For an industry that prides itself on being ahead of the curve when it comes to marketing the fashion industry is far from on trend. Undervalued by advertising agencies and underserved by the in-house teams and graphic designers it relies on, photographer Rankin reckons it’s an industry filled with the “same old shit” and calling out for the help of his production-led offering The Full Service.
Speaking to The Drum ahead of the agency’s first 2017 launch – a spring/summer campaign for footwear brand Dune (teaser below) – Rankin explains he’s had enough of watching big agencies treat fashion and beauty brands like the C-List, despite professing to want these kids of clients.
“They treat them like a joke and don’t take it seriously, and it’s really petty,” he argues. “Fashion is such a massive industry and it’s so important to so many people. Consumers have become so much more aware of it with celebrities and designers, even fashion shows in themselves have become events but the advertising industry has missed the boat – they just don’t see it.”
Launched a little over two years ago, The Full Service has taken things up a notch appointing former Grey business director, Maruska Mason, as managing director to take the agency from being a “little side project extension of Rankin” to a serious contender.
“We’re on the cusp of a big change for advertising and we’re tapping into that here,” comments Mason. “The days of a single TV ad or visual are gone and what clients need is cost-effective solutions and lots of content because consumers want content and brands need to live up to that demand.”
Inspired by a Coco de Mer shoot with Walter Campbell and TBWA in 2015 Rankin says it opened his eyes to what was possible by having several creatives working on creating content for a brand at the same time making use of the downtime and creating much-needed assets for the client, with Mason pointing out that by taking this approach the Dune shoot, which would usually have taken four or five days, was cut to two.
“There’s a real issue with time, things are constantly changing. In the old days you could spend half a year writing a strategy and you can’t do that anymore,” Mason says. “We’re able to give brands something within a couple of months, whereas bigger agencies could spend that just coming up with a concept.”
Likening his role at shoots to being a conductor of an orchestra or choir, Rankin laughs: “It’s organised, but amazingly chaotic at the same time which makes agencies a little nervous. The creatives hate having no control, but that’s the whole point, you don’t need to have control over everything you just need to create stuff.”
Of what the clients think of this ‘organised chaos’ Rankin enthuses that they love it. “It’s rock and roll, they can just see shit happening around them and the proof is in the pudding he says,” adding that when Dune founder and executive chairman, Daniel Rubin, visited the spring/summer shoot he likened it to Hollywood.
Starring Game of Thrones actress Nathalie Emmanuel the Dume creative is set against a backdrop of iconic London landmarks with Rankin recommending Emmauael after shooting her his other venture Dazed magazine, describing the actress as a “solid bet”.
“I’m lucky in the sense that I have two different lives and in one I get to shoot famous people and take portraits of them for magazines, I utilise that knowledge when working with brands, I can say ‘that person’s alright or stay a mile away from them,’ it’s very subjective that whole thing of shooting people.”
With work for Belstaff, Elie Saab, Jitrois as well as Valentine's campaign for Coco De Mer in its portfolio along with two more campaigns planned for Dune and project for Samsonite among others planned, Rankin emphasises that The Full Service is in no way trying to beat the big boys, but sit alongside them or even work with them, taking some of the magic gleaned for 20+ years working alongside the world’s greatest creative directors and applying it to the brands that need it.
“I loath to use the word ‘collaborate’ because it’s overused but we love to work with our clients directly and listen to them, the age of the arrogant creative who thinks they know best is gone. Everybody is more aware of media and marketing and what’s being sold to them. I’ve seen a lot of agencies just do what the client wants – or the exact opposite – we try to find the middle ground. My essence is I just create shit that looks good.”
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