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Marc Jacobs gathers artists’ points of view in original composition

Sharleen Chidiac for Marc Jacobs' "The A-Z of Music"


U.S. fashion label Marc Jacobs is educating consumers on the breadth of musical techniques employed by artists through a partnership with i-D magazine.

“The A-Z of Music” gathered 26 talents both up-and-coming and established and asked them to describe their music in one letter of the alphabet. This homage to the art form of music reflects the brand’s love of music, which it says is an ever-present source of inspiration.

"Music and fashion go hand-in-hand because they are artforms for creative expression," said Romey Louangvilay, chief curator and director of digital marketing at Curate Directive, New York. "Musicians express their feelings and emotions through the lyrics, beats and music arrangement the same way designers express them through the fabric choices, silhouette and overall design of their garment.

"Marc Jacobs incorporating music exploration is an excellent decision to express his latest collection beyond visuals and transcend to people's ears."

Mr. Louangvilay is not affiliated with Marc Jacobs, but agreed to comment as an industry expert. Marc Jacobs was reached for comment.

Musician medley

This project is a Marc Jacobs-sponsored edition of i-D’s existing video series A-Z. Musician and producer Dave Harrington oversaw the film, which was directed by Sam de Jong.

The video runs through the alphabet in order, from afropunk to zing. Each artist profiled performs or talks about their preferred technique in a short clip, each of which was recorded live.

Sadaf for Marc Jacobs' A-Z of Music

Creating a sense of cohesion between the styles profiled, the compiled clips were then overlaid and combined to form a unique track. Country blends with dancefloor, while a harmonic harp underscores an emotional gospel composition performed a capella by a single voice.

As a saxophonist demonstrates “improvised,” jazz musician Roy Ayers appears on-screen to put in his two cents.

While many letters cover widely recognized genres, others focus on aspects of the artist’s work, whether “quiet,” “protest” and “who needs labels.”

Marc Jacobs’ film is housed on its Web site, with teasers on social media linking to the content. A dedicated page holds additional campaign elements, including photos and the names of the collaborators.

i-D x Marc Jacobs Present: the A-Z of Music

Consumers who are interested in learning more about a particular artist can click on their included Instagram handles to be taken to their accounts.

On Vice Media-owned i-D's Web site, the film is presented as a sponsored post. Display advertising also directs readers to the film.

"The Marc Jacobs brand is known to be a bit rebellious and out of the box in the fashion industry," Mr. Louangvilay said. "By incorporating music, the brand just further communicates that Marc Jacobs is all about creative exploration, and the brand encourages you to follow your own style instead of the norm, similarly to how musicians tend to want to make their own rules in their songs."

Musically minded
This is not Marc Jacobs' first foray into music.

The brand continues to intertwine its brand with music, personifying an alternative and trendy image and leaning on celebrity appearances.

Marc Jacobs has been connecting with music further and further, and its latest is a campaign video for its latest collection that views more like a music video than an advertisement and debuted on Billboard magazine. Celebrities such as Missy Elliott, Susan Sarandon and Marilyn Manson make appearances sporting alternative, borderline gothic makeup and fashion while moving to an upbeat song (see story).

Sponsored content is helping brands reach consumers where more traditional marketing is failing.

Marketers’ efforts to circumvent ad-blocking are showing signs of being effective, with one new report revealing that branded content is driving higher brand recall than pre-roll ads for some while separate research found that sponsored posts on Instagram are hitting the mark.

Mobile-equipped consumers are hungry for engaging content but not interested in annoying ads. With these same consumers spending a significant chunk of their media time on mobile, savvy marketers are doubling down on their content marketing programs, with separate research from Nielsen and Markerly suggesting initial success (see story).

"By associating with music, Marc Jacobs is definitely crossover into an audience who may already be familiar with his brand, but now, they are more open to listening to see what he has coming out," Mr. Louangvilay said. "It makes it more appealing to a mass audience while maintaining its luxe appeal."