Fashion Ads in the Digital Age
Advertisements that don't make me want to turn off my device
Ads are trying far too hard to cross into the boundaries of filmmaking when selling the most inane products. The other day I saw a full on musical number for mosquito spray, I was inclined to just be bitten by the darn things rather than buy the product. Anything would be better than having flashbacks to a bad rendition of music from Grease. Whenever I am forced to look at ads - whether it's on YouTube, the television, or a bus wrap - most of the time I just block it out. Like most people I've become pretty good at it too. However, as the title of this article would suggest, certain types of ads place the product around the art, not the art around the product. I believe an industry that has been doing this particularly well is fashion.
This occurred to me when YouTube recommended me a music video. The French actress Marion Cotillard released a song called Enter the Game published by i-D, the fashion branch of VICE. It was only until I watched it the second time that I realised it was an ad for Dior. The video opens with a long shot of what could be a house in a Miley Cyrus video and zooms in to Cotillard lounging by the poolside. A ukulele begins to strum and so far it isn't too far out of the realm, sonically and visually, of an indie pop music video. The camera lingers on the bag she sits with but it doesn't take up our attention. Straight away the focus is on her and her bird-like vocals placed above the product. The product has taken a back seat and immediately you can tell that love has been put into the music and the filming. This isn't in the ugly subliminal way that Fight Club does it. The film's key product placement features a notoriously capitalist soda in an adaption of a famously anti-consumerist novel. That really strips back the textual integrity of the work. In contrast, this video is a celebration of beauty and Dior knows it's place within it.
Marion Cotillard's 'Enter the Game'
You can appreciate the song as if its saying, "yes, you can buy the handbag, or not. Just stay and enjoy the music." No one wants to be preached at and if companies would realise this I am sure that advertising wouldn't be such a dirty word.
If this were to become the trend in advertising, perhaps companies would waste less time fitting classic lyrics around bug spray and more on original songs and pieces of art. The internet is the gate keeper for this and while some brands and publishers, like the above, are beginning to do this others are sticking with the campaign formulas of the 2000s. I for one would love to see encouragement of art in more aspects of society and this is a way to do it.