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Editor's pick film technology

Prada looks at automated future in new sci-fi video series

Prada Nylon Farm
Prada Nylon Farm

Prada has released a ‘futuristic fairytale’ film series celebrating its nylon backpack first launched in 1984, by referencing a series of next generation technologies.

Nylon Farm, as the four-part project is called, features a flock of cyborg sheep, in a nod to Philip K Dick’s sci-fi novel, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

Alternate reality technology and an automated manufacturing system is at play to harvest the synthetic fleece, but the ideals of such artificial intelligence is seemingly disrupted by a level of human emotion that comes into the scene.

“It may all seem perfect, but something in this place has gone beyond the normal production processes. A series of strange anomalies have interrupted the regularity of the Farm and required the launch of an investigation. Will following protocol be enough in this story?” reads the write-up.

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While Vogue refers to it as an example of Miuccia Prada directing an episode of Charlie Brooker’s Black Mirror, the intention from Prada is to symbolize the brand’s technological innovation on the one hand, but also its ability to respect the brand’s history, on the other.

The nylon that has become a signature of the house was originally sourced from factories making parachutes for the military. It’s this quest for newness from Miuccia that is so referenced.

The four episodes were filmed at the brand’s industrial headquarters in Tuscany, the first one of which launched this weekend past. The following three will be released on June 1, 4 and 9 across the brand’s social media.

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Editor's pick film

Kate Spade returns with comical #MissAdventure holiday film starring Anna Faris and Rosie Perez

Kate Spade's latest #MissAdventure film: The Pit Stop
Kate Spade’s latest #MissAdventure film: The Pit Stop

Kate Spade New York is back with the latest episode in its ongoing Miss Adventure film series, this time presenting a comical tale about random friendships in the holiday season.

Hollywood stars Anna Faris and Rosie Perez both feature as sisters-in-law for the second time, hot on the heels of previous leading ladies including Miss Piggy, Anna Kendrick and Zosia Mamet.

In “The Pit Stop”, Faris is popping into New York institution Zabar’s to pick up of a holiday basket filled with goodies ahead of the holiday party they’re on their way to, when things quite rapidly go wrong. Faris end up pretending to be an employee, while Perez is left outside in the car trying not to get a ticket from the parking attendant.


“This #missadventure episode is about connection. It’s about pausing in the chaos of life to notice the person in front of you — even if they’re a stranger or your circumstances put you fundamentally at odds—to find warmth and generosity towards them,” Kate Spade New York’s SVP of brand creative, Kristen Naiman, told Vanity Fair.

“There are people who come into your day and something about them sparkles a little, and that suddenly makes you perk up and sparkle too. It’s a kind of intrigue, but not necessarily a romantic one, that makes your day a little bit better and a little more fun.

The brand’s collection features front and centre, highlighting everything from earmuffs to owl clutches and even a caviar-themed purse, not to mention the looks the duo are wearing themselves. The film is shoppable on the brand’s website.

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Editor's pick film

Kate Spade’s #MissAdventure holiday campaign stars Miss Piggy and Zosia Mamet

Kate Spade's latest #MissAdventure campaign, starring Zosia Mamet and Miss Piggy
Kate Spade’s latest #MissAdventure campaign, starring Zosia Mamet and Miss Piggy

Actress Zosia Mamet returns to Kate Spade New York’s #MissAdventure campaign series, this time accompanied by her friend Miss Piggy for the holiday season.

The duo appears in an elevator together at the Empire State Building on their way to a festive party. In dreaded holiday style, a faux pas lies in the fact they’re wearing the same outfit. Cue a flurry of bickering and amusing comebacks to one another around who wears what better. There’s even a cameo appearance from Lendra Medine of Man Repeller.

“Our story for holiday is about the tools that we create to give our customers a unique and personalised experience,” Kristen Naiman, Kate Spade New York’s SVP of brand creative, told AdWeek. “When we started thinking about personalisation and the place that #MissAdventure occupies, we were really thinking, ‘What does it mean to have a unique sense of style and how do you express yourself through that?’ We turned that on its head and created a would-be debacle out of an effort to have your own personal style.”

The ad ends on the two long-time friends making up over their fashion choices and heading out to enjoy the occasion. “I love you but you make me bananas,” Mamet says.

Shorter versions of the spot are running as paid digital placements, while Miss Piggy also appears in a print and social campaign alongside Jourdan Dunn. Her character is otherwise part of an accessory line for the brand featuring wallets, phone cases and jewellery.

Speaking to WWD on the launch, Miss Piggy said: “Moi was already a big fan of Kate Spade New York’s Miss Adventure’s series. I mean you see all these fabulous and incredibly strong and wonderful women like Anna Kendrick and Zosia Mamet having fun. So, I thought: I’m fabulous, incredibly strong and wonderful, I need to be part of this. When I discovered they wanted to create product inspired by moi: Well, it was a done deal.”

You can also check out more about it as well as the rest of this year’s seasonal films, here.

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Editor's pick film

Burberry teams with GQ for scripted video series

Sophie Turner 1

Storytelling in a way that provides a peek into someone’s world, and leaves you wanting more, is the name of the game for a new video series from GQ, in collaboration with Burberry.

Tying in with the brand’s Mr Burberry fragrance, three episodes will launch in total. Picking up where the fragrance campaign left off – after a steamy night in a hotel – the first, sees actress Sophie Turner (of Game of Thrones fame) recounting her night with a mysterious man over the phone to a friend.

“The Departure”, as it’s called, sees her sharing details of her evening with him while sat in a room at London’s Café Royal still in the gown she wore at the awards ceremony they’d met at. It ends on a note of: “What happens next?”

The series was co-written and shot by female director Sara Dunlop, whose short film Dreamlands has been nominated at the 2016 Cannes film festival. The following two films will also celebrate female actresses, starring Joséphine de La Baume and the Sai Bennett respectively.

All will appear exclusively on the websites and social media platforms of British GQ, GQ US, GQ France, GQ Italy & GQ Germany.

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Editor's pick film

Kate Spade keeps on winning in the storytelling campaign stakes

Behind-the-scenes on Kate Spade New York's #missadventure series, season 2
Behind-the-scenes on Kate Spade New York’s #missadventure series, season 2

Narrative continues to creep its way into the fashion industry’s advertising, and nowhere more is that true than with Kate Spade New York.

In a continuation of its #missadventure campaign series, the brand this time tells the tale of three women (actress Zosia Mamet returns alongside Lola Kirke and Kat Dennings) who go on the perfect weekend away, only to have their plans go “comically, perfectly wrong”.

Hoping for a spa package and yoga instructor, they end up with a retirement cake and bundle of bride-to-be accessories.

Those items as well as a bouncy castle are the product of Mamet’s attempts to use a new app called Favor Faves to order everything en route to the house they’re staying in, which is where such narrative wins it’s first points: it’s real. We’re all (and by all, we mean Kate Spade’s target market) obsessed with new apps and the idea that they make us more efficient.

We’re all also obsessed by things coming to us, on-demand. Especially if you live in New York, as well as an increasing number of other major cities (thanks Seamless, Uber, Deliveroo, Shyp, Postmates etc etc). But… we’ve all often had scenarios where such ideas have also failed us, especially when travelling. Perhaps they haven’t resulted in such extremes (the #missadventure series likes to add a touch of the surreal), but you get the idea.

The second way that Kate Spade wins, is that this short film feels as though you’re watching a scene from a TV show or a movie, not an ad. It’s not even a trailer – not a hint of something you need to go and watch the full-length version of, but instead something that you’ve rather missed the rest of. In a cameo role, Marisa Tomei shows up in her pyjamas for goodness’ sake.

As Kate Spade’s SVP of brand creative, Kristen Naiman, tells Vanity Fair, when the #missadventure series first started it was aiming to take advantage of the fact there was a renaissance in scripted serialised content being seen. “By the end of the first four episodes, we had set a world in motion. We saw on our social media channels an incredible appetite for it as a ‘show,’ as entertainment. There was a transition from ‘what a cute bag’ to ‘when is this going to be a movie?’” she explains.

And yet, in addition to that, Kate Spade also manages to throw a load of its product in there too. Those pyjamas in this recent film are really great, as is the hat Tomei wears with them. That box of bridal gear is perfect for those indeed planning bachelorette / hen parties (of which undoubtedly Kate Spade does very well from). And let’s not forget that each of the actresses are dressed in numerous covetable items throughout themselves – apparel, shoes and accessories – ready to be shopped now.

It’s true marketing, yet it feels like entertainment. Bearing all that in mind, it comes as no surprise this ad has nearly one million views just a week after launch.

Meanwhile, Burberry has recently opted for a more “traditional” take on narrative – sharing the tale of a young couple without spoken word. The short film by Oscar-winning British director Steve McQueen, captures duo Joshua Whitehouse and Amber Anderson on a romantic/dirty weekend in London for the brand’s new Mr Burberry fragrance. While it’s nicely done, it’s been met with criticism from some, and can certainly be considered not as engaging as the above. Watch it here:

One worth checking out by comparison is Hill & Friends’ The Happy Factory, first unveiled during London Fashion Week in February. While also not using any spoken word, it’s a rather more captivating 10-minute tale where a combination of live action, animation and CGI follows a bellboy and a variety of woodland animals in a subterranean Hill & Friends office. You can also watch it here:

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Editor's pick film

Nike extends #betterforit campaign with scripted YouTube series

margotlily_nikebetterforit

Nike is upping the storytelling ante as part of its #betterforit women’s campaign and taking to YouTube with an eight-part scripted series. A direct bid to reach millennial women, the branded content follows two sisters involved in a bet to make more friends on the one hand, and get fit on the other.

Margot vs. Lily as it’s called, was created by Wieden & Kennedy Portland in collaboration with the team behind the indie film Me and Earl and the Dying Girl.

It speaks to the success being seen in long-form video content elsewhere on the web – from the very existence of Netflix down to extended plays across platforms including YouTube of course, as well as Facebook (thanks largely to that autoplay feature).

It’s on that note the brand has tapped into the notion of narrative – creating something for viewers to invest in and want to come back to. As Kerri Hoyt-Pack, VP of Nike Women’s brand marketing globally, told AdWeek: “We wanted to surprise and inspire her through story, and we knew that longer form would give us something where we could get a little richer in bringing the story to life. It’s also a format that clearly women around the world today value. Connecting to this longer-form original programming just made sense for where she is.”

In terms of the tale itself, Hoyt-Pack said the key focus was to make it relatable and therefore authentic to the audience. “[The series is] about strength and power and confidence, and I think you see that in both characters. But it’s also about vulnerability and uncertainty… As a brand, that’s something we’re really proud to showcase, to invite our consumer into that experience, to be relatable. But it’s also just an expectation of this generation today. It’s a deeper, richer meaning that obviously resonated really well with [last year’s “Better for It” ads], and it’s something we’ve just put more depth in here,” she added.

This is a branded series all the same, so expect to see Nike merchandise throughout, but it’s not a heavy sales pitch, which helps. The accompanying Nike.com/betterforit site is where that part of the campaign sits, pulling in specific Nike+ workouts from the show, as well as directing to product.

The first episode hits YouTube today, Monday February 1. You can watch the trailer above.

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Editor's pick technology

The future of retail: Beyond stories told, to stories experienced

JCP_VR2

If you’d visited a mall housing a J.C. Penney store over the holidays, you may have been welcomed by a virtual reality experience that took shoppers on an immersive ride to the North Pole.

Created with marketing and technology agency Narrative, the “Twas The Flight Before Christmas” initiative was in place in four malls (one each in New York, Ohio, Arizona and Virginia), in a bid to grab consumer attention during the busiest shopping period of the year. It consisted of an Oculus Rift-based campaign where individual viewers could interact with reindeers and snowmen, as well as Santa himself, while a large screen was also set up for the rest of the audience drifting through the mall to enjoy.

Head over to Forbes to read my interview with Tricia Clarke-Stone, CEO of Narrative, on the reasoning behind this immersive tech experience and how it was designed to drive footfall into store and traffic to the checkouts.

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Editor's pick film

A pick of the best campaign films for A/W 15/16

outlaws

We might be in the final throes of the spring/summer 2016 fashion week season, but all the while our consumers (remember those) are starting to dress for autumn. Accordingly, a number of new films have been released that tick the box for both creativity and relevancy. They even feature looks you can buy now…

Here’s our pick of the best for autumn/winter 2015/16:

Belstaff


It might be 15-minutes long, but Belstaff’s Outlaws is one of the most engaging film on this list. David Beckham takes on the role of “The Stranger”, a mysterious drifter (he doesn’t actually have any lines) and motorcycle stuntman haunted by memories of a trapeze artist played by Katherine Waterston, and hunted by a maniacal director-cum-circus-master seeking revenge, played by Harvey Keitel. Tarot cards, late night diners and biker gangs also feature, Cathy Moriarty stars too, and if that wasn’t enough, Liv Tyler is executive producer.

Miu Miu


Narrative is often central to Miu Miu films and this season is no different, albeit it in a more conceptual fashion leaving you trying to figure it out. Subjective Reality, as the Steven Meisel piece is called, sees upcoming actresses Maddison Brown, Hailey Gates, Mia Goth and Stacy Martin play the role of casual passersby being admired through a number of lenses. In a voyeuristic fashion, the women clearly know they’re being watched, as they go about their business in a gritty New York setting – buying bagels from the street cart, waiting at the bus stop, sometimes being upstaged by others in the street, and more.

Hunter Original


Judy Blume’s Famous Five is the inspiration behind Hunter Original’s short film called A Hunter Highland Fling, which sees a group of young pioneers venturing through the Scottish Highlands. Visual artist Thomas Traum worked on the piece, which results in all sorts of digital graphics appearing throughout, which when paired with the tinny music, makes for what feels like you’re witnessing a virtual reality gaming experience.

Calvin Klein Jeans


Calvin Klein Jeans made headlines with its “sexting” -themed campaign this season. Based on the idea of today’s online dating nature, this is the brand once again combining the idea of being raunchy with what’s incredibly relevant in pop culture today, especially with the digital generation. Its provocative film shot by Mario Sorrenti, follows the same theme with groups of men and women, men and men, women and women, sharing the fact they’re getting together, and getting it on, via text messages.

River Island


Passion is at play over at River Island too, where models Hollie-May Saker and Simon Nessman feature in a film dedicated to them trying to pose a kiss for the camera, when the director keeps shouting “cut”. Several attempts later they’re clearly bored of such guidance and take matters into their own hands.

Kate Spade


Kate Spade is back with the third in its #missadventure series starring actress Anna Kendrick. This time set in a Russian Tea Room, it’s all about the company she keeps, from her dog to her handbag, and a special guest appearance from American journalist and activist Gloria Steinem. The piece is, once again, also completely shoppable.

Givenchy


There’s something a little more playful than expected in Givenchy’s film this season too. The Riccardo Tisci-led brand focuses on the frivolity of riding a bike, skipping, and playing a pinball machine, all the while set against the backdrop of an opulent stately home. Even bouncing a basketball on the dining room table underneath an elaborate chandelier isn’t a step too far for directors Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott.

H&M


David Beckham also appears in this list for H&M. The former footballer is on set in the retailer’s new Modern Essentials collection, when his agent shares the fact US comedian Kevin Hart is coming along to shadow him in advance of playing his character in “I Beckham, The Movie”. A very amusing tale follows of Beckham’s every move being watched and recorded. “There’s method acting, and then there’s what I plan on doing,” says Hart in their first encounter.

Valentino Men’s


Valentino’s seasonal menswear expression doesn’t lead with a narrative like many of the other films this season, but it does suggest that you’re missing one. Almost like the hint for a bigger tale still to come, it shows models in the busy Columbia Road Flower Market surrounded by the sounds of people all around them, the stall owners yelling out special deals and the constant backdrop of church bells. Flowers in arm, it’s otherwise a simple showcase of the collection.

And some others we’d recommend:

Rag & Bone dropping a concrete block on a car behind actress Gabriella Wilde; Burberry’s 70s vignettes of London; Behati Prinsloo on the American football field for Tommy Hilfiger; real-life shoplifters at Harvey Nichols as a promotion for its new rewards app; Marc Jacobs’ famous faces talking about what inspires them every day; and models over at Alexander Wang confessing to big secrets about themselves.

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Blocks film

Sofia Coppola directs Gap’s holiday ads

gap_sofiacoppola

AdWeek hit the nailed on the head today when it referred to Gap’s holiday campaign directed by Sofia Coppola as “odd but charming”.

A series of four short spots have been released (all below), each one of them showcasing awkward moments between friends and family over the festive period – a young girl arrives home to a household of relatives in one; a boy stares longingly at a woman under the mistletoe in another. Both of those two, called Gauntlet and Mistletoe respectively, will air on television, while the others, Crooner and Pinball will run online.

Anchoring the series from Wieden + Kennedy is the tagline: “You don’t have to get them to give them Gap.” In other words, while the basis of the brand’s broader campaign for the season might be called “Dress normal”, for many people the Holidays are anything but.

Seth Farbman, Gap’s global CMO, said: “We wanted the campaign, and the films in particular, to focus on the best part of the season – family and friends. While the holidays look different in every home across the country, Sofia has brilliantly translated Gap’s snapshots of these authentic family characters to the screen. Our aim was to create a campaign that would be very warm, very honest and very Gap. And even if you don’t always get your family, our message this season is that it’s easy to give them Gap.”

Music is central to each of the videos, with the soundtrack including “I Got Stripes” by Johnny Cash, “I’m Not Ready for Love” by The Promise, “Cry” by Johnnie Ray, and “Deep Down” by Hazel and the Jolly Boys.

The first campaign under the Dress Normal moniker from Gap, was directed by David Fincher, and likewise included a series of short narrative-based films.

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Editor's pick film

Chanel nails storytelling with epic Baz Luhrmann and Gisele No.5 fragrance campaign

This post first appeared on WGSN.com/blogs

chanel

Big budget fragrance campaigns aren’t of course a new phenomenon, but they do continue to be the strongest examples of the fashion industry pushing storytelling.

From Dior to Calvin Klein, there are numerous iconic tales from over the years that are easy to recall, and equally associated with the perfumes they’re promoting. But it’s perhaps Chanel No.5 that’s managed to be the most memorable of them all.

Placing Brad Pitt to one side, Baz Luhrmann’s Moulin Rouge-inspired spot starring Nicole Kidman is a particularly strong example of narrative. But that was, would you believe, now 10 years ago.

Enter then, Gisele Bündchen as the latest Chanel muse in a new campaign for the brand once again directed and produced by Luhrmann.

The One That I Want, as it’s called, sees the Brazilian supermodel captured on Long Island, New York in an incredibly cinematic series of frames that somewhat reference The Great Gatsby (Luhrmann’s adaptation of which was released in 2013).

This is no 1920s setup however, but a modern take on a woman who has a job, a relationship and a child. Accordingly, it’s about how she balances those responsibilities. Luhrmann said it was actually very reflective of Gisele herself. “This woman has a child, a real job and then she has this relationship. Gisele is the Chanel woman now.”

Set to a slow cover of Grease classic The One That I Want by Lo-Fang, the three-minute film opens with Gisele surfing in front of her Hamptons beach house. Actor Michiel Huisman, who is known for his role as Daario Naharis in HBO series Game of Thrones, solemnly watches on in a scenario that makes the viewer assume there’s been an argument between the two lovers.

He seems to catch her attention before leaving her a note in the house and disappearing off in his chauffeur-driven car (noticeable touches of luxury flow throughout). Gisele continues with her day, from spending time with her child as she gets ready, to heading into the city for a photo shoot, before she finally reads the note her partner left for her. Tears welling up in her eyes, she hurries to meet him and make-up, in the venue where Lo-Fang is performing.

As Luhrmann tells Vanity Fair: “Having it all does not come easily. That’s the film—it isn’t all just pretty smiles and flowers. I wanted there to be, they are having an argument, it’s not going well. I hope you get it from the trailer that there’s a relationship and it’s shaky.”

The emotion box is certainly ticked. It’s a heartfelt tale that makes you believe in the woman behind it. Luhrmann describes it as a trailer for a movie that never got made. Arguably, and as with Kidman back in 2004, it suggests at one that could be, which quite honestly is what every ad should feel like.

Bonus info: if you didn’t spot it, Chanel launched its Instagram account this week in celebration of the launch of its new No.5 film too. Check it out via @chanelofficial with the 1.8 million other followers already signed up.

chanel_gisele