Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Coco Before Chanel: (Not-So)-Subliminal Advertising

During a recent trip to the cinema, Fashionista was mesmerised by the trailer for "Coco Before Chanel", released on Friday. A true "rags to riches" story, full of ambition, drive and vision, it tells the tale of Coco Chanel in her early days, showing the beginnings of what would later become one of the world's most iconic brands.

What phenomenal advertising for Chanel, which has supported this film. Not only does Audrey Tautou (of "Amelie" and "The Da Vinci Code" fame) play Coco Chanel, she also stars in Chanel's No.5 advertising campaign. The same is true for Anna Mouglalis, who plays the same role in another (not yet released) "Chanel" film - "Coco Chanel & Igor Stravinsky", and which is also backed by the fashion house. It seems as though Chanel is the fashion brand du-jour, attracting unprecedented attention from the film industry for arguably the first time in the brand's long history.

The benefit of such projects? Drawing in new customers and creating or reinforcing loyal supporters. Everyone loves a good story. Sob stories win our hearts. Stories of triumph make us feel that we too can reach the stars. The empathy and understanding that comes from reading a biography or watching a biopic can turn a brand from "just another luxury store" to something far more familiar, appreciated; something that the consumer will be happy to buy into and share. The films will effectively provide hours of advertisement for the brand. At a time when the fashion glossies are weighing less and less with each monthly installment as a result of dwindling advertising subscriptions, alternative advertising means must surely be welcome, if not actively sought out.

The benefits to the brand of backing such projects are clear, and rest largely on setting the right tone; showcasing the best of the brand; and ensuring a faithful portrayal of the brand's heritage. The cross-over use of Tautou and Mouglalis for both films and for Chanel advertising is clever. Recognition of both actresses in the adverts will remind audiences of their experience of the brand through the films.

So here is Fashionista's prediction. Coco Before Chanel will be a huge hit. Sales at Chanel - even if only in the immediate future - will rise as a result. Cinema goers who may never have stepped inside a Chanel boutique may feel drawn to owning their little piece of Chanel - even if it is only an iconic red lipstick.

And there's more! Tomorrow will witness the "Chanel Flash Mob" at St Pancras International Station in London - the first "flash mob" of its kind, where those with a love for the brand are encouraged to channel their inner Chanel for a meeting with fellow dedicated followers of fashion. Fashionista will be curious to see what effect the flash mob will have and whether this will serve to reinforce brand affinity and perhaps even create new fans?


alaina.vieru said...

Chanel has definitely been very canny with this and I wouldn't be surprised if other labels follow suit. I've been infected by Chanel mania myself with this Coco Before Chanel extravaganza...