This Fashion Label Shot And Distributed An Entire Ad Campaign—With No Budget

Photo: Courtesy Marques'Almeida.
Buzzy British fashion label Marques’Almeida tried something totally different for its fall campaign: Instead of providing a glimpse in the pages of glossies, two or three images were emailed to the brand’s clients and friends, and are also available on request via email. The campaign is then personalized to each recipient, based on what they email back (“...video, photos, text, illustrations, all of those or just one, whatever you feel like sending us!”). There was no budget for the campaign, according to a Marques’Almeida rep. It’s an especially interesting approach to advertising for a brand that just got a bit better-known (and better-financed) by winning the LVMH Prize in May.

The lo-fi images were shot by Ronan Mckenzie, Alice Neale, and Jazmaine. Of Mckenzie’s shots, “we asked her to [do] whatever she wanted and gave her complete freedom as we wanted to explore her vision of our work,” said the label’s co-designers, Marta Marques and Paulo Almeida, in a statement.
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Photo: Courtesy Marques'Almeida.
When you email Rita@MarquesAlmeida.com for your very own version of the brand’s campaign, you’ll get a detailed rundown: “We wanted it to be an interactive process in which you can participate by telling us your opinion and asking to see more of [the campaign] or not, by sharing it with your own friends if you think you should, or by keeping it to yourself.” Depending on the reply, a recipient might get some Polaroid shots, a campaign video, lots of color-saturated looks, or simply a greater number of images to look through.

The brand received around 200 emails within two days when word of the campaign got out last week. “We decided to try a new way of sharing our campaigns, as we didn't want to just throw them at people,” said the designers in a statement. “We thought people would pay much more attention to something if they wanted to see it, and they could give their opinion and tell us if they wanted to see more — and what, instead of being something that is just thrown equally to everyone.”
Photo: Courtesy Marques'Almeida.
Considering it costs around $200,000 to run just one ad in a big fashion glossy, and producing a fashion campaign can easily cost at least $500K to put together (with plenty running closer to $1.5 to $2 million), this was quite a budget-friendly way to do a campaign. (Granted, there aren’t major model names in Marques’Almeida’s ads, which is what usually drives campaign costs way up.)

Aside from the intriguing (lack of) finances behind the ads, it’s kind of cool that the brand is trying to engage with its fanbase: In Marques’Almeida’s earlier days, “we were selling a lot through social media as we didn't have an online shop, and we used to spend lots of time on emails," the brand's statement said. “It was amazing as we ended up knowing more about many clients, and also understanding what they liked and how they saw the brand…. [Now] sometimes [we] feel like [we] don't really know who [we're] trying to communicate with, so we decided to bring back a more personal approach to the way we talk to people.”

Photo: Courtesy Marques'Almeida.
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