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Portas inspires ad industry to reimagine

"Nothing is dead if there is the possibility to reimagine it; reimagine it in the context of today," proclaimed the indefatigable retail expert Mary Portas at today's IPA Eff Fest conference (15th October 2013). Speaking to the ad industry audience, Portas hit home the power of creativity in transforming businesses and, crucially, their bottom line, drawing on examples from her creative-lead career.


Says Portas: "One of the things that really gets my back up in people is a failure of imagination and creativity." It is this focus on creativity and imagination - implanting it across all touchpoints, alongside the need to inspire, excite, and surprise consumers and to give them a vision and an enjoyable experience, Portas explained, that has helped her to transform the fortunes of leading British brands and establishments.

These include Harvey Nichols, UK manufacturing, UK charity shops, and shopping malls, in addition to her work on reviving the British high street, something she emphatically believes has a future.

A few examples highlighted by Portas during her presentation included:

- Having decided to reimagine the flagging Harvey Nichols as an art gallery, Portas painted the facade and its mannequins white and sought out enthusiastic undiscovered artists at art schools to turn Harvey Nichols' windows into arresting art installations that attracted tour buses of admirers.

- To encourage retailers to sell their products within Harvey Nichols, Portas approached fashion school students 'the UK's future designers' to showcase their upcoming designs on the catwalk inside Harvey Nichols, which, coupled with the offer of free space on the shop floor, attracted an influx of leading high end women's fashion brands to set up stands in-store.

- To reinforce the message that Portas's Kinky Knickers were made in a factory in Britain, one that she had established to demonstrate that Britain can succeed in manufacturing, Portas had 'love your country' sewn into the crotch of each pair.

Portas was followed onto the stage in the first session of the day-long conference by Sam Bompas, Co-Founder, Bompas & Parr; Jude Kelly, Artistic Director, Southbank Centre; and Sandra Schembri, CEO, The House of St Barnabas who also revealed how creativity had driven their businesses..

Further highlights, including videos and photos from the day, will be available on the new IPA Effectiveness Hub:

Last updated 15/10/2013

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