Gucci’s designs under creative director Alessandro Michele are recognizable for their layered, ruffled skirts, bright colors and embroidered snake accents. Most recently, the brand translated it into a video series, a recreation of the Greek romance “The Myth of Orpheus and Eurydice,” taking place in modern-day New York City, to promote its 2016 pre-fall collection.
Directed by filmmaker Gia Coppola (granddaughter of Francis Ford Coppola) and produced by Condé Nast’s content studio 23 Stories, the video series tells an updated version of the story of Orpheus and Eurydice in four parts: their marriage, their happiness, Eurydice’s murder and Orpheus’ visit to Hades. Instead of ancient Greece, scenes take place in a Manhattan brownstone, Central Park and a nightclub. Everyone in the videos is wearing Gucci’s new collection.
It is the first multi-part video series for Gucci’s branded-content strategy. Each video will run on six Condé Nast properties, including Vogue, The New Yorker and Vanity Fair, as well as Gucci.com.
“Gucci has a very strong voice, and we used that as a North Star,” said Josh Stinchcomb, managing director of 23 Stories. “When we’re creating content, we can always refer back to it. That makes the brand so ripe for storytelling.”
The four two-and-a-half minute videos are part of Gucci’s plan to turn its current cultural buzz into a lasting brand for today’s younger consumers. Gucci is looking to build the brand to reflect Michele’s strong point of view, using native content and social media to ride the current momentum brand into long-term brand loyalty, according to the brand’s recent strategy presentation on June 3.
The strategy is especially timely given the current state of the luxury industry: as creative directors have begun leaving their posts at fashion houses after three- or four-year stints, observers are wondering how long Gucci can hold onto Michele, who’s been in his current position since January 2015, and his success. In 2015, the brand brought in $4.4 billion in revenue, up from $3.9 billion in 2014.
“He’s a relatively new creative director who is trying to position his aesthetic as a total lifestyle, so [the videos are] a great position for them to show not just the clothes but how you wear them and what inspired the collection,” said Tony King, founder of creative agency King and Partners. “Brands are talking about storytelling and narrative but haven’t really done it. This is Gucci doing it well.”
The video on Gucci.com also connects the dots, said King, as it’s accompanied by the full list of products and outfits featured in the series with links to shop. It’s reasonable to assume, however, that most of those watching the video series won’t then purchase Gucci’s $19,000 snake-embroidered dress. The millennial consumer that the brand claims to be targeting might go for the $620 pair of sneakers, though. It’s too early to see such results. Gucci’s built-in coverage for the branded-content series from Vanity Fair, Vogue, and non-high fashion magazines like GQ and Pitchfork, can raise publicity outside of regular ad campaigns (and feature more links to shop).
A behind the scenes look at #GucciStories: “The Myth of Orpheus and Eurydice” by Gia Coppola (@mastergia). Eurydice (@loudoillon) wears an oversized cardigan with embroidered bee, bird and floral detail, and Orpheus (@marcel.castenmiller) in a T-shirt with printed flowers and studs from #GucciPreFall16. #AlessandroMichele See “The Bliss” episode through link in bio.
The series was also promoted in snippets and stills across Gucci’s and Condé Nast’s social media accounts, aligning with the type of curated video content Gucci most often shares. It isn’t as readily embracing the type of video that most brands are creating to blend in on platforms like Snapchat, Periscope and Facebook Live.
“It tends to be obviously produced,” said Thomas Rankin, CEO and co-founder of Dash Hudson, an Instagram marketing platform. “They take their time to create something that feels very much in the image of Gucci rather than behind-the-scenes or on-the-fly like other brands are doing.”
According to Dash Hudson data, Gucci’s video view rate (the percentage of followers who watched a video post) on Instagram declined from 2.3 percent in December to 1.9 percent in May (Gucci has 9 million followers). The brand is also posting less on average now than it was six months ago. On Snapchat, Gucci’s account only surfaces in followers’ feeds a few times a year when they’re hosting a fashion show. Most recently, the singer SoKo took over the brand’s Snapchat account to generate buzz around the Gucci 2017 resort collection.
“A lot of people are really intrigued by the new Gucci, and with longer videos, you can actually get a grasp on the brand, which you can’t really do on Snapchat and Instagram,” said King. “People get a little sick of seeing brands all the time there.”