Press days during Covid-19 at UPR Amsterdam

Press days during Covid-19 at UPR Amsterdam

How UPR organized their press week while social distancing

How UPR organized their press week while social distancing

For 20 years now we have organized press days to launch the new season. This 40th edition, for the Fall/Winter 2020 collections, was in the middle of the global pandemic. Many questions came up following recent events: How to organize a press day while social distancing? Which governmental restrictions apply in this particular case? What can we do and what shouldn’t we do? How about appropriate timing? And most importantly: what do the press and stylists feel comfortable with? We ended up not organising a press day, but a press week halfway May. Editors, stylists and relations could opt for either a digital or a physical appointment. In this article we will tell you how we and why we decided to go for this solution.

Local regulations, global clients

No need to explain that for us, the most important thing was to respect governmental restrictions. And to assure the safety of our colleagues, clients and partners, we respectfully handle our gatherings whilst social distancing. Since we mostly represent international clients, and regulations have been different in each country we chose to send Covid-19 updates on a weekly basis to keep our clients informed about the current situation.. As a Benelux agency we even came across the many differences in regulations between two neighbouring countries. In the Netherlands the government chose a so-called ‘Intelligent Lockdown’, which meant that by the end of April we got the news that gradually, at a slow pace, measures would decrease. For example, primary schools were going to be open from the 11th of May. Also, minors and top athletes could play sports together again. More importantly, work-related meetings were allowed to be continued with a maximum of 100 people, on the condition that 1.5 meters distance could be kept. Stores were never obliged to close down. We did see lots of stores closing in the first weeks, regardless, mainly because of health and safety concerns. Since the last half of April, however, more and more stores have been opening doors again.

Timing

We had planned our initial press day for the 16th of April, however when Covid-19 started in the Netherlands, we soon realized that this was not going to be an option. Right from the start, we kept in close touch with all kinds of media so we found out how we could continue supporting and informing them. At the end of April, when the government decided to loosen regulations, we noticed the media were slowly but surely wrapping up the summer season. Everyone gradually started to prepare for the Fall/Winter 2020 season. For us, this was the sign to set up our press meetings.

Private tours

Editors and stylists told us that there was a need for physical visits. This makes sense, as they generally prefer to see the products to get inspiration for the new season. To ensure safety, we made a very strict schedule, assuring that at no stage more than three people would be invited into the showroom at once.  We made a schedule for people to arrive every 30 minutes, so they wouldn’t cross one another either.. The appointments took about 1.5 hours to make sure all brands get maximum exposure regardless of the situation. On arrival, press received a bottle of water and HEMA hand sanitizer as a gift. Snacks were served pre-packed. The press rotated from consultant to consultant, which allowed each consultant to tell their own story about their brands. The focus for this press day were magazines and newspapers. For digital media and influencers we will organize a separate moment. In total we had 44 appointments spread over 6 days.

Digital meetings

For some editors, the need to physically see the collection is less important. To make sure there was a possibility to get acquainted with the new FW20 collections, we organized online meetings. We prepared a Digital UPR Lookbook including all  highlights of the brands we represent. We used this booklet as a baseline for the online conversations we had with press relations. In total we had 8 digital meetings. The lookbook was also shared with the press after all digital and physical meetings had been done..

Social campaign

During the Digital FW20 Press Week we created a social campaign on our Instagram account, @uprnetherlands. The social team created video and photo content by highlighting FW20 eye catchers and trends of the Fall/Winter 2020 collections with overview and detailed photos, videos and GIFs.
Every day during the Press Week a fashion consultant was given the stage to present his or her brands. We posted a total of 82 Instagram stories over 5 days with a minimum of 10 stories per day. We achieved a social reach of at least 40,000. At the end of the week, we received 42 DMs as a result of the stories during the press week.

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