I was privileged enough to receive an invite to an event that is very exciting to me the Re-Launch of Wrangler Jeans at the Turbine Hall.
All the Ingredients were there for something special. A great location, good food, open bar and of course some of the most special and historical denim wear available. It didnt go according to plan though, not for me anyway.
I have pretty specific ideas of what Wrangler represents. I see: horses, cowboys, leather, hay bales, Steve McQueen, wheat farms, rodeos. That is not what I got from this brand and from the people who represent it. The two brand ambassadors I met were some of the most effeminate men I have ever met. I take zero issue with effeminate or Meterosexual men. I can tell you one thing though, they do not, for one second represent the brand accurately. Quite the reverse.
The stage area was nicely put together, a bit fancy but good. There was some sort of fake corrugated iron backstage with fake rust. Fake is not a word I associate with Wrangler. The lighting was professional and again fancy. Fancy is not a word I associate with Wrangler. Giant flatscreen tv's with slow motion images were also a bit off brand, but even I can accept that that is just a sign of the times and it would be ridiculous for me to complain about that.
Then the MC for the night Catherine Grenfell from 5FM (I know thats who she was cos this was her intro "HI I'm Catherine Grenfell from 5FM") came on and told us some saccharine story about her mommies jeans which came across as false and sycophantic.
We were then treated to what was actually quite an interesting story about denim from a denim connoisseur, cant remember his name but he was pretty cool. He could not speak for shit and read the entire 15 minute speech off of a piece of paper, apologising every 3 minutes for the length of the speech.
The show then began, uninspiring styling but the clothes themselves were great, which was to be expected. I really do love Wrangler jeans. The models were primped and proper, with some revolting over acting. JUST WALK UP THE FUCKING RAMP. DONT STARE PEOPLE IN THE EYE. THE SHOW IS NOT ABOUT YOU!
Then Arno Carstens came on ... and I left.
So I have been extremely harsh. I understand that. The problem is I dont get how people can so deeply misunderstand the brand they work for. I have worked for brands in the past that are not "me" and have done my research and understood them, embraced the ideas and tried to not "fake" my way through it. These people understand their brand but their brains live in Sandton.
Here is my final suggestion if Wrangler are to do this again:
Location: Find somewhere rough and ready. Turbine was pretty rad, but a bit too fancy.
Lighting: A few lamps scattered around the place giving ambient light and perhaps a spot light to follow the models up and down the ramp. (yes ... 1 model at a time)
Models: get some rough ass skinny farmer boys with moustaches or beards. No professionals, no celebrities.
Drinks: Bourbon and one non alcoholic
Food: burgers (the food at the launch was perfect)
Music: get a hard ass blues/rock n roll band
MC: How about a tattoo artist who is a bit rough around the edges, but friendly and easy to look at.
Rant over, good luck Wrangler I hope you succeed.
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