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By: Bates CHI & Partners

Fashion e-tailer Jabong has continued its ‘Be You’ campaign with a new brand film. The music video style commercial is shot indoors with models of all shapes, sizes, looks and make-ups. Many of their diverse looks go against conventions, such as men wearing articulate nose rings and women wearing green lip-stick. The commercial, which is getting positive reactions on social media, is directed by London-based film and art director Harvey B Brown.

In September last year, Swedish fashion giant H&M launched a 90-second film with common people making fashion faux pas such as wearing pink over red and socks in sandals. It was laced with Iggy Pop’s powerful voiceover, talking of breaking rules and wearing what you want. I don't know if they inspired this work, but it’s surely inspiring by itself.

Gurgaon based fashion e-tailer Jabong has been among the early movers in India, and while I don’t want to get into numbers, it enjoys a good recall among its TA, along with Myntra, for all things fashion. So why is a fashion brand telling us to be ourselves? Shouldn’t it be telling us what to wear?

The simple answer is because it’s cool, once in a while, and it easily puts it into the mature/responsible/inclusive category. Jabong had last year released a more easy-going anthem talking about ‘being you’, and it also runs a magazine (a neatly designed one) flaunting colourful celebrities. This time, it has upped the scales and continued the campaign with an ear to the ground and an imported director known for his acclaimed work for D&G, Mont Blanc and more.

Why do I feel its ear is to the ground? The core thought of the campaign is being comfortable in whatever you wear, i.e. whoever you are. Look around the headlines of any week in the past two years and you’d find the young rebelling against restrictive notions of ‘what to wear’ and ‘how to look’. That’s just my perspective, but if you junk the gyan, the film still stands out powerfully because of its production design – bling, kitschy and abstract.

And like Iggy Pop’s voice exhorted us to break rules, the voice here, blending with lovely electronica and an old Hindi number, too politely asks detractors to stay away from judgments. My favourite line is ‘You don't have to call me pretty, you don't get to call me ugly.’

The campaign is reportedly a 360-degree one, but I don't see too much of it on Jabong’s Facebook page, which I suppose is a critical communication platform. The commercial has however made a splash in conversations and will go long in camouflaging the fact that Jabong is actually promoting consumerism by telling you look good in fashionable gear. Boom, good job!



(To watch this film and Jabong’s past works, go to its YouTube channel ‘JabongIndia’)



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