Balenciaga puts its own ironic spin on one of the most iconic ad campaigns ever with its new “It’s Different” campaign.
Overseen by the house’s creative director Demna, the campaign riffs on Apple’s famous “Think Different” ad campaign of the late 90s and early 2000s, even using the same recognizable typeface. But while Apple’s ads paired the slogan with faces of influential creators and innovators, Balenciaga here pairs ironically detached anti-slogans with flat shots of some of its quirkier product offerings.
The title phrase “It’s different,” for example – the campaign’s most direct nod to Apple – appears alongside the brand’s new “anatomic bootie,” a high heel that mimics a classic white sock, complete with toes. Even more aloof is “Probably not what you’re looking for,” a sassily standoffish subversion of the classic advertising dogma to give the people what they don’t know they want – and which takes on another layer of irony considering Balenciaga’s massive popularity in the past.
The one slogan that reads a bit confusingly is “No blabla,” which, while it’s a good enough idea – there’s no denying that there’s very little that’s “blah” about Balenciaga – has a hard-to-ignore sonic and visual similarity to “no habla.” The connection might not be intentional, and Balenciaga’s mostly French creative team might not have even noticed it, but it would have been easy for anyone to say they should to tweak it a bit in order not to seem vaguely but weirdly problematic.
Aside from that one quibble though, the campaign is a clever and clear take on an advertising classic. There might be an argument to be made that Balenciaga isn’t so different anymore, that plenty of fashion brands and designers have been doing weird stuff for a long time. But none of them have the cultural cachet of Balenciaga, and, especially during a season when we’ve been hearing so much about “quiet luxury,” it’s a smart and fun move for the brand to ironically reappropriate some classic ad iconography to celebrate how it marches to the beat of its own drum.
Balenciaga Creative Director | Demna
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