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Gucci takes a dip into the ever-dangerous world of memes to promote its watches


By John McCarthy, Opinion editor

March 22, 2017 | 8 min read

Luxury fashion brand Gucci has played a risky game by referencing the in-flux and volatile world of memes in a campaign promoting its line of watches.

Gucci Memes

Gucci Memes

The #tfwgucci campaign, ‘a collaborative meme project’ saw Gucci creative director Alessandro Michele commission artists to adapt memes to feature its watches in a bold ad campaign that dared to embrace internet culture.

Andy Warhol's fifteen minutes of fame mantra arguably applies to meme culture with Salt Bae, Tiny Trump, Cash Me Ousside, Howbow Dah? and Roll Safe, already being usurped by more recent memes despite landing only earlier this year.

This domain the fashion brand has chosen to embrace has proven dangerous for other brands - a notable example being House of Fraser's Emojinal campaign.

The work proved divisive online - but is far reaching – having been created to expand the reach of Gucci timepieces into a new audience “a wider creative community than that which traditionally locates around the world of fashion."

Below is just some of the posts - they can all be viewed here.

Sooo...what are we? @Gucci

A post shared by V Δ P O R C U L T (@vaporcult) on

#TFWGucci Sebastian Tribbie Matheson @Youvegotnomale is a ruthless meme maker. The snark starts with his account’s name. In between taking selfies and posting them to his 40,000 followers on Instagram, he creates images that take aim at popular fashion and social culture. No target is safe, from ordering on Seamless to cliché emoji usage. Here, Sebastian uses the starter pack meme, in which a group of images and objects are clustered together to represent the stereotype of a particular style or personality. For #TFWGucci he takes on Gucci, adopting the brand’s recent hallmarks, like embroidery, patches, and 70s glasses. @harinef and @petrafcollins make appearances, as does the #LeMarchédesMerveilles timepiece. Gucci = owned. — Text by @kchayka. Read more through link in bio.

A post shared by Gucci (@gucci) on

An opinion column published in Fashionista addressed when brands adopt memes, critical of Gucci's efforts: "When big businesses try to attract younger customers (we see you, Gen Z) in order to make a profit, it comes off as cringe-worthy, awkward and, to be honest, a lot less fun."

There's been a degree of backlash from social media users, here's some of the negativity leveraged towards the campaign on Twitter - where Gucci also pushed it.

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