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Agent Provocateur to open two stores in Australia: Five marketing lessons from the raunchy lingerie brand

Engel Schmidl /

Agent Provocateur has announced plans to open two stores in Australia, in Melbourne and Sydney within David Jones.

”We’ve signed the contract, the shop fit-out has been designed and we are due to open in February,” Agent Provocateur’s chief executive Garry Hogarth told The Age.

Agent Provocateur is the latest in a long line of international brands setting up shop in Australia including Zara, TopShop and fellow lingerie brand Victoria’s Secret.

Despite not having any stores in the country, Australia is the fourth-largest online market in the world for Agent Provocateur, with its website receiving more than 20,000 visits a day.

The first Agent Provocateur store was launched in the red-light district of London almost two decades ago and the label has since been credited with turning on a new generation to racy underwear.

Here are five marketing lessons for your business from the team at Agent Provocateur.

1. Use your contacts

Agent Provocateur was founded by Joseph Corre, the son of Vivienne Westwood, and his former wife, Serena Rees, in London in 1994.

The high-powered couple’s social contacts ensured they swiftly gained a strong celebrity following and the lingerie has been worn by the likes of Kate Moss, Helena Christensen and Madonna.

2. Be controversial

When the first Agent Provocateur store opened with the aim of “stimulating, enchanting and arousing” wearers, it immediately whipped up a media frenzy in a Britain still prudish about sex.

As well as stocking lingerie, the brand also stocks saucy sex toys like riding whips and nipple tassels helping maintain its reputation for pushing the boundaries.

3. Do something different

Agent Provocateur is well known for using live window displays.

Instead of showing off its products on mannequins, the lingerie brand dresses models and gets them to stand in its windows for promotions and special events.

4. Don’t look to others

Agent Provocateur is known for not looking to any other fashion labels for inspiration, but instead working purely on what it considers will be liked by its customers, independent of trends.

The lingerie brand is able to do this because of its position as a retail brand. Unlike many other companies, which operate solely as a brand or a retailer, Agent Provocateur is in control of the whole process, from picking the fabrics through to product design, organising the manufacturing and ultimately selling.

5. Go viral

Getting an advertising campaign to go viral is easier said than done but put Kylie Minogue on a mechanical bull in some Agent Provocateur lingerie and it’s a bit of a no-brainer.

Agent Provocateur’s 2009 campaign starring the pop sensation gyrating on a mechanical bull garnered more than 30 million views and was voted the most successful cinema advertisement of all time in a poll by Digital Cinema Media.

 

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