Text by Bethany Rex
The importance of creativity in advertising has been widely recognised for decades. A creative ad campaign has to be both divergent and relevant. It is a difficult scale to balance and the failures certainly outweigh the triumphs. Advertising is about more than promotion of any given product; it’s centred on communicating a message, managing expectations, and brand positioning. There is no measure of success, however any advertising campaign that succeeds in stimulating interaction between these three subsystems: creator, domain and field, is certainly moving in the right direction.
In reality, creativity is a multi-dimensional phenomenon and creativity in marketing communications does not function in isolation. That’s the best thing about it for audiences and marketers; it’s about putting creativity to the test. With advertising, the creator alone is not the sole determinant. Thousands of individuals come together to decide whether or not the idea of novel enough for their consumption. Will you or will you not share this video on your social networks? None of this is a secret; most brands are selling a lifestyle not a product but there are a handful who do so in a way that isn’t brash, presumptive or condescending. In fact, it’s a pleasure to be sold these ideals. Coggles is one such brand.
The Coggles site does not only carry clothing brands such as APC, Comme de Garcons, PPQ and Sam Edelman but also features furniture, vintage pieces, bicycles and music. Coggles has taken this concept of selling a style, rather than fashion one step further by including images of self-styled young men and women on their site, taken by photographer Nick Scaife. Having shot over 1,000 individuals over the last two years, Coggles have now commissioned three short films which these well-dressed tastemakers. Produced by filmmaker, Terry Hall, we can here offer you a glimpse at the first film which takes as its subject Jean-Michel Basquiat fan and Central Saint Martins fashion student, Olubiyi. Terry has also taken time out of a very busy schedule to talk to Aesthetica about the project. The final two films in the series will be on the Aesthetica Blog in the following months.
A: Firstly, could you talk us through the concept behind this series?
TH: The idea was to expand upon Coggles’ extensive street style archive by creating a series of individual video portraits. These films could be about anything, something that they wanted to share that would give us a little insight into the person behind the photograph.
A: Who was responsible for the styling of the films?
TH: Each person we worked with was asked to style themselves for the shoot. We gave them the option to choose pieces from the Coggles collections which they could use with their own personal wardrobe items, or not, it was totally their choice. I think that is one of the great things about Coggles’ street style archive; it stays true to the original concept of street style which is about championing the individual and this idea of personal style was incredibly important to us when we were making the films.
A: Going back a few years, The Sartorialist was pretty much the only street style photographer of note. Now the street style blog is ubiquitous, with superstars from the bloggersphere making their way onto the highstreet (Elin Kling for H &M) even. What is it about these three individuals that makes them stand out from the madding crowd?
TH: Just looking through the original street style photos there are people that obviously jump out and make you think they’d make a great film but during the casting process our opinions changed. I think the way people behave can be almost as important to their style as the clothes they wear. Each of the three people we selected had that little, extra something.
This idea of a person’s behaviour is interesting in the wider context of fashion film vs photography. As more editorial work becomes time based, models will have to do much more than capture a single moment in a still image. They will have to become performers.
A: As a commercial filmmaker, do you have an outlet for your more creative thoughts and ideas?
TH: Music videos and fashion film are a great way of making more avant-garde ideas but without good funding it is becoming more and more difficult to create really outstanding work. I think the commercials industry is a lot more open to creative work than it used to be plus there is money there to really develop a project and collaborate with lots of talented people.
A: Was there one short that you found most challenging to make?
TH: Olubiyi’s was probably the toughest. It was the day after the police had cracked down on the rioters and we were walking around Hackney with camera equipment wondering if it was the right thing to do.
A: Can you describe the creative process for you?
TH: It changes depending on what I’m working on but usually I will try and gather as much information about the subject: reading as much as I can and collecting images. This will usually set me off on a number of tangents that I’ll research further and the first initial ideas will emerge. Then I’ll go through everything and try to bring it all together in one finished piece.
A: Finally, what does 2012 have in store for you?
TH: I’m waiting to hear back on a couple of commercial projects plus I’ve just started work on the second series of the Coggles Street Style films. Plus I really want to make a short film this year as well.