Witchery, a popular Australian fashion label seems to be painfully cutting its teeth on the whole social media thing with attractive 24 year old Heidi Clarke supposedly searching for the male owner of a jacket that she supposedly felt a connection with left at a cafe.
“A Lost Jacket and a Stolen Heart” – a touching story
I first read about the story in the Sydney Morning Herald over breakfast yesterday and didn’t think it was that weird but I was very interested, so I checked out the YouTube video and website the article spoke about. I admit that I was not one of those who immediately identified the video as a fake, although some of the things that struck me while watching the video were:
- that apartment in Elizabeth Bay is disgustingly nice for a 24 year old shop assistant
- she looks like a model, good looking people tend to have certain advantages in life
- why is she talking about the lining so much?
- I can’t see the label on the jacket, and she hasn’t mentioned it. That’s a bit wierd
- If this guy has a girlfriend, she may have a bit of an insecurity complex after watching this
- I can see this is Jet cafe in Sydney’s Queen Victoria Building, why isn’t she telling us that?
A touching story that is possibly untrue
So when I read NineMSN’s story today, outing the video and associated website as a fraud I was interested, and dug a little further to find they are not alone in their thoughts, although there is discussion about who is behind the video. NineMSN report that people were commenting on the video suggesting that Ms Clarke’s body language was suspicious, and that the jacket was part of a new men’s range that Witchery has not yet released, recognisable by… surprise surprise… it’s distinctive lining that Heidi spoke much about. However, Witchery denies any knowledge of Heidi or the video.
Arrogance… well, that’s advertising
While I tend to agree that the video is probably an attempt by Witchery to gain publicity through a viral campaign, or they have by chance had an absolutely gorgeous girl pick up a pre-release jacket and want to talk about it online, it has still gotten the point across. I don’t like being manipulated by the media and think it is arrogant of an advertising agency to think they can and should make up stories and tell us they are real to get us to buy their products, but you know, that’s what advertising is. It’s basically manipulation so that we feel compelled to buy things we often don’t need. Why else would my wardrobe be filled to the brim with clothing, much of it with ”labels”… and where did those five Polo shirts come from, the ones the same as those from Target, but with a price tag inflated a couple of hundred percent? Either I’m silly with my cash all on my own, or someone has created a brand and image that I am trying to buy into by essentially telling me stories.
But let’s not get too comfortable with the deception
It’s just like the fashion magazines, and the stars in Hollywood we idolise, let alone 2006′s lonelygirl15 on YouTube. It seems we like to be told stories, if we didn’t we wouldn’t be watching, but when we look at the case of lonelygirl15 in particular we can see we only like them when we think they are true. While I think this attempt was crude and feels as though someone has tried to get traditional marketing and cram it into social media, it did work, at least temporarily. I did wonder if my partner would be interested in a men’s tuxedo jacket like the one “Heidi” was holding, and I have gossiped with two girlfriends already. So while social media’s “age of marketing innocence” is certainly on the way out in Australia, and I hope that advertising agencies get better at putting the message across without making up ”real” and insulting stories, it still worked. I watched the YouTube video and told my friends about Witchery’s men’s line, along with their lame foray into the social media world. Hmmm… perhaps it didn’t work so well afterall.