It’s been a long holiday weekend for me. There was the glutinous consumption of turkey and the annual Blasberg Blowout party. (Related: Did you know that Sam’s Club sells shotgun, cannon and machete-shaped tequila bottles? No really.) So while I was nursing my hangovers from the intoxication of quality family time and the aforementioned novelty shaped alcohol, I spent a lot of time doing what I don’t have a lot of time to do in New York: Watching TV. And I realized that now, perhaps more than ever, fashion companies are entering this mass medium with gusto. Louis Vuitton just launched its first ever television commercial (starring Arizona Muse, shot by Inez & Vinoodh), and I still get chills every time I see Lara Stone cavorting on a private plane in the Calvin Klein advertisement that broke during the Superbowl earlier this year. Cartier did quite possibly the most ridiculous commercial I’ve ever seen, and it was their first once and that launched this year too. (I’m happy to include all there of these commercials at the bottom of this post. Soak in the decadence, guys.)
To be fair, fashion brands advertising on TV isn’t a new or novel occurrence. It was Calvin Klein that got into some hot water for his provocative campaigns on TV back in the day. But what we see now is that exclusive French companies, like Vuiton and Cartier, who had no interest in elbowing with Calvin for TV spots have entered the fray. These brands are realizing not only the power of television, but also the power of the moving image of a fashion campaign. These TV spots are great, but let’s not be foolish: They didn’t make these videos exclusively for the airwaves. Videos have become an integral part of a brand’s entire media plan. (In fact, I’ve worked with a few brands on their behind-the-scenes videos, but more on that in a later post.) Whereas in the golden days of pre-recession advertising, the holy grail was a placement in a magazine, today the plan has to be more layered. Yes, the magazine is and always will be the mainstay, but now a brand is looking for their moving content to be on the magazine’s website and, as I saw over Thanksgiving, on television, and that’s in addition to blogs like this one and on big screens in their stores.
I like this. I’ve always been a fan of anything that spreads the fashion to the masses. I would have killed to have seen these videos on the little 13 inch television in my bedroom when I was a teenager (which I still have, by the way), back when I didn’t know how to say Versace. Yes, I was like Elizabeth Perkins in Showgirls and called is Ver-Says. Shut up. That’s why seeing these commercials on network television tickled me so much. It puts a big smile on my face, in fact! Now there will be little boys and little girls who know that when they see a red box they should think of panthers in diamonds, and they’ll think of all the divine decadence of the house of Louis Vuitton the next time they see a hot air balloon.
One last thing: Lest we think it’s new that a fashion brand do such decadent commercials, I must point out that — like most things in fashion — Karl Lagerfeld has already done it. Back in 2004, the house of Chanel paid Nicole Kidman millions of dollar to swirl some pink tulle around Rodrigo Santoro for what is more of a short film than a TV spot directed by Baz Luhrman. Do you remember that? Wasn’t it ridiculous and divine? It came out around Moulin Rouge and watching the commercial again still makes me swoon.
The fashion industry’s first commercial dream: Chanel No. 5
Louis Vuitton’s recently released first ever TV spot
The Calvin Klein commercial that made me fall in love with Lara Stone. Again.
The Cartier commercial with defies the laws of nature and diamonds