Late last year, Kenzo unleashed a brand creative onslaught of viral proportions with Spike Jonze’s “Kenzo World” juggernaut, Carrie Brownstein’s directorial debut, and a collection with H&M launched by none other than Chance The Rapper, all within an eight week period. It was that kind of marketing-as-pop culture prowess that helped land the brand a spot among Fast Company‘s Most Innovative Companies of 2017, and it also raised the stakes and expectations of fans for whatever came next. Well, that wait was over this week with a new short film, this time from “Lemonade” director Kahlil Joseph with a cool, mysterious story starring Jesse Williams that just drips with style and “overt blackness throughout.” Expectations met. Onward!
What: A new short film from Kenzo that is both a work of art from director Kahlil Joseph and a lookbook for the brand’s Spring/Summer 2017 line.
Who: Kenzo, Kahlil Joseph
Why We Care: Here we get a story that revolves around Jesse Williams character seeking what appears to be Tracee Ellis Ross as someone of African royalty. The MPAA rating screen for R due to “strong language and overt blackness throughout” at the start is a nice touch, as is the sonic trip courtesy of Shabazz Palaces and Kelsey Lu.
What: The old Gray Lady is going to the Oscars with this spot that uses words to illustrate the challenge and importance of facts, and the pursuit of truth.
Who: The New York Times, Droga5
Why We Care: As I said yesterday, the Times and other legacy media organizations have been called “the opposition party,” and “enemy of the American people,” while troll-heavy, fact-challenged outlets like Breitbart and Infowars gain momentum. This ad, and perhaps more importantly the high profile venue of the Oscars, acts as a call to action, as well as a reminder that there’s a reason its been called the paper of record for more than a century. This is like the advertising version of that legendary David Carr scene in the 2011 doc Front Page.
What: A Nike Middle East ad aiming to encourage women to take part in sports no matter what others might think.
Who: Nike, Wieden+Kennedy Amsterdam
Why We Care: A regional slant on the brand’s recent “Equality” work, by asking the loaded question, “What will they say about you?” It features four Middle Eastern women who have achieved personal success in competitive and amateur sports, including parkour, fencing, boxing and ice-skating.
— mortierbrigade (@mortierbrigade) February 22, 2017
What: A concerned dad gets his little girl into the workforce early in an unexpected way, to raise awareness of the gender pay gap.
Who: Equal Pay Day Europe, Mortierbrigade Brussels
Why We Care: And you wondered who wrote those speeches…
What: A new spot for an upcoming collaboration line between Adidas Skateboarding and legendary skate photographer Ari Marcopolous.
Who: Adidas Skateboarding
Why We Care: For any major brand, keeping strong ties to the streets, the fanatics that actually create brand culture, particularly in skateboarding, doesn’t just happen. It takes effort. And this cool spot represents Adidas doing just that by partnering with photographer Ari Marcopoulos, who made a name for himself in the ’90s with a signature documentary style that really captured, and helped define, New York City skate culture. Marcopolous is no stranger to brand partners–he’s got a signature Incase camera bag, and made a book with Gucci last year–and this new Adidas collaboration (set to be revealed on February 27) includes an exclusive zine, and limited edition footwear and apparel.