For a number of seasons now, the collaboration of MAGNUS BERGER of agency Berger & Wild with the AG Director of Global Communications JOHNATHAN CROCKER has helped raise the bar of advertising with a denim focus. As the duo launch AG’s Spring 2016 campaign lensed by CASS BIRD and staring longtime AG model DARIA WERBOWY, The Impression sat with the creators to talk about LA, switching things up, and getting creative.
BY KENNETH RICHARD
Congrats on the recent campaign. You’ve been leading the pack for a few seasons now and have worked with Daria again for Spring. What is the concept behind this season?
MAGNUS BERGER: We all wanted it to be based in and around Downtown LA as it is a vibrant neighborhood with so much going on. Plus AG is based there (is it considered downtown??)
JOHNATHAN CROCKER: As it’s our last season working with Daria (at least for the time being), we felt that it was appropriate to shoot the campaign in LA – bringing it back home, kind of full circle. It’s a special time to be in LA, the burgeoning arts scene, fashion, food and more. We thought the timing was right. But probably the most interesting idea was to shoot Daria in our menswear, as opposed to using a male model, which we have traditionally done – with the intention of running those images for our advertising efforts with our male focused partners like GQ, Esquire and some others.
Manning up! How did that come about?
MAGNUS BERGER: It was a conversation between all of us, after doing a beach house, upstate NY and a day on a boat, this is sort of a homecoming. In the video portion of the campaign, we drive through LA from daybreak to late night and inter-cut with intimate moments of Daria as if shot by her boyfriend or lover. We also all liked the idea of having her guy be invisible and just use his point of view so she is wearing the menswear in the campaign as well. The video has definitely added another layer and dimension to the campaign.
JOHNATHAN CROCKER: Sam and I were beginning to discuss concepts for the campaign and talking about how unique Daria is, and with that, all her strengths. With the recent trend of some designer brands shooting men in womenswear, we thought it would be interesting to do just the opposite – we didn’t see any other brands doing it, so we thought it would be noteworthy and hopefully create some kind of conversation – like the one we’re having now. There are few women who could pull it off, and we truly believe no one could do it better than Daria.
How true. So, what are the roles each of you play in bringing this to life?
MAGNUS BERGER: It’s all a collaboration, and it’s such a pleasure to be able to work with the same team over several seasons and build something, and explore different aspects of a brand instead of continuing to change and start from zero every season. I believe this has been crucial for the transformation of the brand. It’s a series of good decisions and a lot of trust. Cass Bird and Daria have a unique relationship, which really comes through in the images.
Cass is pretty amazing and we are fans of Daria both as a professional model as well as a creator. Does she bring elements to the table?
MAGNUS BERGER: You put Daria in the campaign and she elevates the image, which is super important when you try to create something intimate. You feel that she is wearing the clothes rather than just being a clothes hanger. She comes off as a strong and independent, modern woman. And she definitely contributes to the image-making process as well. And then of course it’s the old expression, “Girls wanna be her and guys wanna be with her”, actually I think a lot of girls wanna be with her, too.
JOHNATHAN CROCKER: When you work with someone like Daria, it’s on another level. It was essential for us to make sure we were on the same page and that she was involved throughout the entire process. She’s been doing this for a minute, so she brings a tremendous amount of insight, creativity and ideas to the table – something we absolutely embraced.
Do you see denim advertising as different than other forms of advertising?
MAGNUS BERGER: I see AG as a lifestyle brand with denim being the core product, but there are a lot of pitfalls and clichés in jeans ads and I think we have succeeded in avoiding most of them. We wanted to elevate the brand beyond a jeans brand but still make it part of your everyday uniform.
JOHNATHAN CROCKER: I don’t necessarily see it as ‘different’, but I believe it’s probably one of the most competitive and cluttered categories within fashion advertising. I can’t speak for other brands, but our focus in our advertising efforts is to try and tell a story about our brand, that hopefully creates some kind of dialogue with our customers and people within the fashion industry. That’s in large part why we started working with Daria, as well as our collaboration with Alexa Chung. Their association/partnership with AG for the last 2-4 seasons has done just that… created a conversation.
Well, thanks for conversing with us about the campaign and again, congratulations!
MAGNUS BERGER: Pleasure, Kenneth.
JOHNATHAN CROCKER: Thanks.
Agency | Berger & Wild
Creative Director | Magnus Berger
Photographer | Cass Bird
Video Director | Magnus Berger
Model | Daria Werbowy