It's de rigeuer for marketers to roll their eyes at the mention of print advertising. Print seems prehistoric in an age of mobile.
Except that furniture design firm Hellman-Chang has proven all us lemmings wrong with this breathtaking ad. Why it rocks:
The copy wisely holds back
Coco Chanel once said, 'Elegance is refusal'. There was a lot of refusal with the ad copy -- a very astute decision. No superlatives, no explanations, just pretty much a caption.
The visual makes you take a second, then a third look
We have two dudes in expensive-looking suits wielding sanders in a gritty workshop. Who wouldn't be intrigued?
If you didn't know who these two men were, your eye would be traveling around the picture, looking for clues about their identity and story. There's lots of wood, sawdust on the floor, bolts of fabric above, and oh -- there's a chair frame at the corner.
The proverbial light bulb goes off. They make furniture. In the USA. Pretty impressive in an age of Ikea.
It all makes sense now, except for one thing: Who on earth wears suits in a woodworking shop? Is it an affectation?
You're forgiven if you miss the tiny, tiny credit at the bottom right hand corner of the ad: 'Wardrobe provided by Canali'.
And this is what's most striking about Hellman-Chang's ad:
The approach flies squarely into the face of current group think
This must be the quietest brand collaboration in the history of all collabs. No logos? What a waste of ad dollars!
But is it really?
True luxury -- what the Hellman-Chang ad communicates so eloquently -- is made-in-America artisanship being on par with the Canalis of this world. They're so in the same league there's absolutely no need to trumpet the collaboration; only those in the know would understand the connection.
We've all been pummeled senseless by collaboration static. Restraint is actually refreshing, in the same sense that Lady Gaga can only shock now by turning up in conventional clothing.
The dated-ness of a medium is irrelevant if a brand has a strong sense of self. And Hellman-Chang has it in spades.
We need more ads, in fact more marketing like this. Don't you agree?
See more of Style and Sawdust, Hellman-Chang's campaign with Canali, here.