Absolut: Expect the unexpected.

The question of whether fashion advertising can be effective if it’s disconnected from the images evoked by the advertiser’s products drew a range of responses from brand consultants, advertising executives and marketing specialists. The...

The question of whether fashion advertising can be effective if it’s disconnected from the images evoked by the advertiser’s products drew a range of responses from brand consultants, advertising executives and marketing specialists. The common thread was their strong opinions about such attempts.

This story first appeared in the July 14, 2004 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

Kevin Roberts, chief executive officer worldwide, Saatchi & Saatchi: “The Dior [swimwear] ad with a Dior-logo-wrapped surfboard is tongue-in-cheek and empathetic. Fashion is meant to stimulate you and make you feel good. I like the idea of taking people into a part of life that is unexpected and doing so with a bit of a laugh.”

Marian Salzman, executive vice president and chief strategy officer, Euro RSCG MVBMS Partners: “Diesel and FCUK are breakthrough brands — brands that disconnected to reconnect with consumers.”

Robert Passikoff, president, Brand Keys: “Marketers sometimes fall into a ‘Field of Dreams’ syndrome: This is the way we wish it would be. But consumers haven’t read a brand’s marketing plan. That’s why marketers need to have ad imagery and brand attributes line up. Dissonance is often driven by a lack of creativity…in attempts to differentiate.”

Jill Glover, president and executive creative director, Glover Group: “Loyalty is engendered by brands like Kenneth Cole, Benetton, Target and Absolut. Those brands are helped by people’s anticipation of what the brands are going to say next. People think if they associate with those brands, they can lead a creative life.”

Drew Neisser, president and ceo, Renegade Marketing: “Ralph Lauren is connecting with young people with the G.I.V.E. [Polo Jeans] campaign. Ralph has always been about connecting people with their dreams. Instead of telling them how to belong, he’s telling them how to engage. A gutsy move, as usual.”

Eric Scott, ceo, Wolff Olins USA: “You’ve got to be big, simple and true in advertising. That is true for any fashion business, whether it’s Marc Jacobs or Levi’s.”

— V.S.