While admiring this season's finest fashion ad campaigns, I Carrie Bradshaw-ly got to thinking - do we still need these?!
I get unusually excited about a new season of glossy campaigns, I always have. Growing up when my mum would have a tall stack of magazines on the pew we had in our kitchen/dining room, I'd usually steal the thick tome-like monthly mags before she got a look in. Bemused, she'd look at me and say "I don't why you like them so much, they're all adverts!" which, to bemuse her even further, was exactly why I liked them so much!
We had a couple of heated debates in my later teens when I'd spend what little money I had on issues of Vogue, ELLE, i-D, Dazed & Confused, LOVE, Another, Interview, W, Vanity Fair and many, many, many, many more. I regret nothing, but looking back, she had a point. With the money I spent on magazines between the ages of 14 and 22 I could have probably bought a house, or better yet, a dog. This was a pre-Instagram world you guys, go easy on me.
Ad campaigns. I just love them. They set a scene, an aesthetic, a mood. They're like a seasonal business card, an opportunity for brands to say "This is who we are, this is what we do, and this is how we want to look", and of course, subliminally we all think "If I buy those things, I'll look like that too!". Silly us.
A long-time admirer of ad campaigns, I really started to love them in my early teens when I'd pretty much cover my MySpace profile in the latest Dolce & Gabbana campaign shots. While we're on that topic, Dolce & Gabbana, far from being my favourite clothes, have always been my favourite campaigns. The imagery of the past ten to twelve years has been breath-taking. Vast, resplendent group shots, full of movement, energy and vitality. I am a proud film buff and these campaigns always seemed so cinematic to me, like stills from a bygone or yet-to-be era of Hollywood. The clothes, the models, the sets and locations, there's just a completely unapologetic theatricality to their campaigns that I adore.
|Dolce & Gabbana A/W 2007|
|Dolce & Gabbana S/S 2008|
|Dolce & Gabbana A/W 2008|
|Dolce & Gabbana A/W 2008|
In this day and age, people often argue if ad campaigns are still relevant, still necessary. I know from working in PR, that there's always a question of where PR ends and Advertising begins and which one is more important. Not only that, but which one comes first, like a "chicken or the egg?" situation, but with prosecco.
Perhaps ad campaigns aren't as relevant as they once were (brands can seemingly post a few photos on Instagram or hold a lavish fashion week show and still shift units) but it's becoming increasingly apparent that although ads are still relevant, they can't be solely relied upon. As with everything else in the world there needs to be more - a show, a celebrity face or brand ambassador, some blogger engagement, a fashion film even. The means of promoting a brand and its products have evolved, there are more (not to mention cheaper) ways now than ever to do it, so why not branch out from a few DPSs in Vogue?
That being said, ad campaigns are still a vital marketing tool and are occasionally met with the same anticipation as the runway shows - particularly if a celebrity is on board. Brands tap into the popularity of a celebrity not to mention their "likability", in hopes of aligning themselves with said celeb. With this, brands build huge excitement for their campaigns, we want to see the celeb we love in brand new stunning clothes we can't afford, and suitably photoshopped if you please. After all, campaigns are selling a fantasy, not a reality. Take Dior and Jennifer Lawrence for example. Without question the most likeable and down to Earth actress at her level, partnering with one of the most prestigious and legendary brands on the face of the Earth, a match made in media heaven right?
Some pairings or marketing tactics can be a little confusing however. Take Caroline Herrera premiering their lookbook on Snapchat. The average age of a Snapchat user is what, fifteen? Sixteen? What teenager is out there shopping at Herrera?! I mean really! It's important for brands to find the balance between jumping on what's cool and popular, without compromising their own brand identity or doing things that are so far removed from their existing audience.
This season, is notably not as awash with celebrity faces as previous seasons have been (though there are still more campaigns to come I should add). Still riding high from his 2015 Oscar win, Eddie Redmayne fronts Prada's menswear campaign (with the womenswear campaign taking a distinctly different route) just in time for the promotion of his leading role in Harry Potter spin-off Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them - fancy that! A$AP Rocky stars in Dior Homme's campaign (with an accompanying film) while the season's most welcome surprise comes in form of heavy metal band Metallica fronting Brioni's Autumn/Winter 2016 campaign.
Another welcome surprise worth mentioning is Coach, who've massively upped their game this year. Their new strategy to position themselves as a younger, more urban brand is slowly but surely translating into their visuals. Playing on its New York roots, it could potentially achieve "signature New York brand" status around the world now that the future of DKNY is seemingly uncertain.
Take a look at some of this season's best campaign shots - which is your favourite?
Though this is a continuation of their "I ____ in #mycalvins" campaign, it gets a special mention for starring one of my favourite people ever, Grace Coddington.
Dolce & Gabbana