To start with, I interned at Ogilvy and Mather, Bangalore, India and this is what inspired me to write a blog on what my views on fashion advertising are. The internship was an amazing experience and I was exposed to many new worlds of advertising.
If fashion was a person, most would believe it to be intimidating, shallow and not philosophically mature. Sadly, this is the image. Fashion advertising does not have to be deep or political or even right. What we need to establish is a middle route.
What fashion advertisement needs is more concept advertisements. (Allen Solly by Ogilvy, Bangalore is a nice example actually!). The concept it needs to create a mood, a person who you can relate to, see yourself as or want to be. Thus, making you want to dress the same. Or like Diesel’s Be stupid campaign, a cult can be started. A movement, a thought, a culture that you can only feel part of if you are a consumer of that brand. Any communication form including advertisements can be most successful if they can evoke emotions of any sort. Emotion is what registers in the memory.
Allen Solly Ads by Ogilvy and Mather
'I hate Ugly' - Campaign by Ogilvy for Allen Solly
Research is important. As I was studying the past print and TVC ads in the fashion industry that have been launched in the recent years, I realised that middle route is missing. The ads were either all about luxury, sex, opulence etc only provoking greed and aspirational desires. Fashion is a lot more realistic than this. Its the thought you carry in your outfits. Its the originality or the inborn instincts. Its personality. Sometimes its not all you. A little bit of mannequin dressing, a little bit of friends influence, a pinch of that pretty girl or that cool dude. Fashion is the materialistic part of the different roles we play in our lives. The charming CEO of a company, the cocktail party animal, the coffee shop best friend, the mysterious girlfriend, the play hard to get boyfriend.
Of course, this has been achieved by many fashion brands, but there is no stability in it. At one point they do a beautiful concept Ad and the next one is as materialistic and is as in your face as it can get, where it is nothing more than the product and a really good-looking model with it (or in it)! But I guess as long as you find yourself drooling over it and have the urge to reach into your pocket and buy it as soon as possible, its a success. The problem with such ads is that there are now so many brands with so many worth-drooling-over products that the advertisement would never register. Take Vogue magazine for example. While your flipping through the ad filled pages, when do you actually stop at a page for a slightly longer period? If all the ads have a model lying on a opulent couch with really good shoes, you would either drool over all of them and end up being broke over every design you bought or you would not really notice any of them. How does an Ad stand out? By it’s concept is strong along with brilliant execution. If an Ad can make you think. If it can have the most odd elements in it and still come across as appealing. All this speaks more about the brand, making you notice it and remember it for being out of the ordinary. Fashion Ads need to capture this uniqueness and translate it. It needs to be crazy and beautiful. It needs to have the necessary and the unnecessary. It needs to show thought, not just materialism and greed and luxury. Or if that is what the brand identifies itself with, it needs to do it in a manipulative way. It needs to convert the ‘want’ into a ‘need’, when in reality it is only a want.
Advertising is an industry that will never run out of scope or opportunity in the future. It will only grow! (Unless it reaches a saturation point or something.) As long as any kind of business exists, advertising will exist to promote it. Fashion Advertising, especially for luxury brands is the work of the devil. All it needs is an angel’s disguise!