Beauty may attract, but it also repels.
Look at the impossibly gorgeous, 0% body-fat models in most fashion ads and you’re confronted by how different you are.
So rather than the desired response ‘that could be me’, you may think the opposite ‘no way is that me’.
It’s like a gang rejecting your membership application in real time.
The nuances of how these gangs present themselves is important.
 recent documentary showed how Ralph Lauren puts his gang together, and it wasn’t how I’d imagined.
For a start there are no mode
l books.
Many of the folks drifting through his old-money locations aren’t even models, they’ve been plucked from a variety of real life situations.
He’d spot a surfer who he felt had the right look, rub the zinc off his nose, brush the sand out of his hair and dunk him into a shiny new tuxedo.
A stone-faced Navajo Indian may be plonked onto a field dressed in Cricket Whites.

An elderly, real-life college professor was separated from his leather patched cardigan and dressed in a smoking jacket, portraying the patriarch of a vast estate in the Hamptons.

This kind of upmarket version of street casting has a lot of benefits.
The people in your ads are less likely to be in other ads, so they feel more believable.
The strange assortment
of characters inhabiting that lifestyle makes it feel more believable – the real world is inhabited by a strange assortment of characters, not models.

Don’t get me wrong, nobody will mistake these guys for anyone in a Ken Loach film, they just feel a tad more real
than the gorgeous folks in other ads.
The documentary places a lot of the credit for the success of Ralphie’s company down to this kind of advertising.
The creation of these unattainable worlds.
But I prefer the pages that follow.
Often, after you’ve seen what you can’t have, the billion dollar yachts, a smile made up from more teeth than one person should own, enough hair follicles to burn, they let you in.
Because those ads with a cool product shot with the models head lopped off.
So that I can imagine myself into that suit, shirt or whatever.

Like a million dollar version of those seaside things you stick your face through.
Making membership to that gang possible.


  1. Yes…the incomplete principle…I think Apple used it years ago when they used silhouettes to promote the new I pods…

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