Campaigns Panel: Prada branded therapy
There’s nothing new about fashion brands making films, but most are a triumph of style over dramatic art. However, Prada decided to put Roman Polanski in the frame with leading actors Ben Kingsley and Helena Bonham-Carter for its new branded movie, A Therapy. The brand-e Campaigns Panel took a look at Prada’s handiwork.
Jackson Collins, planning director at Grey in New York, calls A Therapy, “a worthy successor to the BMW films of long ago – an engaging brand story delivered in a high-quality format.” And everyone is pretty much in agreement on this piece of branded entertainment.
“The Prada film is classy but far more ironic and a lot less po-faced than other fashion films – it works well for Prada who like to style themselves as sophisticated but more edgy and irreverent than some of their competitors,” says Sabine Stork, founding partner of Thinktank International Research. “The film may not amount to much more than a slightly longer TV ad but it stages brand and product rather cleverly and makes such a pleasant change from some of the other pretentious and tedious fashion films I’ve seen that it really doesn’t matter.”
“There’s no arguing that A Therapy by Polanski and starring Bonham-Carter and Kingsley is a cut above just about anything else I’ve engaged with lately,” says Art Zeidman, president, Americas, Unruly. “How did they get Polanski to do it? Is he in love with Prada things? As a fan of all three, I would pay to see this.”
Zeidman points out that, according to the Unruly Viral Video Chart, A Therapy has almost 20,000 shares across social media platforms, with about 550,000 views. “This means that 3.6% of those viewing this wonderful film have shared it. Compared to an Unruly benchmark of a 1% share rate, this is very strong.”
“This film puts pretty much all branded content to shame – the idea and the execution put the brand, Prada, at the heart, even when pitted against the heavyweights of Helena Bonham-Carter and Ben Kingsley,” says Nadya Powell, director of social and emerging behaviour at Dare. “The product is king, the brand essence is imbued throughout and, married with Polanski, you have something of pure joy. Few people and brands can create something of such excellence in only two minutes. Polanski and Prada have done it.”
“In doing a little Google research, I ran across an AdAge article from the summer of 2010 stating that long-form commercials with ‘genuine’ entertainment value were the latest ‘push-back’ by brands and their ad agencies,” says Richard Bates, chief creative officer at The Brand Union in New York. “The intent was to address the consumer’s ever-shrinking attention span and fragmented media consuming habits. Two years later, the long-form is nothing new and by now everyone has learned that you can’t ‘make’ a video viral. But for me, Prada’s new film, A Therapy, celebrates the brand and is self-indulgent in all the right ways.
“Luxury brands like Prada are struggling to retain their exclusivity while experimenting with online mass marketing and sales. Prada’s film sends the message that the brand is creative, confident, and can poke fun at itself and its consumer,” he adds. “The film also demonstrates that true luxury is much more than just an expensive uniform for the well-heeled. As Ben Kingsley discovers, the perfect prop can unleash our potential and allow us to imagine new possibilities. A true luxury.”
Another fashion brand pushing filmmaking in a different way is Denmark’s Only, which rolled out a film, The Liberation, aimed at really engaging its audience with teens by making it interactive.
“The Liberation positions the Only brand as one with transformative powers for the consumer,” says Zeidman. “The way in which the young female lead in this film goes from innocent, suburban teen to wild, dangerous hipster is, I am sure, very appealing to the brand’s target. Establishing this idea that your parents will be unhappy if you buy these jeans is the perfect device to move the needle for the brand.”
On the metrics side, The Liberation only has 18,000 total views, and too few shares to be measured, he adds. “This video has the right elements for shareability, but has not been seeded to influencers or distributed yet in a manner that will drive sharing.”