Two British sisters created an Instagram account for a coat. But it’s not just any coat, it’s THE coat.  Alice and Emily Bray have been collecting pictures of a ZARA coat which turned out to be this season’s must-have on their account ThatCoat. The Spanish fashion label ZARA is known for creating at least one trend each year which made you feel as if you were spotting a particular piece of clothing or an accessory everywhere. This is what happened with the coat. After noticing how everyone was wearing “that coat” the two sisters created the account.

Women of all ages have been spotted wearing the blue and white patterned ZARA coat, combining it in lots of different ways. When they first started publishing pictures on the account, Alice and Emily wanted to document how often they spotted the coat – all for “their own personal amusement”, Emily stated on Alice’s personal blog. This is why they started taking pictures of women, wearing the coat, in all daily activities: while they were shopping, in the subway, on their way to work. Once they asked the community to share their own pictures, the Instagram account became a viral hit. By now, the account has published over 200 pictures and has gained over 6900 followers. 3100 pictures were posted, using the hashtag #thatcoat. Different media have reported on ThatCoat but ZARA has not released a statement yet.

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Emily, who works for an advertising agency herself, and her spontaneous project have once again proved how powerful Instagram is. People have shared pictures of the coat from all over the world and 6700 followers are quite a large amount for a coat. And this exactly contains Instagram’s potential: the community behind the photosharing-app can make seemingly random and basic objects or subjects go viral. Even though Instagram users are spread around the whole globe, they are connected through their shared topic or product. They allow Instagram to connect them and consciously connect with others. Topics or trends that are developed offline, like a new coat, can go viral through the use of Instagram.

The winner of this example is clearly the brand ZARA: the coat is sold out and they have started an e-mail list so customers can be alerted when the coat is back in stock. ZARA received authentic and witty marketing without any effort. Of course, not every product is going to gain that much viral attention on Instagram. But brands can learn quite a lot from this campaign: user-generated content appears authentic and allows the development of individual and diverse advertising campaigns. Brands can easily gain attention for new trending products if they call on their customers to publish their own pictures. Customers and users like to be heard. They want to share their own interpretation of a product or how they combine it with other items. Additionally, ThatCoat illustrates how strongly Instagram has established itself and how far-reaching the app’s potential is.