Balenciaga- my two cents from my career in advertising

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    • #19916 Quote

        Hey all,


        We have a deep dive on the Balenciaga situation on this week’s pod. We’ll post that for you guys early – probably today.

        But I wanted to share my two cents as a person who has worked in advertising and marketing my entire 20+ year career. I have done TV and print and worked with top tier photographers and directors (some whose names you’d recognize) on campaigns that cost over $1million to create before even a cent is spent to air the ads on tv or to put them into magazines. Here are a few of my thoughts:

        • For any campaign, and Holiday would be considered big, a team from the advertiser (in this case Balenciaga) ALWAYS approves everything before the shoot – the model, the layout, the general props, and of course the storyboards. Sometimes but not always, there is a corporate lawyer who also has to approve the idea, because there are standards and practices that all advertisers have to go by, especially to air stuff on tv. I remember early in my career working on an animated ad, and the ad had to be changed last minute because the cartoon character was on a bike and we didn’t put a helmet on him – and the client’s lawyer was the one who called that out.
        • With fashion especially, it’s not just the marketing team who is approving these ads, it’s usually the brand’s top creative person or head designer, which is why I think no one has been fired yet.
        • Then, when the actual shoot is happening, there’s almost always a person or team on set from the client (in this case, it would be Balenciaga). If they aren’t there in person, they’re remotely approving everything to make sure “the boards get shot”, which means that the team on set gets all the shots that were agreed to during the storyboard/concept stage.
        • There are special laws about working with children, so there’s absolutely no way that they decided last minute to pop some kids into these images.
        • I will say that often, the production company who the client hires to help the photographer with the lighting, shoot setup, scheduling, etc will be the one to obtain the props. So, Balenciaga’s claim that they didn’t look at the papers or the diploma could be plausible. However I don’t think it’s “just a coincidence” that the court papers were referring to child pornography and the diploma had the name of an accused child abuser on it. Someone did that on purpose. And ultimately, Balenciaga is responsible for content that goes out in their name.

        Just a few thoughts, knowing how these kinds of ad shoots work. What do you all think?

      • #20063 Quote

          Thanks for sharing your experiences Amanda, very insightful! The first thing I said when I heard about this was “do you know how many eyes had to see this before it got photographed and then printed!?” I’ve spent decades in pharma marketing, a highly regulated environment as well and you validated what many have guessed. The other thing I wanted to add was that these campaigns begin to be conceptually planned 9-12 mos ahead of time. I can’t help but wonder if there was any creative involvement by a certain designer that’s no longer affiliated with them. Think about the contradiction of ending your partnership with this controversial partner over comments made (rightfully so by the way), but at the same time knowing this campaign was about to hit the public. There has to be more to this story and deeper implications than we think. Missan Harriman, a famed fashion photographer has come out condeming what’s happened and validates the process involvement from the photographers perspective

          In a time when we cancel people daily for far less, I can’t believe Balenciaga isn’t being dragged through the streets on fire.

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