Grace Surguy is senior project manager at Dare, a digital creative agency and part of Inside Ideas Group.
Desert Island Ads
No longer twiddlies you endure at the cinema, ads are more than just scenery for the main event. They’re anything and they’re anywhere – imagine telling someone in the 1950s that they could interact with brand advertisements in the future. They’d probably laugh in your face and say something affable but ultimately wrong, like: ‘What’s next? Phones you can carry in your pocket and unlock with your thumbprint? Nice try, buster…’
And when you think about the wild ride advertising’s been on – especially within the past decade’s tech and digital boom – one of its weirdest, unbelievable phenomena is influencer marketing.
I’d struggle to get my head around it if I didn’t moonlight as a fashion influencer, to be honest. But when you dig into it, it’s impressive to see others absolutely nail fashion and beauty campaigns, balancing them alongside their own personal brands. When they get it right, it even makes me – who knows what they’re actually up to! – want to buy what they’re effectively selling.
Same with the theme of the content, which of course, is dictated by the brand – no matter how cheesy or weird you think it is. It’s not just taking a random photo and letting the coins roll in. It’s hard, but when it works, it’s magic. With that said, here are my Desert Island Ads, through a sepia-tinted Instagram lens.
@monikh – #meetmeinthegap
One of my favourite influencers is Monikh. Her content’s always super stylish; she wears high street but knows a load about luxury brands, wearing a mix of staples and up-and-coming designers.
So her work with GAP could’ve thrown people off – it’s not a brand I’d ever seen her wear or promote before, but the bohemian slant that runs through the rest of her work is still present. It’s authentic, stylish, and something you could 100% see her wearing. #meetmeinthegap’s MO was to bring people together, to champion diversity – it also enlisted everyone from Cher to rapper and producer Future. Monikh fits right in and it doesn’t look forced, which is what usually separates good and bad influencer marketing.
Safaa Alban Lloyd – My ride or die
When a brand asks you to do something with your other half, as a couple, that’s it. Your phone breaks, cheese oozing from the keys. It’s not something a lot of people could pull off. However, if you’re clever and get the right shot, perhaps you survive. An exercise in personal brand-building rather than a specific campaign, this Safaa Alban Lloyd shot is genuinely sweet, and hammers home that point of authenticity. Imagine trying to get an image like that in a studio, with models who’ve only just met.
Amy Fuchsia – The beauty underneath
Just as in regular marketing, influencers have to take risks. Some things are seen as off-limits to certain people. In this case, underwear is definitely a sink or swim topic – you go for it or you don’t, and tone is everything. You can end up delivering a classy and empowering message, or it can just come across a little cheap. It’s a very fine line, especially through such a visual medium.
That being said, I’m always impressed when an influencer manages to properly execute an underwear post. In Amy Fuchsia’s case, she’s definitely not the sort to strut around wearing just knickers in public on a daily basis – this post is classy, on brand, and wrapped in multiple layers. It’s not just about the lingerie, as the comments confirm – it’s the whole outfit. It’s the coat, the trousers and the bra. So many people would’ve just focused on the latter for an easy win, but Amy’s proven that, with the right tact, you can cover all bases.
Maria Kragmann – #aimnxginatricot
Some of the criticism people sling at influencers is it’s not ‘real life’. And with Maria Kragmann’s post here, you might be inclined to agree. Beautiful women in pristine sportswear, trotting down a beach in lovely weather. Well actually, yeah, Maria’s on holiday in this instance, so it’s a pretty standard thing to be doing in that situation.
This spot, which promotes Gina Tricot’s collaboration with Aim’n sportswear, is a perfect blend of aspirational, situational content that puts the brand right where it needs to be – in a practical place. It’s pulled into real life, into Maria’s vacation narrative, right in front of a captive audience. Gina Tricot now has authentic, track-tested content it can reuse, Maria’s having a great holiday, and her followers are getting new fashion tips that don’t come off like forcefed ads, despite the #advertising hashtag being prominently displayed.
So those were my Desert Island Ads. Just as relevant as ‘regular’ ads, in my opinion, and offering an entirely new slant on the industry.