Jimmy Choo, Catherine Deneuve, James Damore - Ruffling feathers?

Brand messaging has always been an amalgamation of several branding elements - In Jimmy Choo's case, it is invariably the combination of two divergent ideologies that of Jimmy Choo and Michael Kors, class and the mass. The end result is Jimmy Choo's "Shimmer in the Dark" Cruise 2018 ad commercial promoting a new sock boot featuring Cara Delevingne walking the streets of New York City at night amidst a series of catcalls(?!)- Labelled sexist, "tone deaf" and pejorative!

None of these labels defines it as much a luxury brand becoming more accessible than reserved, more mainstream than limited edition - oscillating between a sense of exclusivity and exposure, delicately striding over a visible transition. We've seen where the scales tilt with Coach acquiring Kate Spade to appeal to more millennials. 

Being in the business of messaging and an advisor to some of the top global brands, I can say without an iota of hesitation that Jimmy Choo stuck to literal messaging but they could have gone the opposite way. This advert seems so disingenuous as well as stereotypical. In hindsight, it is heavily focused on drawing external validation!

Catcalls, or the lack thereof. There is nothing in the advert that warrants criticism, remarks and judgements that it invited in a flash following a backlash on social media. 

This becomes a perfect example of how easily it is to rock the boat, ruffle feathers, walk on eggshells, and perpetuate contempt merely by positioning a brand within the competitive landscape by overriding its existing unique brand personality. 

Is that the Michael Kors effect?

Coming back to the point, people are seeking new ways to define their sense of self, they get swayed by the idea because of so much information being fed to them about the -isms, they find their greatest sense of anchorage in it, and in doing so, if their idea is not matching someone else's idea, there is definitely a conflict of ideologies. And that conflict snowballs into a fireball that can take down anyone living off the exaggerated end of it. 

Are we hell bent on tapping into the dominant culture by tilting the proverbial pyramid too fast accentuating differences that may further reinforce the structures of differentiation and discrimination? Is there a better way to level the power dynamics? We say diversity is about giving voice to the least dominant individual? Have a diminished groupthink sans all forms of tribalism? Catherine Deneuve's defending men's 'right' to chat up women in the wake of movements like #MeToo, and James Damore much publicised diversity memo - Are we reading too much between the lines? Are we?

- Amit Anand