’m very excited about this project, it’s a great opportunity to develop an integrated crossmedia concept bringing together fashion and music for a fresh, innovative and culturally relevant campaign for French Connection’s AW 13 collection. The aim of this global campaign is to establish brand loyalty by creating a tangible interaction between French Connection and its target. We want blow a breath of fresh air into French Connection by creating a brand new way of communicating with our audience that goes beyond fashion film and photography to reach everyone; to create an integrated universe and lifestyle in which each twenty to thirty year old will want to identify. We’re going to reclaim and enhance French Connections’ cool, youthful reputation by reaching out and communicating with this audience at the forefront of all the latest media platforms with exciting, diversified and innovative content. We will leave no media untouched, from Facebook to Tumblr, from SoundCloud to blogs, our unique mix of musicians, it-girls and everyday people will find its way in mainstream channel and as well as subcultures. The mix of fashion and music has always been an explosive one and we’re going to play it up in the casti ng and spirit of our campaign, bringing together different styles, musical universes and “social circles” into a fun and perfectly curated mix where everyone will find something and someone to identify with. This will also drive home the point that French Connection has a wide range of clothes that can mix into any wardrobe, that can be adapted to any style, it’s THE go to brand for any stylish twenty to thirty year old looking for high quality style on a reasonable budget. We will start by setting up two exclusive party events that will involve the audience from the start, at the casting stage, and get the buzz going thanks to
the presence of up and coming musicians and popular it-girls from different social circles. These creatively art directed concerts will be the base of the film campaign and the start of a series of different media contents that we’ll be able to broadcast on a variety of channels. The videos will have different versions and work both as short commercials, longer “music video” type films, interactive films where internet users can follow different characters and even little gifs that can be used on Tumblr. The visual spirit of the films will then translate to a graphic, editorial photo shoot while the music will help us reach brand new territory, creating mix tapes of inspiring new music. The concept can even be extended into a competition that will allow users to win a similar event in their own home, with a behind the scenes video to document the process. Covering all new media bases, creating a buzz, being on the pulse of what twenty to thirty year olds are excited about in fashion and in music, building a strong identification with a creative, freethinking, youthful crowd that’s not afraid to take risks and have some serious fun. This is what this new FCUK campaign will be all about.
or the stills shoot we would try and aim to cover 20 looks for men and 20 for women during a two-day studio shoot. I want to give this photo campaign a distinctive, graphic and editorial look that will really set it apart from other high street brand and play up its premium aspect with innovative layering and bold attitudes. Like our characters in the film, our models will be a mix of musicians and it-girls whose personality will shine through the pictures. Their poses and attitudes should always seem to be caught in movement, bringing a dynamic energy to the characters, photos and clothes. We will shoot our models alone and together, capturing different little stories within each shot, to fuel and inspire people’s imagination. Mixing graphic and natural elements we will create a strong connection with our film campaign. The graphic elements will come in layers, either added in post production, like Kate Moss against a wall of Roses or the flowered V on the V Men cover, or as projections from the films on our characters’ faces and bodies for a modern poetic touch. The set elements will also be nods to the films with unexpected natural textures such as a couch, or chair made of leaves, lettering made out of moss or some real flowers on the set. This mix of textures and layers will create a rich, unexpected and graphic look. Even though there will be a very unified look and art direction throughout the campaign, I would also like to create distinctive universes for each model, for each shot. Playing with different props, projection and colours will keep every picture interesting and different from the others, the photo campaign should be like a storybook of the collection.
he films will capture a party event with its own atmosphere and look to match the brand’s two main directions for AW 13: country aristocratic and urban edge. The idea is to invite the viewer to these parties, both literally and figuratively. Literally, we can organize an online casting call among French Connection customers to win their tickets to this exclusive event. Figuratively the organic, natural flow of the cinematography, editing and interactive options should make us feel like we’re part of the event even behind the screen. In addition to the bands, we will cast about 15 actors and it-girls who will be the focus of our films, we will follow them through all their actions and create different scenarios that will allow us to create interactive films for the internet later on.
he film begins on an early fall day, just before magic hour. The warm sunset bathes the countryside in an ideal autumnal glow. A bunch of friends is getting ready or making their way to a secret event in the countryside. On an outdoor stage, partly hidden by some trees, we can hear the band tuning their instruments. We’re riding along on a scooter through the countryside to the party, feeling the wind blow through our hair. In a tent, some guys and girls are finishing getting ready: tying up their shoes, putting on a jacket, they’re playful and full of anticipation. We’re in a convertible packed with four other friends arriving at the party at the same time as a few other scooters and cars. People jump out, hug, run into the field that has been decorated for the occasion: balloons everywhere, huge balls of twigs, party lights hanging from trees, a stage with a dance area, an outdoor lounge with couches, lounge chairs, books and lamps, a snacking area with cupcakes and other goodies, in the middle of it all, a shed
overtaken by shrubs and creepers. There’s a subtle nod to the 60’s reference of the collection in some of the set elements. Close ups of the musicians’ hands playing the first note and the music begins, the pace of the film picks up as we follow our cool, stylish friends through the party. We follow a few recognizable characters as they take possession of the place and the atmosphere of the party picks up: the band of course, a newly formed cute couple who’s still flirting and chasing each other, the party “clown” who pulls pranks on people, a bubbly girl who comes up with funny dances and creative way of using whatever props are within her reach, and everyone else as they dance, munch on colourful treats, run around and chase each other through the trees, relax in the lounge area. We regularly intercut this with the band playing, picking up the pace of them music, building up the heat of the party. As our characters warm up from the
action we also see them take off their jackets and outerwear, showing the stylish and very personal outfits that they’ve put together underneath, we can see the slight 60’s influence in their silhouettes. The looks are a mix of country chic dressed up for the evening with a few outstanding accessories and irreverently worn eveningwear. The music and editing build up to a climax of excitement and fun until everyone is dancing, until that special moment in a concert where the band and audience are so in sync that they seem to form one entity: inhibitions fly out the window, strings break on guitars, two strangers kiss in the crowd just because. The song and the film end in a rain of cheering, applause and the breathless sound of happy exhaustion, when you can hear your heart beating in your chest and it is about to explode.
ootsteps running on the pavement, a bunch of friends running down a city street mid afternoon, in the warm light of autumn. Another group of friends rehearsing a funny choreography in the street. In a typical London Townhouse, a band is setting up for their concert, the guys rock some great tattoos and edgy haircuts contrasted with FCUK’s sharp suits and ties, a contemporary nod to mod. Outside the house, we can see groups of friends arriving from different directions. As they flood the house, the band starts playing, the music fills the space. Following our characters, we take over the house and go exploring all the different rooms: a group of girlfriends takes over the bathroom where they put on the finishing touches to their outfits and makeup while dancing to the music coming through the walls. A bunch of guys are creating a makeshift “bar” in the kitchen and fooling around with shakers. One edgy girl is looking
at the band playing with a mischievous look on her face. As everyone comes into the main space, the pace of the music picks up, some flirtatious looks are exchanged between a guy and a girl. The group of friend from the bus come in late and start doing their funny choreography to the music played by the band, everyone joins in (except the guy and the girl who were exchanging looks, who take this opportunity to run up to the roof). Suddenly, the edgy girl who was looking at the band jumps on stage and takes one of the microphones, she starts singing along with the band. Everyone is surprised for a beat but she’s amazing and takes the song and the party to the next level. The pace builds up as our characters dance and take snap shots of each other, our guy and girl chase each other through the house, our new singer gets really into the music. The editing and music build up to a climax where the whole house seems to be vibrating with the energy of the party, from the outside, we can see the colours of the windows changing from the lighting, people stopping
on the sidewalk wondering what’s inside. On our singer’s final shout, our guy and girl, breathless, reach the roof of the house with the amazing view of the city’s nightlights beyond and the crowd explodes into cheer.
Filmic Mood The camera in these films is on the move, immersed into the action, it’s one of the guests at this party, close to people, among them, watching the action but participating in it too. The light is mostly practical party lighting but bright enough to get a good look at our characters and their clothes, some spontaneous effects like backlighting and the occasional flare will give the film a natural, hand made quality. This is also reflected in the sound, a subjective sound that takes into account both the music and exterior sounds and a personal experience of the party with sounds of breath, a heart beating in a chest, wind blowing through hair.
Interactivity For each of the parties, I plan to follow several characters throughout. In the short version of the film, we will edit these journeys together but online, we can include longer versions of the film where internet users can choose to follow one character rather then another, and, like a layered plot unfolding each time they click on a different character, they can discover new secrets about the party that will change their perception of the whole.
he casting of the film and photo shoot is one of the key elements of this campaign. Our target audience is young people from twenty to thirty years old with plenty of personality, an appreciation for quality and a limited budget, no matter what their personal style might be! Like a great guest list at a party we have to reach that perfect balance of up and coming musicians and models, it-girls and boys from different creative universes and stylish every day people with interesting faces and body language. The itgirls and actors of our campaign should represent a wide variety of styles to give something to relate to for all French Connection. So far Iâ€™m thinking along the lines of a new, slightly older Cara Delevigne, Lily Mcmenamy, Ash, Jeremy Khlat ...
We want to have our rebels, our edgy musicians, our hispters, our romantics, our cool geeks, and of course more classic, casual and sophisticated styles.Â Once weâ€™ve found our characters, I want to create a comfortable atmosphere where I will guide the characters through the main lines of their actions but they can feel free to improvise, experiment and let loose. The camera will then be present to capture those natural, spontaneous moments and expressions that cannot be commanded.
hatever the style or personnality, the tastes and desires, everybody can find what they like at French Connection.
hat’s really going to set this campaign apart is the interactive marketing and multimedia operation that we will deploy on every new media platform. This global and unified media coverage will give French Connection a brand new injection of cool and establish its presence on all forums. This well planned strategy will unfold in several steps: Starting from the original films, we will create a short version for general broadcast as well as different longer versions for the Internet that we will post on Vimeo. From the start one of our most important goals for this campaign is to create maximum interaction with our viewers, we will therefore communicate on the interactive aspects of our films, encouraging Internet users to play with the content of the films: choose where some of our characters go next, which outfit they would like to see them change into, which boy or girl they’d like to see them end up with, etc. During the shoot we will also film interviews of our main characters, the musicians and it-girls, asking them questions and creating lively capsules that we will post on Facebook and send to carefully selected blogs to spread the message about French Connection’s new campaign. The film footage will also be used to create fun gifs of party highlights that will be sent to Tumblrs and to previously identified influential music and fashion blogs to create additional buzz.
Other than its eternal cool factor, we also chose the concept of fashion + music for key reasons, to reach potential new French Connection customers is music. We therefore have to work with a partner who knows this industry and community inside out, knows the best blogs and forums to reach fans of all music styles. This is why we would like to work with Banana Records to create mixtapes of inspiring new music, one mixtape per season that captures the spirit of each new collection. Why Banana Record? In my opinion they perfectly capture the youthful spirit of irreverent cool that we want to be associated with, here they are in their own words: “Banana Records is a hybrid project, both web-radio and website for cultural news. Our mission is to throw an eye on every artistic stuff that lies out there in the terrestrial world. An eye, not new-born, note ageing, just an eye-ofthe moment. You will not find a race for the brand new on Banana Records. We choose everything. It is about what moves us, let it be the last must-hear track or the last experimental movie that no one will watch until the end. On Banana records, we favour encounters, and the unexpected ones. Life is a Banana, peel it!” Of course, all this campaign should inspire and foster people’s desire to be just like our characters and we will give them that possibility, wherever they are in the world. A contest will top it all off by giving them a chance to win a party with a band, a DJ and French Connection outfits that they’ll be able to choose directly online. The party can in turn be filmed and streamed on youtube. I already have some ideas of bands and people that could work very well for this campaign. They are still “underground” enough that both FCUK and them could benefit from the collaboration. For FCUK, it’s the opportunity to show a young audience that they have their finger on the pulse of the music world, revealing the “next big thing” before they explode into full-blown celebrities. For the musicians, it’s an opportunity for exposure, both through the films and the downloadable mixes that we will create for SoundCloud with Banana.
Rina Sawayama Grimes
ashion + Music + Interactivity = the recipe for a global French Connection campaign that should knock the fashionable socks off our target audience. I see this project as a great opportunity to attract brand new people, whilst reminding their long standing customers of the fun and irreverent brand, by going out and grabbing its audience attention on all the available media. I look forward to discussing all these ideas with you further. Thanks, Nathalie.