180 Kingsday’s Tiina Salzberg explains the strategy behind the attitude-drenched new positioning that pushes back against lazy sexism
Online fashion retailer bonprix recently launched a whole new positioning and pan-European campaign. Devised by Amsterdam agency 180 Kingsday, it represents the first work the creative shop has done for the brand. And they’re off to a strong start.
180 Kingsday’s response to the brief to evolve the brand took things way beyond mere advertising, working closely with key teams at bonprix throughout the brand, e-com and operations teams to spark change at every level of the business. At its basis, the project is to challenge the pervasive misconceptions about how women look, think and live in 2018. There’s more to bonprix than meets the eye, the campaign suggests, and there’s certainly more to the women who shop there than the stereotypes say.
Tiina Salzberg, executive strategy director and head of planning at 180 Kingsday told LBB’s Alex Reeves how the campaign came together.
LBB> What was the strategic starting point on redefining bonprix around the woman of today?
TS> It started with a close look at the category. First of all, fashion almost always targets young women. Second, the way fashion brands have been portraying women is so far from what women over 30 are actually like, what they care about and how they approach anything and everything that gets thrown their way. I find the depiction of women by most fashion retailers insulting. Women are not perfect. We are not soulless. We do not spend every minute of every day thinking about how we look and how others perceive us. We just get on with it in the best way we know how, and we make a lot of mistakes along the way. That's what makes women so wonderful. We laugh, pick ourselves up and move on.
The fashion industry portrays women in a way which is completely out of touch with who women genuinely are and how we actually live our lives. We aren't perfect. Perfect is boring. Perfect is empty. We are wonderfully imperfect and damn proud of it. And there is so much more to women than the category currently portrays.
Women are sick and tired of seeing ads that don't get it, and which make us feel like we are supposed to be some societally driven idealized version of what a woman today is or should be.
LBB> Brands have tried to engage with redefining gender norms to varying degrees of success in recent years. What did you do to make sure you got it right this time?
TS> We spoke to women. Many of us are women. And many of us have been working with brands who market to women for quite some time. It is our job to get them, to understand what makes them tick, to listen in on the organic conversations between women, and to be keen and astute observers of how women live and interact with one another. We listen to real women, not just read about them in a trend report. Then critically, we need to assure that what we execute in communications captures that reality and honesty perfectly.
LBB> How does the strategy go beyond just advertising here and what was behind that decision?
TS> I have a strong belief in brands galvanizing their entire organizations. It is so important that each and every person who touches the brand feels it, understands it, identifies with it and is proud of it. This invariably then drives everything they do in their daily working lives which results in products, platforms, innovations and more which seamlessly support and further seed the brand's belief system. This strategy is a powerful reminder to all of us that women are amazing and multifaceted. This should absolutely drive anyone who works at bonprix, the mindset they embody each day and the business way forward. That's the real power of brand.
LBB> How did you come to realise the preconceptions you wanted to challenge about bonprix?
TS> The preconception was that it is for older women, housewives, boring women, etc.
Hats off go to the client on this one. It was part of the briefing and they were brave to give it to us super straight. This doesn't always happen.
LBB> Why do you think these stereotypes about women are so stubborn?
TS> Honestly? Men. Too many of them in senior positions in business and in marketing who think they know what women want and who they are and follow the lead of other brands who keep stepping into the same stereotypical and superficial traps. This is dangerous.
LBB> How did the creative idea grow out of this strategy and what most excited you about that during the process?
TS> First, this was one of the best and most collaborative approaches between strategy and creative I have ever experienced, and I believe the work demonstrates that. It was much easier in this case as well as the objective was extremely clear, as was the challenge. We were connected at the hip the entire time. We talked. A lot. And we kept finding and giving examples of women who we loved and admired for being nothing more than exactly who they are. I got excited when I realized that we were going to do something brave, distinctive and would have the power to redefine the category, to change the conversation and to hopefully even lead by example.
To add to this, we are in a very tenuous and powerful time for women. We need to keep pushing and doing more, even if it is 'just a fashion brand campaign'. But we know that there is much more to it than that.