...says Shoppers Stop in new campaign. The retail brand appeals to young office-goers to debunk work-and workwear-myths.
Classically synonymous with the "Far West", while wholly universal, denim today is widely embraced, worn and loved all over the world and considered an unfeigned wardrobe staple. Starting with the higher echelons of fashion, making its way far down through the ranks, denim has been on quite a voyage to be woven into our social fabric. No less of a truly global phenomenon, denim has historically ruptured all possible social and geographical frontiers and has contributed its bit to major global paradigm shifts, shaping the world as we know it!
The digital film for the 'Denim to Work' campaign has been produced and directed by Mirum and the ad creatives have been created by Shoppers Stop's ad agency, Contract Advertising. Conceptualised by Mirum, the digital film aims to break down the rules laid by rigid corporate culture. The film captures young employees at various levels of hierarchy showing us how they #RIPtheDesignations to stand out in the system with their own attitude and style. The campaign has been rolled out across multimedia platforms with print, radio, outdoor, and a digital film.
A brief history: the uniform of the rebellious?
But before we dive into the details of the campaign, here are some lesser-known facts about denim:
From a workers uniform and a symbol of rebellious youth, to even being a fashion statement, denim has indeed come a long way.
The anti-conformist approach to fashion led to the popularisation of this fabric in the 90s. It strikes a nostalgic note with its slip dresses, grunge and hip-hop aesthetic taking one back to the era of Kurt Cobain, and other bad-boy music that sometimes went hand-in-glove with youth rebellion.
Denim's 'fabrication' came from a failed attempt to imitate an Italian corduroy-like fabric called Jean, made in Genoa. It was in the French town of Nîmes where weavers and tailors failed to reproduce the fabric and instead, created what we know as denim, in the form of coarse work pants.
For the record, the word "denim" refers to a type of cotton cloth called "Serge de Nîmes" which literally means "cloth from Nîmes" which is a town in southern France.
Slowly, by 1920, the US Navy and prison system adopted denim uniforms. But, it wasn't famous until the 1930s and big-screen cowboys made an impact on consumers.
In 1960, denim jeans were banned from American schools because they were synonymous with rebellion.
Cut to present-day India; a recent study reveals that the market size of Indian denim wear was estimated to be INR 20,205 crore in 2016. The market is now projected to grow at a CAGR of 14.5 per cent and reach INR 39,651 crore by 2021 and INR 77,999 crore market by 2026 (Source: India Retailing).
Shoppers Stop Speaks
When asked if he sees the campaign as a retail push, Govind Shrikhande, customer care associate and managing director, Shoppers Stop Ltd., answers, "India has more than 50 per cent of its population below the age of 25 and more than 65 per cent below the age of 35. As per a UN.org report, it is expected that in 2020, the average age of an Indian will be 29 years. There is a huge untapped market for denim as a segment. Due to growing awareness and the changing classification of a consumer's wardrobe, denims are gaining preference across age groups.
"Further, with corporates redefining the rules, the dress code is considered a freedom of expression for young professionals. With new-age companies and start-ups relaxing the norms with the introduction of Casual-Friday to work; denims, a cult fashion trend, is increasingly becoming acceptable attire at work. In line with Shoppers Stop's brand philosophy - Start Something New - we have always aimed at introducing newer fashion retail concepts and the 'Denim to Work' campaign is yet another initiative to strengthen customer connect with the brand.
"Predominantly, the denim segment has always been targeted towards youth, by the industry. With the launch of the 'Denim to Work' campaign, we're targeting the working-class population for the first time in this category," Shrikhande clarifies.
"Shoppers Stop was the first departmental store to introduce an omnichannel experience for our customers. With increasing adoption of online shopping, this campaign is focused on both, online and offline customers."
"The situations were zeroed-in keeping in mind the designations, the attitude of the film and the changing face of corporate offices," shares Naila Patel, executive creative director, Mirum India.
"More and more people in power have started creating office surroundings that encourage work and some amount of play. As our protagonists were people who followed their own rules, a green office, a foosball table and a chess board became an integral part of the script."
However, of late, in the apparel/ fashion segment, the 'being yourself' mantra has already created quite a buzz. The point it is trying to establish (challenging establishment to an extent) has already been made. We asked Patel if Mirum was a little apprehensive about sounding clichéd.
"I think there is a marked difference between the two creative routes; #DenimToWork is about extending your weekend wear to work because if work has to be creative, inspirational and brilliant, workwear should be beyond rules and clichés too."
Patel also shared that the brand's brief to the team was not that of a conventional campaign brief.
"#DenimToWork was a result of common brainstorming sessions between the agency and client. The discussion was about how to give denim a fresh lease on life in the current wardrobe choices and take it beyond the expected role it plays. It has been very interesting so far and we #DenimToWork is beyond a campaign, it is a shift in attitude."
Now let's shift our focus from the advertising bit and dissect the video by putting it the under the 'expert scanner'.
Denim was considered a startling symbol of rebellion in the West in the 90s. Shoppers Stop seems to be cashing in on that aspect after so many decades, nonetheless, the ad clearly carries many talking points like #RIPtheDesignations (debunking hierarchy) for instance.
Carlton D'Silva, chief creative officer, Hungama Digital Services, feels that in today's world of Start-ups, the approach towards business has changed and is a bit rebellious in nature (and so is the dressing) and with this campaign, Shoppers Stop has managed to identify a sweet spot that will resonate with their core TG beautifully.
"The rebellious nature continues and this also is born from an insight that in today's day and age, designations really do not need to define your dressing style. I live by this rule, I hold a high position, but I don't dress as people holding that designation would traditionally," D'Silva shares.
Do you see the recent campaign as a retail push?
D'Silva replies, "Shoppers Stop has always looked to stand out from the clutter of advertising in this space and as always, the campaign would look the same as a retail push. I do believe that if the advertising is well received (and I believe it will be), it will most definitely help in sales growth."
Jagdish Acharya, founder, creative head, Cut The Crap, points out that the 'Denim to work' campaign presents a concept like it's the next big thing in town. "But in reality, it's Rip Van Winkle having got up from a long sleep and now trying to level with the world in one fell swoop. Wearing denim to work? Where's the news in that? Now for the creative idea - it's an insight alright, that the designations have become imaginative. But, it is presented like a PowerPoint. Even the tone of voice is almost patronising. It is like believing that a really smart employee will get carried away by an unconventional designation. Will the communication work? To the extent of creating a connect between Shoppers Stop and denim, it should. But, it may not go much farther," Acharya signs off.
The 'Denim to Work' campaign has been rolled out by Shoppers Stop across its 84 stores and will curate and showcase looks that one can explore through the work week, from Monday to Friday.
'Denim to Work' is a Shoppers Stop Campaign and Pepe Jeans is a participating brand and a sponsor.