Fast Fashion And Agility: An Exploration of Primark’s Successful Love Island Merchandise
Primark is a high-street-favourite store. Without having a website to purchase clothing from, it has made some daring moves during the Covid19 pandemic, risking potential revenue in not taking the punt and opening their own website. This was, of course, likely due to the nature of browsing in the store. It is not uncommon to happen upon memes on social media satirising the nature of shopping in this chain of stores. You often find yourself going into the shop with an item or two in mind, and find yourself leaving with a significantly larger volume of products in your bags. This is an experience many can relate to, around the country.
However, Primark have made risky decisions in the name of revenue in the past. One of these risks, which may not always come to mind when you discuss the nature of this company, is their capitalisation of Love Island. During two of the most popular seasons of the ITV show, Primark managed to produce products that would come to mind for many of the target audiences even years after that season had concluded. The two examples that come to mind personally from these aforementioned Love Island collections are the ‘I Used To Be In Blazin’ Squad’ black tee which was launched in 2017, and the ‘The Do Bits Society’ white tee which came out in 2018.
Outside of coming from the same store, and the same franchise, these shirts managed to make money based on a long-running-joke from each of the seasons. The nature of Love Island means that the British public becomes privy to the lives of these individuals and therefore finds their-selves in a situation where an inside joke among this group of friends is suddenly a meme for the population to use for their own entertainment, keeping the show relevant and a trending topic even when the programme wasn’t on.
Putting these long-running-jokes from the show on merchandise was a huge risk. A niche market of predominantly young adults seem to engage in this media, and such apparel is less likely to appeal to people outside of the show’s target audience in itself. Therefore, demonstrating Primark’s ability to be agile. These shirts were clearly not mass produced on a whim. They were likely pitched to focus groups, providing them feedback before coming back to them with a realised product. In an agile workplace, this process would be referred to as a scrum. Scrum is a term used to describe the practice of working in set intervals, also known as “sprints”, with the goal of quickly gathering information & feedback and implementing it into the work to quickly produce a finished product for the consumer.
The first shirt: the ‘I Used To Be In Blazin’ Squad’ black tee, was inspired by Marcel from the 2017 season of Love Island. Marcel went into the Love Island villa in Episode One, insisting he wasn’t going to tell all of his fellow islanders that he was once in the boyband, Blazin’ Squad, and inevitably became a running joke by presenter Ian Sterling, and the other Islanders, wondering how long it would take for Marcel to mention it to new arrivals. Considering that Marcel was in the villa from the get-go, theoretically, producing merchandise for such a joke would likely be considered a safe bet. However, one thing that needs to be considered is the longevity of the joke. After all, the 2017 season of Love Island only ran from 5th June 2017 – 24th July 2017; meaning that there was very little time to prepare for such a product. This was a quick turnaround, that could have potentially lost Primark a lot of money, and yet, it was a success.
The same can equally be said for the second shirt, which was inspired by Wes and a few of his fellow islanders discussing what had been occurring in the villa’s communal bedroom between the couples. A group was then formed, called The Do Bits Society, shortened to DBS, which became synonymous with that particular season. Did Primark know it was going to be such an iconic aspect of that season? How could they? Especially since this season only ran from 4th June – 30th July! Once again, the gamble of a fast fashion brand has paid off in their favour!
Primark’s ability to scrum in such a manner, and produce successful products cannot be overlooked. Even, if it was merely a departmental practice. Their ability to do this, especially considering the fact their company is a household name, and significantly large, means that corporations which are large in nature also have the ability to implement such practices to improve their own efficiency, and take well-measured punts.
Based in London, U.K., and founded in 2016 by Arvind Mishra The Agile Works (www.TheAgileWorks.com), is an up-and-coming recruitment and Agile consulting company. Arvind is a Certified SAFe SPC and regularly delivers both private and public SAFe certification workshops.
He is a design thinking expert, Sr. enterprise, portfolio Agile Coach with over a decade of experience working as an Agile coach in diverse industries such as banking, pharma, retail, auto, oil, gas, consulting and government.
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