Freaky dancing, evaporating sweat and ripped jeans.
Not a Wes Anderson film, but it could be. These are the three focal points of Uniqlo’s latest ad campaign by Droga5 London, showing off the Japanese brand’s LifeWear.
We’ve got funky and fresh.
There’s simplistic but beautiful visuals.
And even a little subtle flirting.
Wiffs of Spike Jonez’s spot for Kenzo from last year? Definitely.
And that’s cool. Because now we’re seeing the future of fashion advertising and marketing. It’s about so much more than the clothes themselves, it’s about the stories behind the clothes.
This is what captured our minutes this week.
1. Each short film is an insight into expert production.
Talk about keeping it cool (and consistent). Droga5 New York produced Uniqlo’s “Why Do We Get Dressed?” spot and managed to keep that narrative going even a year later.
From the same minimalist colour scheme (for all you cool kids out there), similar narration and rotation between wide shots for story development and close-ups for details, the videos all set distinct tone.
Don’t even bother to wag your finger and suggest it’s a case of same o’, same o’.
No, this is what a balance of being different and being brand steady loyal looks like.
They all tell different stories, from bras that move with our bodies to the sweat that evaporates from our bodies. But what ties them all together is the consistency in presentation.
It makes viewers instantly go “ah, yes – that’s Uniqlo.” That instant recognition, along with just really beautifully filming creates the awe inside of viewers.
Put simply, it looks cool. It also sounds cool, with some pretty awesome curated music that puts you right into chill mode.
And that sort of reaction will ultimately inspire viewers to lend their minutes and eventually their dollars.
2. The products are actually put to the test, no frills attached.
Ever watch a fashion ad and play the “I Spy With My Little Eye” game to guess where all the pins in the clothing are because it all just looks way too perfect on screen?
Yeah. Us too.
People aren’t mannequins, and they know it. They want to look good, but they don’t want to look like a clip out from a catalogue. They want to be themselves and be able to picture themselves in the clothes they’re looking at.
So, Uniqlo made people dance on walls, unbutton their shirts, freestyle in a gas station and sweat profusely to put the clothing on full display.
Weird? Yes. Effective nonetheless? You bet.
Especially in the Wireless Bra spot, viewers are treated to real movement. Not the usual institution hallmarks of runway strutting or the simple lean-slightly-to-the-left-then-right posing.
These models are full out dancing, jumping, bending, and twirling - you name it, they’re doing it.
You’d think framing clothes based on their movement would be a no-brainer for fashion brands. Most of the time however, it ends up looking unattainable and unrelatable.
Uniqlo’s quirks are like a blast of fresh air.
3. Uniqlo’s content is challenging the status quo, much like the brand itself.
The guiding theme of these videos is the line “because of life, we made lifewear.”
Uniqlo knows that clothes are made for a fraction of the price that they’re sold at. So they went and priced the clothing as reasonably as possible (read down jackets for less than $100).
It also realizes that most fast fashion lacks quality.
So Uniqlo chooses easy wash and wear fabrics like rayon that are built for durability and won’t shrink after your first session with the Maytag.
Uniqlo know that life can be complicated, but that your wardrobe doesn’t have to be.
So it goes ahead and forgoes the typical trends to create pieces that are timeless.
Throw a fashion stereotype out there: Uniqlo is probably doing the opposite.
According to Fast Retailing, the Uniqlo parent company, the Uniqlo brand is built on providing clothing that is universal in design and comfort, and that will fit everyone, everywhere.
In an interview with Creative Review from November of 2016, John C Jay, president of global creative at Fast Retailing, says this:
“The mission of bringing the greatest quality to the greatest number of people is something I feel is so fitting of the zeitgeist we live in right now… we don’t go to runway shows and copy everything quickly. If there’s one word I’d say about us, it’s ‘thoughtfulness.’”
Uniqlo stops and thinks.
It could be like everyone else on the block, but it just doesn’t want to be and doesn’t feel the need to jump out of their seats to be “first adopters.”
If anything, they can be the first adopters of waiting and making sure that there is clarity, strategy and consistency at every level of production.
These three LifeWear ads do that by not aiming to put the clothes on a pretty pedestal. Instead (in cool sets and to the beat of awesome music), the ads weave a narrative about what the clothes can do and why they were made as specific as they are.
We’ll take one pair of distressed denim, thanks.
To sum it all up: don’t be the brand spinning the same stuff just under a different tag. Be the brand that doesn’t feel the need to do what you’re “supposed” to do.
If that means breaking plates while dancing in a bra, then go for it.
At the end of the day, people engage with content by lending their minutes. Content is successful when its battery is fully charged with attention.
What will win this week?