Fastrack’s ‘Sorry for what’: why I think it works

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Fastrack has been doing some great work over the years across media (kudos to Lowe Lintas). A lot of the work felt right in terms of the insight, while some of the creative executions (e.g. ‘Move On’) may have riled many. I was surprised to see that the account has moved to L&K Saatchi, who have created a new outdoor campaign. The ads are edgy like before and sure enough, was debated on (where else?), Twitter.

I like the ads on several counts. Firstly, they are clutter breaking. Getting noticed is the first hurdle for any advertising and these ads pass that test. It is not enough for brands to just get noticed (controversial statements or bizarre stunts do get noticed) – they need to be relevant to the audience. My hunch is that both the proposition (being rebellious, unapologetic for their choice or actions) and the execution (bold, bordering on the bizarre, style statements) are relevant to the audience they are meant to.

Fastback Sorry For What

Not all of those who are exposed to the advertising are its audience – a lot of us will feel uncomfortable looking at the advertising, even repulsed. The same can be said of some of the previous executions. They have all touched upon topics which a particular generation or mindset will frown upon, dislike or disagree: live in relationships, experimenting with relationships and challenging societal conventions.

Controversial advertising has been the hallmark of brands like United Colours of Benetton and Diesel too. Between the two, I thought UCB resonated more because they attempted to touch upon topics of the day – be it AIDS, racism or birth control. Similarly, I feel Fastback ads will resonate with a certain section of the brand audience, arguably the influential set. But isn’t a brand meant to appeal to a widest possible section of the audience? Yes, but in fashion where trends matter, trend setters matter too. And trends are set by the few who ‘matter’.

I also believe that a large section of the brand’s potential buyers will buy into the idea of rebellion but not necessarily be rebels themselves. And definitely unlikely to make fashion statements like those shown in the Fastback ads. Also not every reader of Femina is a ‘woman of substance’; not every user Axe is a ‘chick magnet’.

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