this deal was made and what it might mean for the future of brands on YouTube, and we'll update when we hear back.