Stüssy with “Strip for Likes” – does sex sell at least “likes”?

Stussy Strip for Likes Model Advertisement
Stussy Strip for Likes Model Advertisement
Stussy Strips Model for Likes on Facebook

Via this tweet by Florian Schleicher aka @_whoelse on twitter, I learned about the “Stüssy-Amsterdam strip for likes” campaign. Called the “Model Strips for Likes” by AdRants, it just goes to show that the point of advertising is frequently not advertising at all, but to cause a stir to sell more product. To garner attention for your brand to sell more.

If you are Coca-Cola then when you advertise it is probably advertising to keep your name out there. As Ries and Ries would say, an established brand defends their market position with advertising but builds it with PR. If you are a brand on a budget then it really isn’t advertising; it’s PR. It’s not social media; it’s PR. A stunt using social media as a vehicle, a tactic, as part of a larger PR strategy.

And OK, maybe this article won’t will improve your sex life (as published in PR Strategist). And yet it got read and maybe somebody got laid and the content really does help your business. #guilty

The bad news is it takes 10 years to build a brand and you better have some great PR to get there. And then you better have a budget to defend that position with advertising or an even more amazing PR team to keep your name out there. I know from firsthand experience. In Houston the brand Schipul is quite well known after 14 years. We are “THE Web Marketing Company” and yes I stole that from Chomsky. But when I say our name in San Francisco, while the techies and creatives (sometimes) know the “Schipul Brand“, the businesses and normal people do not. On the West Coast and in Silicon Valley they call us Tendencii for the software we wrote that powers so many non-profits.

Cool. I’m fine with that. I embrace the (brand) position in the mind of the consumer. Call us whatever you wish. Let us focus in and pound on that brand message until our own brand manager is sick of hearing it. Then, and only then, is it remotely possible that the audience vaguely heard it.

Feel free to disagree with the values espoused by Stüssy, that a facebook-like is like losing a hand at strip-poker (sidenote: if I was one of the people in the photos on wikipedia for strip poker, I’d tell every one of my GrandKids just to show how “cool” I was back in the day. Every. Single. Family. Reunion. “Hey, did you know I’m in on Wikipedia under Strip Poker?” Actually, that sounds kind of creepy. Never mind. But I bet the people in the photos do. #heh).

But you can’t say the sensationalism doesn’t work. Here I am blogging about some random fashion brand I never heard of that makes puffy clothes. Really? I can’t even type that kind of “U” – I had to copy and paste it so it had the funny marks “ü“ above it.

And as consumers clearly we can’t say we are offended about “sex sells” when one of the most watched shows every year is the Victoria Secret fashion show. Turn up the volume and the dialog is very pro-women and supportive (I can say that because my wife said it so I’m just repeating what she said. Cool Rach? The “a-the woman-said-it-first-defense” for those keeping score.)

As far as getting a model to strip, well, it doesn’t take much to get Google to give you every fanciful photoshopped whatever whatever. There has to be some further “esprit de corps” among the Stussy fans to achieve this “goal” – no matter how pointless it is. As Stussy’s model levels-down her clothing the fans level-up (as in WOW? When the fans are one google search away from Kate Moss? Can they not afford $300 for a collectible (?!?) copy of Madonna’s book on Amazon? Or at least use the google?)

I really don’t know. But clearly there is more to the situation than the fountain pen where the pin-up bikini disappears when you turn it upside down. It is the participatory, I click and things change, aspect that seems to be at work here. Fan this page until she’s too sexy for her shirt. (zOMG, they updated the “too sexy” video too. Who knew?)

No, I really don’t get it. And no, I am not going to “like” Stüssy‘s page in the vain hope that another skinny model will reveal herself. Absolutely no shortage of that.

Regarding Victoria Secret and The Limited Brands, Russell James does a great job of engaging photographers and models through facebook with his behind the scenes and insights into photography on his Facebook page and on twitter as NomadRJ. And as a photographer I don’t find those offensive.

GoDaddy is the classic example of sex-to-sell controversy. And they do it year after year. At this point my bet is they just call the SuperBowl Ad Committee and say “Do we really have to submit 5 ridiculously over-the-top advertisements for you to reject publicly or can we just issue the press release and give you the real ad?” I do wish we saw more of Danica Patrick in the winners circle than dancing with the Pussycat Dolls though.

Then there was the Danish (fake) Mother looking for her one night stand. To sell tourism. Ya, bet that went over GREAT in the homeland. And now we have Stüssy with “Strip for Likes” Is this progress? I think not.

The funny part is as I type this Stussy only has about 3k followers. You’d think for the flak they will take for this that they might be up farther. On the other hand, the clothing looks kind of stuffy and I’m from Texas and have no need for it. #meh

In conclusion, my position remains, as a society we need more breasts, and a lot less violence, especially against women. But I am not about to suggest that my clients mount a strip-for-likes campaign. I don’t think it will work, and it’s stupid. So there is that.

(Via Florian Schleicher aka @_whoelse on the Twitter (me too!)

Economics DO Matter for your Brand – Learning from GM

GeneralmotorsbrandofprogressGeneral Motors, the once might house of vehicle brands, is ailing.  Primarily in my opinion from poor economics.  They have been writing checks they can’t cash in the form of expected future growth (pensions, union agreements, etc.) and unrealistic forecasts while stepping away from pricing theory.  The bankruptcy of Adelphia left everyone wondering when GM would fail driving them to actually run ads countering the notion of a GM bankruptcy.  (image info below)

That said, strong brands could have helped GM prevent the pending train wreck futureliner crashThe Rieses have fun with the lack of consistent brand identify of GM product lines in their book "The Origin of Brands".  And Rance Crain is piling on with his latest article in AdAge.com

GM’S REAL BANKRUPTCY IS IN FAILING TO DISTINGUISH BRANDS
Automaker Considers Ad Campaign to Adress Bankruptcy Rumors
January 23, 2006, Rance Crain

General Motors is considering an ad campaign to dispel the widespread notion it might go bankrupt. “As much as I hate to do this, we’re probably going to have to do something proactively on the marketing side just to address that issue,” GM’s marketing boss, Mark LaNeve, told The Wall Street Journal. “How you do that, I don’t know. It’s a tough thing because you really don’t want to go there.”

GM doesn’t need to go there. What it needs to do, in a forceful and surefooted way, is trumpet the new vehicles that are coming on line, talk about how it’s lowering prices across the board to be an attractive buy without incentives, and, in general, act like a winner. And please, no more whining about how it’s got to create a level playing field to compete. (more)

As for the top image, that is a screen shot of a web site that has images of the GM Futureliners from the 1930s linked from BoingBoing and a variety of other blogs.  I chose it because the irony of such forward future thinking crossed with the current situation for GM illustrates where they have stepped away from the heart of the brand.  From http://www.metafilter.com/archived.mefi/12/1/2002:

The GM Futureliner It began with the Streamliner and GM’s 1936 Parade of Progress, the brainchild of inventor Charles F. Kettering. The show was a tremendous success. Redesigned in 1941 and again in 1953, the 12 Futureliners and its band of Paraders were ready to hit the road, set up shop in a town near you, and showcase the marvels of science. Of the original 12 built, 9 have been found, 2 are being used for parts, 1 is for sale, and 1 is being lovingly restored by a group of volunteers. [more inside]
posted by snez at 12:45 PM PST

For those of you interested in the future, consider attending the IABC event in Houston tomorrow with Dr. Peter Bishop.  More info on that in full microformat hCal glory.

Riding the Future’s Waves of Creative Destruction
Dr. Peter C. Bishop Futurist, and Associate Professor in the College of Technology and Coordinator of the graduate program in Futures Studies
University of Houston

Thu 26-Jan-06 11:30 AM to Thu 26-Jan-06 1:00 PM