It's hip, it's trendy, it's a thrift shop
PETER YORK ON ADS; No 201: OXFAM
This is the punchline of the new Oxfam cinema commercial, a sort of fashion-industry mini-Band Aid. All sorts of smart people have given their services free to promote Oxfam as a high-fashion source.
It seems churlish, therefore, to say anything nasty. But there is something strangely ... irritating about this ad. Miss Elson's commendation, for a start, is delivered with the sort of mock glottal stops which form the Trustafarian equivalent of Mayfair Cockney. And it isn't as if "for'ey quid" is even particularly cheap. "For'ey quid" is what new dresses cost in modestly-priced real High Street shops.
The style of this "fashion show" commercial is very directional, very leading-edge, very catwalk-meets-warehouse-party. And it's very much on the fashionland Notting Hill-Hoxton axis, if you get my meaning. So there's a "here we all are" flavour to things which may not be entirely on the button for average cinema-goers.
Of course, cinema audiences these days are young and relatively upscale, and they're used to seeing (more dilute) forms of this aesthetic being used to sell them soft and hard drinks and other youthful consumables. They're also used to the retro game: the emphasis of the ad, as you might expect, is on Seventies-revival stuff. Arguments stack up for doing a fashion-show commercial, and doing it properly.
But there's something about the execution of this ad which just grates: something about the way it combines the Marie Antoinette aspects of the fashion business with the act of buying clothes in charity shops.
That said, I really hope it works - ie, I hope it makes Oxfam a shed- load of money and proves me utterly wrong.
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