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Chanel picks black-and-white for collection, film to highlight tradition

June 20, 2012


French fashion label Chanel is pushing a new black-and-white film via social media to raise awareness for its new Ultra jewelry collection and to serve as a reminder of simplicity, one of its core design principles.

“Ultra – A Story of Contrasts” shows the new ring collection on the hand of a woman and in various settings, all shot at high contrast. The black-and-white palette is representative of the House of Chanel, per the label, and this campaign is also a way for the label to push its brand image as many fashion houses are doing with social video.

“Chanel is such a visually-appealing brand and, from its cosmetics to its accessories to the apparel, visually showcasing its products is the most effective way to market them,” said Christine Kirk, CEO of Social Muse Communications, Los Angeles.

“Instead of telling consumers about its products, with this video, Chanel is showing them the beauty of the ring collection,” she said. “If pictures speak a thousand words, a video speaks a million.

“The video did an excellent job of featuring the versatility of the Ultra ring collection and how each piece can be worn individually, stacked together and mixing with colors.”

Ms. Kirk is not affiliated with Chanel, but agreed to comment as an industry expert.

Chanel declined comment.

Simply Chanel
Chanel is starting with digital channels for its campaign for the Ultra jewelry collection, including a new video released June 15, a campaign image and a feature on its Web site.

The collection is a harmonious balance of beauty and strength and stands out with unparalleled graphic style, per Chanel.

The pieces are made from 18-carat white gold over a black or white ceramic base and some contain diamonds. There are 22 rings, five bracelets and four necklaces in the collection.

Ultra ring 

The "Ultra – A Story of Contrasts" video seems to be the center of the campaign. It starts by showing one of the Ultra rings on a woman’s hand buttoning a coat.

Since the video is in black-and-white and at high contrast, the hand appears to be white and the jacket is very dark.

The screen switches to multiple shots over approximately 40 seconds while playing soft, futuristic music.

For instance, the second scene shows a stark white chair with a matching white flower. A hand wearing an Ultra ring descends to pick it up.

Ultra video 

In addition, the rings are shown hanging on intertwined pieces of black string on a white background.

Ultra video 

Chanel teased the video June 9 on its Facebook page with a 12-second piece from the film. On June 15, the label released the full version.

Ultra video 

Not all black-and-white
Chanel seems to be sparking curiosity among its followers to go to the jewelry section of its Web site where it is presenting photos, product information and the inspiration behind the Ultra collection.

Meanwhile, Chanel released an image of a model wearing an Ultra ring via Facebook and Twitter, which it will probably use in high-end print publications as it did with its 1932 Collection.

Ultra campaign image 

A 1932 collection ad appeared in the May issue of Vanity Fair in which Chanel also took out ads for its Coco Mademoiselle fragrance (see story).

Short films without concrete intentions have been surfacing from luxury brands, likely to bring consumers' focus to a product line and brand lifestyle simultaneously.

A video clip could be considered more powerful than ad imagery since video is becoming an accessible medium among luxury consumers of all ages.

Ultra-luxe brands including Louis Vuitton, Bottega Veneta, Burberry, Marc Jacobs and Dolce & Gabbana are all pushing short films set to music this quarter.

For example, Louis Vuitton is showcasing its classic board game case covered in the signature Damier checkerboard pattern in a 60-second animated film that the label presented to its online magazine subscribers and social media fans. The video was produced to show how games are part of human history (see story).

In addition, Burberry is rolling out a four-part autumn/winter 2012 video series set to a soundtrack of music by Roo Panes, who models apparel and accessories in the campaign images and videos alongside British actress Gabriella Wilde.

The label made its silent film shoppable, so consumers can view and buy items from the collection while viewing the videos via the Burberry ecommerce site (see story).

Since Chanel is focusing on simplicity, a video without distractions such as speaking and color was probably its strategy.

“The video brings a creepy vampire feel, which I think was a good move at reaching the young adult demographic,” said Hunter Hopkins, cofounder/CEO of Divvify, New York.“The contrast of the greyscale was a good choice in displaying the rings.

“We as humans react intensely on visually-stimulating marketing strategies like this,” he said. “I believe you can sell a product and sell it well with zero words exchanged.

“The future of ecommerce lies in videos and pictures with zero descriptive words, since it all lies in visual stimulation.”

Final Take
Tricia Carr, editorial assistant on Luxury Daily, New York