BBH’s Sir John Hegarty: ‘The fashion industry doesn’t understand brands’
BBH founder Sir John Hegarty wants fashion brands to loosen up.
“Humor is such an incredibly powerful force, and fashion doesn’t use it. It’s always intrigued me how serious everyone in fashion ads are,” he told an audience at Decoded Fashion’s London summit Wednesday.
Hegarty has worked with a wide range of fashion brands over the years, including for Levi Strauss, Burberry, Selfridges and Pretty Polly. He’s seen what’s gone right — and what has been “monumentally” wrong. “The fashion industry is being driven by people who don’t understand brands,” he said. “Brands are collections of ideas and thoughts that create a difference, and how you create that difference in a market when you both have to be the same but also stand out is the great conundrum.”
At one particular meeting with a fashion designer, for example, he asked for a big idea. The answer came back: blue. “That’s not an idea, it’s a color,” he scoffed, before adding, “Many in the fashion industry wouldn’t understand an idea if it smacked them in the face.”
He said this is exactly what’s plaguing British retailer Marks & Spencer, which received some uncomfortable headlines in the press last month for clothing sales that have failed to grow over the last five years. To Hegarty, this suggests it hasn’t figured out a way to project what it stands for.
“I guarantee M&S will constantly fail because there is no philosophy behind what they do,” he said. “I’ve no idea what they’re trying to do. They’ve not established what they believe in, and that means they haven’t understood the principles of what drives a brand.”
He did reserve praise for one fashion brand: Paul Smith. “One of the reasons Paul has succeeded is because he has a point of view. He calls it fashion with a twist. But everything he does he expresses with a sense of humor.”
Establishing that core idea and brand philosophy is also crucial if fashion brands (or any brand) is to stand out on platforms like Instagram, where stand-out is already tough.
“Technology enables opportunity, and creativity creates value,” he said. “That’s fundamentally important. When people come to me and say, ‘Hey, we’re going on Instagram,’ I say, ‘OK — what are you going to say?’ It’s like walking into a room and saying, ‘I’m going to write a book.’ We’ve become obsessed with technology but not about what we’re actually going to say.”
‘Its inevitable’: Domino’s hungers for attention and context
Attention-based buying is turning into a legendary tale of patient and nonchalance. So when there’s a glimpse of progress, marketers tend to take notice. Domino’s being one of them.
Why Cars.com is driving away from performance marketing and toward influencers
To boost brand awareness, Cars.com is doubling down on its influencer marketing efforts.
Why Unity Technologies is leaning into AI as economic headwinds pick up
As one of the largest gaming companies listed on New York Stock Exchange, Unity Technologies leaned into AI during its May 10 earnings call, with Unity CEO John S. Ricciatello stressing Unity’s “competitive advantages in and around AI.”
SponsoredWhat the measurement and currency discussion really means to TV advertisers
Ali Mack, head of TV and agency, Experian Major streaming video providers have recently made headlines by adopting new currencies for ad measurement, threatening Nielsen’s long-standing TV ratings monopoly. NBCUniversal, for example, has certified iSpot and VideoAmp as currencies for advanced audiences and formed the Joint Industry Committee with Paramount, TelevisaUnivision and Warner Bros. Discovery. […]
Dopamine rush to deeper engagement: short-form video boom fuels brands’ embrace of longer-form content
Audiences craving more are now being treated to captivating longer-form narratives. It’s the addictive nature of those quick hits that has fueled this transformation.
How gamers’ engagement with short-form video is changing
To better understand how modern gamers are engaging with short-form video, Digiday teamed up with Gamesight to pull key points from an exclusive report on gamers’ shifting video consumption preferences.