Special set the standard

(by Sofia Scatena)

A month ago a new fashion film was released starring Tilda Swinton. The stylist is belgian designer Haider Ackermann, director is Roe Ethridge and the client is Mercedes Benz. A car brand?!? Exactly, which poses again the big question: what are fashion movies?

Admittedly, the plot is not very clear but we can gather that a woman is driving around the winding roads of Scotland to get somewhere after burying and then throwing away some precious stones sometime earlier: she looks anxious and upset but – at the same time – she seems to enjoy the drive. Eventually she reunites with a boy wearing diving gear (her son?) and they’re happily ever after. As I said, the plot is not very explicit, but it’s mysterious, fast-paced and somewhat mystical. And it’s definitely a very emotional one.

This description may sound as that of a “traditional” car commercial but it was not me who labelled this clip as fashion movie but the client itself: as a matter of fact, Mercedes declared so in its very press release.

So, here’s the big question again: what are fashion movies? Do they hold influence on our choices and behaviors? I think they’re a new form of language that doesn’t apply only to fashion strictly. It’s something that resonates more with our hyper-connected lives and with the possibility that technology affords to immediately interact with the object of our attention by leaving a comment, sharing the video, clicking the “Like” button, etc. etc. It’s the ultimate paradox because the emotions stirred in us (and which cause the immediate action) are not linked to the object itself (a car, in this case) but to the emotion that the world that revolves around driving this car represent. Which is the new leverage that marketing 3.0 has embraced.

It’s a new form of suggesting situations, images, sounds and, of course, emotions that were once experienced only by the happy few invited to openings, galas etc. and are now public domain of internauts from all over the world, from all social status, race, age etc. etc.

I like to call it net democracy.

Interested in marketing 3.0 and how emotions and values form an organized system? Have a look at psychologist Shalom Schwartz’s work


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