The best way for fashion brand to become famous is to be involved in something real happening. Unfortunately, this isn’t an option for most brands. But there is one thing, that can be even more powerful than the real thing: fiction.
Fiction has a far bigger hold over us than facts. We read the news, and we find them annoying most of the time, and we blend them out. But where we really open up are in works of fiction.
We need those parallel Worlds!
Every evening, the majority of the population withdraws into fictional universes of their liking. Some disappear into the Star Wars universe. Others take a hike with the Walking Dead. Many join the hordes in the master epic “Game of Thrones”. Or they disappear into the horrorscapes of Steven King.
What Temperature do you wash a Brain at to get it whiter than white?
Ignoring that, most brands stick to commercial imagery and regular advertising. As if swinging their products in front of our eyes like a baby rattle would make us want it more. But we see it as what it is: propaganda, that is to wash our brains whiter than white from any interest or conviction we might have. That it is working against us.
Working with People, not against them.
Why do brands use fiction so little? Can’t they see that advertising is propaganda, and propaganda is brainwashing and attacking a target, not communicating with a person? Why don’t they give us something that actually interests us instead of annoying us?
I’m not talking of content marketing. Content marketing is advertising that pretends to be content. You will never reach anybody worth reaching with this kind of disguised lack of story.
But we still want them to know what great designs our brand has!
The harder you berate someone, the more resistance you get. The solution of the advertising world: more advertising. Propaganda worked well for Stalin and Lenin, but companies can’t lock up those into a gulag who do not buy their products.
You can’t force a horse to drink. But you can lead it to the water. Fiction is a great water leader. And, as far as I can tell, fiction makes thirsty. It ignites your fantasy, raises your level of well-being, and your self-worth. Fiction makes you happy. And happy people like to grab something from the world that made them happy. Why do you think there are millions of Star Wars memorabilia? Because people are scared to forget the film they just saw? Or because they want something that reminds them of the experience, even if it’s cheap junk, sold at several hundred percent of mark-up? Fiction makes non-smokers buy ashtrays because Darth Vader is on them.
What kind of story?
So you create a story around a fashion brand? No! That’s a commercial! You create any story that is great. Of course, I will dress all the characters of the story in the designs of the brand. Of course I’ll choose a story that goes with what your company creates. A tough war story wouldn’t work for Vivienne Westwood, but maybe for Tom Rebl? But for Tom Rebl a “The Matrix” style story would work even better.
Each story I create doesn’t stand on its own. All stories we tell connect among each other, being each other’s background. I creates fantastic parallel worlds.
How to get the stories to the Audience of potential Customers
How would this work? You can’t exactly shoot a whole movie or print a short story on a billboard. Advertising space is expensive, and you still need to rent that space, even if you are showing something better.
You can tell a story in several pictures. Or even in one picture. It can take on the character of a riddle. In Peter Greenaway’s “The Draughtsman’s Contract” and arrogant bastard draughtsman draws the estate of a pervert aristocrat. Into his drawings he puts the clues of a murder committed by the aristocrat just a short while ago.
Short and ultra short story genres
You could tell such a story in six images. Instead of one larger product shot you can post six smaller pictures as a sequence. You can post them as a sequence (“Now, who’s the killer…?… to be continued) on social media. And add a short film to it.
Of course, doing it once will not be enough. But you know that from regular advertising. Over time the story will become more detailed and recognizable – just like when you get deeper into a long-form HBO show. After a while you can post a single, beautiful, mysterious image and people will understand. And react. Because they have now a context to all the other images they have already seen. Context is king for storytelling.
And your target clientele sees the story and the fashion they are wearing. And, of course, you won’t hide the fact that your fashion brand did this.
And by the way: I want that jacket that the hero in the story wore!