Lifestyle International: Own Your Style

By Saumya Tewari , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Advertising | May 12, 2014
The fashion brand draws attention to its new spring summer collection through an ad campaign that highlights how making a style statement has everything to do with individualism.

"Fashions fade, style is eternal," said French fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent. Putting personalised style at the fore of its latest campaign is fashion retail company Lifestyle International.

Lifestyle International TVC

Lifestyle International TVC

Lifestyle International TVC

Priya Shivakumar

Srinivas Rao

In its three-film campaign (targeted at men, women and kids) titled 'StylePlay', focus is on individualism, which in this context is the individualistic sense of style one brings to a piece of clothing.

The protagonists in each film create multiple looks that reflect different occasions - looks that are tweaked as per their individual sense of style. For instance, in the film for women, the colour fluorescent green is common across most of the outfits the model flaunts.

Two things about the films caught our attention: Firstly, at an execution level, the films use moving props and have a very 'ramp walk meets Broadway musical meets local theatre' kind of feel to them. They're the kind of ads that are meant to look 'staged' and deliberately draw viewer attention to design related aspects like the sets.

Secondly, the lyrics have a strong Western touch; consider the film targeted at men for instance, which makes references to games like battleship and laser-tag, and to the concept of 'wing men' at bars. It's a reminder of how brands today have grown used to the trade-off between being aspirational and being relatable in their communication.

About the urbane treatment, Priya Shivakumar, executive creative director, JWT Bengaluru, the agency that has worked on this campaign, says, "We believe the storyline and elements that surround it, including the music, are in sync with the audiences that Lifestyle reaches out to."

"Stamp of individuality"

Going on to explain the concept, Shivakumar tells us that today's young consumers prefer to create multiple looks, depending on the occasion, by taking a garment and teaming it up with various other items/accessories. "Today, most young consumers lead multi-dimensional lives. This requires them to play different roles, sometimes in a single day," she says. The brand thus plays the role of "style enabler".

"Style is the stamp of individuality that one gives to fashion," says Shivakumar, "it is the 'me touch' that the wearer gives to the trends that are going around. Our objective was to tell people to have fun with style and use their imagination to give a unique spin to the trends available."

The agency hopes the short and notably 'digital looking' tagline #StylePlay will be used by the TG as a verb in the days to come. We think that's a good aim to have; nothing spells success like a user converting your brand name into a verb, a case in point being Google.

Besides TV, the media mix includes print, outdoor, radio, digital and in-store touch-points.

Srinivas Rao, assistant vice president, marketing, Lifestyle International, tells us the campaign is based on the consumer insights that the company's focus group interactions conducted across key markets revealed. "The way consumers interpret fashion today is different. They are imaginative while expressing their individuality and prefer mixing and matching their outfits to create a distinctive look, he says.

Rao informs us that besides Tier I cities, his brand has "substantial presence" in Tier II and Tier III towns too. "We have expanded our reach to this segment in the last three years," he shares, "We have recently opened 15 stores in cities like Amritsar, Jalandhar, Mohali, Vijaywada and Mangalore, among others." The company plans to open six to seven stores this year.

Lifestyle recently appointed Bollywood actress Deepika Padukone as brand ambassador for Melange, its in-house ethnic range for women.

Part of the Landmark Group of Dubai, Lifestyle was one of the early entrants (1999) in the Indian retail market. The category has become a lot more competitive since then. Today, besides facing competition from retail chains like Shopper's Stop (which also has an online platform) and Westside, the brand also feels the heat from online fashion retailers like Myntra and Jabong.

"A Decent Effort"

The fact that the merchandise takes centre-stage in the films is not lost on our reviewers. But does the effort really cut it?

Emmanuel Upputuru

Tushar Raut

Emmanuel Upputuru, founder, ITSA, says, "The music is good; it's pleasant and talks to the youth. The execution is also good, except one thing - I found the 'boy commercial' little poor in production value." Interestingly, the brand's attempt to keep the protagonists' basic sense of style consistent across outfits wasn't very evident to him.

The ramp, Upputuru, reminds us, has been "used and abused" in numerous ads, "including people using conference tables as ramps," he muses.

Overall, he sums up his view with, "It's an attempt to do something different, with the whole 'location changing technique' used in the films. It's a decent effort, nothing to shout out loud about. For a small brand, the communication should be about the brand alone. It shouldn't be mistaken for anything else, unless the product offering is, in itself, very unique."

As regards the overall treatment, look and feel, and execution style, Tushar Raut, founder and producer, Coconut Films, a production house, says, "I like the films, but wasn't too impressed with the execution."

Though Raut appreciates the music, the sets and the basic concept, he echoes Upputuru's view about the catwalk angle. "There have been lot of commercials in the past with the same ramp walk feel; personally, it just doesn't work for me. They should have thought of something more innovative," he critiques.

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