By Kenneth Richard | The Impressionist

Sneak-a-peak images from Cara D x DKNY capsule collection hit the internet this week featuring the model-of-the-moment surrounded by a bevy of talent cast from Instagram.  The campaign created by Laird + Partners and lensed by Christian MacDonald is smart and falls on the heels of the recent Marc by Marc Jacobs campaign featuring models elected from 70,000 finalists via an open internet casting call. In the era were youth feel they are ‘five minutes away from being famous,’ The Impression sees this as rather a wise move to engage the audience and keep the brand fresh.cara-delevingne-dkny-collection-ad-campaign1

Marketing in today’s world isn’t the same as the two-campaign-a-year system of 5 years ago. Brands such as Rag & Bone have wisely leveraged their network launching both a seasonal ad campaign with celebrities and an online ‘DIY’ low-cost campaign featuring models turned photographers using themselves as the subject. These additional assets find their way across the web to give the brand support when the national print ad campaign isn’t running.

The idea of leveraging the internet to cast is the ultimate form of crowd-sourcing and keeps the brand active in the hardest space to be active in, the internet. Why so hard, it moves fast and requires a ton of content. Casting online is fodder for rich materials, which can be leveraged for months. Toss in a celebrity or celebrity model and a brand can exponentially expand their reach.

Of course it comes with challenges as Marc by Marc Jacobs casting director Anita Bitton can surely attest too. Wading in partnership with the company through 70,000 submissions is no small feat, but the reward for those selected; flown to New York to be photographed by David Sims and styled by Katie Grand, is the internet form of a golden ticket from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. And those winners have reach.marc.001

The idea of casting from the internet has been around since the internet, the first to take it to its full advantage is unsurprisingly Terry Richardson who in 2007 partnered with Uniqlo to cast talent from a little thing known as MySpace. The result was a program slightly ahead of its time, the UT Project. Starting with a base of limited-edition collection of t-shirts designed by renowned artists, designers, photographers and musicians including Nobuyoshi Araki, Kai Khüne, Bjorn Copeland, Kim Jones, Peter Saville, Gareth Pugh, Solve Sundsbo and more; Terry photographed a cast pulled from MySpace along with recognizable personalities such as model Missy Rayder and actor Michael Pitt.

The complete collection of Richardson’s photographs was made into wild-postings, a 10-page catalog, a limited-edition hardcover book, and a traveling art gallery show. The only element it lacked was the technology that followed it, Instagram, Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter, Snapchat, and others.narrow template.001terr.001

There is an idea that brands don’t own themselves, the public does. While we don’t buy that 100%, we do buy that brands have a myriad of tools at their disposal to expand their reach between seasonal campaigns. And if the audience is under the perception that they are ‘five minutes away from being famous,’ the wise brands are the ones clicking.


Looks from the Cara Delevingne’s DKNY collection launching October 15th and available on Net-a-Porter, Shopbop and DKNY’s site.

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