The People's weekly wrap-up newsletter 08.07.22
We all know the brand playbook of using well-known celebrities faces in ad campaigns to gain credibility and relevance. But over the last decade - thanks to the rise of social media - power relations between brands and celebrities has shifted. Celebrities are now Creative Directors on brand campaigns.
Kanye West launched Yeezy Gap, Kendall Jenner was creative director at Californian-based retailer FWRD and Dakota Johnson was a creative director at sexual wellness brand Maude. Kate isn’t the first major fashion name to work with Diet Coke, with both Karl Lagerfeld and Jean Paul Gaultier designing limited-edition cans and bottles in the past. However, the Croydon-born fashion idol will definitely bring something a new flavour to an old taste, using her enormous star power. This will most definitely be a fashion-brand collaboration that will leave a mark in history. But who could be the next face of Coke? And perhaps we need to rethink the idea of celebrity.
British photographer Rankin has put together The Unseen, an online exhibition that showcases images that have been censored or shadow banned on Instagram and TikTok. Social media platforms often block accounts and remove content deemed unfit. However, the method of moderation doesn’t allow any debate around what is considered harmful.
Moreover, the decisions tend to be made by AI filers that lack human empathy and nuance. As a consequence, already marginalised or vulnerable communities are ‘censored’, and further marginalised for not fitting to the platform’s procrustean format. The exhibition includes nudity and content from sex workers, but also artwork, LGBTQ+ posts, period-related content, and people sharing images regarding a physical disability. Each post is accompanied by a short interview with the account holder explaining what effect the ban had on them. For example, a charity fighting for menstrual equity lost out on funding due to a ban on posting. Keeping people safe is a good thing but the current system seems automated, insensitive and not inclusive.
Birkenstock traces its roots back to 1774, but the brand is better known for its comfortable and aesthetically unpleasing footwear. The brand has now launched its first paid global campaign by embracing imperfection and turning it into a source of attraction.
The campaign was produced by T Brand Studio, the content studio for The New York Times and the three-part docuseries aims to showcase the complexity of the human foot and the importance of proper footwear. Episode one sheds light on the role feet have played in human evolution. Episode two looks at how to fix the future of foot health, through the lens of Birkenstock heritage in orthopaedics. And episode three investigates why functional design, quality, and responsibility are important for foot health. We believe that more companies can use the Pratfall Effect to build an emotional connection with consumers.The “Pratfall Effect” states that people/brands that show their flaws tend to be more trusted.
Gen-Z is the generation everyone’s talking about, stereotyped by their carefree nature, love of TikTok and challenging of norms/traditions. But do Gen-Z really match this stereotype? Can we compare the experience of older Gen-Z with younger Millennials? It is undeniable that Gen-Z are far more progressive than other generations, challenging everything from sexuality, relationships, workplaces, and cultural norms. This article by Maddie Thomas sheds light on a more challenging dimension of the Gen-Z experience. “I think Gen-Zs think we’re alternate but we’re not. We say we want different things but deep down, we’re not sure if we have the same goals or whether we’re just worried they’re too unattainable. I thought none of us would be getting married, but tonnes of people our age are.” There seems to be a large cohort of people with a Gen-Z attitude and the Millenial “craving” for more stability. Stereotyping Gen-Z by age only – instead of interest and values – prevents companies from truly connecting with younger audiences.