Let’s talk about fashion. To be specific, let’s talk about Replay Jeans™ because, as their corporate profile elegantly stipulates: “Jeans are perhaps the only truly successful alchemy of the individual and the universal, because every pair exclusively mirrors and represents the wearer – just like a strand of DNA.”
Such poetic interpretations of casual denim elevate jeans unto something more metaphysical, something beyond just clothing.
Truth is that Replay Jeans―a European brand that sold its products to gullible Euro kids by implementing a completely Americanised promotional tone―is arguably one of the most fantastic manipulators of consumer awareness that ever existed. To follow Replay Jeans’ advertising campaigns is to learn something about how much brands will alter their approaches to selling stuff in accordance to generational attitudes and expectations.
To illustrate, we need to examine:
Exhibit – A
Exhibit – B
Ain’t these a pair that totally sum up the generational shift from X to Y? Notice how the actual product being sold never feature in the commercials. Why is that? Well, it’s because Generation X’s young populace was a different breed. They were a generation that strived to not ‘sell out,’ and to keep things ‘real.’ They were more than willing to buy shit they didn’t need but demanded a degree of artifice on part of the seller, a level of chicanery whereby they were happy to be exposed to brand awareness as long as it was masqueraded in layers of earnestness and value-positive messages. Therefore, monochrome vignettes of a stand-up comic wanting to extol the virtues of respecting ones parents and sepia coloured clips of a young man caught in some existential travelogue was all the rage for Generation X. Materialism was cool as long as the advertiser contemporaneously stuck two fingers up at it.
To bring this argument full circle, click:
Exhibit – C
It’s still Replay Jeans pretending to be all-American but notice how much of the seriousness has been dialled down. This new Replay commercial for 2012 puts jeans at the core and embellishes it with big explosions and silliness. There is barely a frame in which denim and/ or flannel doesn’t take centre stage. This is Replay Jeans for Generation Y, a young populace that’s totally cool with being a bunch of ‘sell-outs.’ Generation Y is completely comfortable with the prospect of brands selling them shit they don’t need and they will not coerce the manufacturer into feeling guilty about promoting its overpriced products to them just as long as it’s fun to watch. In that sense Generation Y is arguably more honest than its predecessor, albeit, somewhat less overtly demanding and conceited.
Looking at the Replay Jeans commercials for its Generation X audience is a reminder of just how much trends have changed yet remained totally the same in other respects. There’s slight suspicion that had either of those first two adverts been made in 2012 then both protagonists would be caked in tattoos and superficial attitudes. The meditative comedian of Exhibit A will have to find something cooler to do than go on a road trip with his kid. Rather than coming home and mumbling sweet nothings to his implausibly young parents, one suspects that Exhibit B will now be about some dude who puts on a pair of jeans and goes partying with hot chicks in exotic destinations. Both these Replay Jeans commercials are as corporate as Exhibit C, but there’s something absorbing about them, perhaps even meaningful.
One suspect that the branding of Replay Jeans will forever evolve, though its fake American stance and phoney messages about how denim is close to Godliness will never alter. If every generation has its own sound then every generation also has its jeans, only the material stays the same, the ways to get you to buy them modifies.