Faux Fur flying off the Rack
By Alixandra Rutnik on Dec 16, 2019
Zulu Alpha Kilo does fashion and ethics
The faux fur trend is for real people. Animal print faux fur is popping up everywhere from enticing clothing brands all over your Instagram feed to the girls clad in furs sitting next to you sipping mimosas at brunch. Everywhere you go you are bound to be bombarded by the latest faux fur leopard print winter coat. Thankfully, Furious Fur is embracing this trend full-on with their latest “Wild Savings Event” in Toronto. Furious Fur is home to this season’s fashion necessity– faux fur everything and anything– and they had our friends at Zulu Alpha Kilo transform their Black Friday sale language into sale taglines with a twist: “Save up to 25 species;” “Save up to 80 lives;” “Buy one set one free;” “Everything must go unharmed;” “Looks don’t have to kill.” A Faux Sale for some quality faux fur. Pure brilliance. We reached out to the creative team who made this campaign come to life and received some insight into their campaign angle. After all, creative brains equal creative campaigns. George Ault and Jacob Gawrysiak both Associate Creative Directors at Zulu Alpha Kilo are the masterminds behind the “Wild Savings Event” and they are here to fill us in.
How did this faux sale idea come about?
Jacob: This was our first project with Furious Fur; they approached us to create a consumer-facing campaign that would generate buzz. We wanted to create a message as unique as this young, non-traditional brand. Our inspiration came out of their purpose to bring ethics to fur. It’s so relevant in today’s consumer culture where people care more than ever about what they’re buying and where it comes from.
George: We felt we could be provocative without being negative. Rather than a guilt trip directed at those buying real fur, we wanted to change the narrative and focus on the positive impact consumers have when they choose a Furious Fur. It seemed like a fresher, more modern approach to ethical fashion. Furious Fur had a great purpose, but for people to be convinced we knew they needed to feel the quality of the furs. While we explored other angles, from the beginning it felt important that an activation be central to the idea: skeptical people needed to touch and feel to buy.
This type of campaign typically gets the conversation going– in this case, about the fur trade and animal cruelty. How did those discussions unfold after the launch of this campaign?
Jacob: We wanted to raise more awareness about ethical fur overall, knowing Furious Fur would be at the heart of any conversation we created. It was critical people understood the real impact of the fur trade – from what feels like small, insignificant trim on a hood to a full-length coat. Historically this awareness came through more aggressive, activist stunts, turning off more people than helping the cause. Our actions got the attention of PETA, who have launched the platform on their channels. We’re even more pleased that Furious Fur’s traditional retail partners will be running the campaign, allowing for a less traditional message to reach more people.
"We wanted to create a message as unique as this young, non-traditional brand. Our inspiration came out of their purpose to bring ethics to fur."
How close is the final product to your original pitch?
George: There were two approaches we explored. One was to play off the quality of the furs—‘furs so authentic you’ll think they’re real,’ but that led to some fairly expected places and it felt like a missed opportunity to not include ethical fashion in our message.
The other approach was to go hard at the fur trade and position the brand as ‘the ethical choice.’ There was an activation idea where we would show real fur coats and the cost to animal life in the price tag. But it felt too preachy, more of a turnoff than an enticement to buy a coat, and wouldn’t allow us to make the client’s product the hero. That’s when we had the idea to make it about savings and to do a sales event. Creating a sales event allowed us to put the furs front and center and gave us a great way to draw people in to experience the furs themselves. It felt like the perfect solution.
Jacob: As we went through design we explored all the common tropes of a “flash sale,” some felt too bargain basement (like a clearance sale) and we didn’t want to cheapen the brand. We settled on a style you might see in a trendier, high-end department store, striking the right balance between “deal” and “premium.”
Tell me more about the tagline “FAUX FUR BRAND’S FAUX SALE REMINDS SHOPPERS THERE’S MORE TO SAVE THAN MONEY.”
George: Nothing gets the consumers’ attention like a big sale, especially around Black Friday when consumer culture hits its frenzied peak. The timing was perfect to remind people that there are more important things to save than a few dollars and to be more thoughtful about the impact their purchases have. Our faux sale angle gave us a license to highlight a heavy issue in a more playful and cheeky way.
"Nothing gets the consumers’ attention like a big sale, especially around Black Friday when consumer culture hits its frenzied peak. The timing was perfect to remind people that there are more important things to save than a few dollars and to be more thoughtful about the impact their purchases have."
Ok, it’s Black Friday, the doors open and...?
Jacob: The big ‘save up to 80’ sign in the store window attracted a lot of attention. We knew there was a risk people would react negatively once they caught on, but the response has been really positive as a whole. Sure, some people walked right out when they saw what it was about, but most were really receptive to the message and many still bought furs. Sales have been strong.
A creative’s work is never done– the clock only runs out. Is there anything you would’ve loved to implement, anything that makes you say “ugh, if only we thought of that earlier!”
Jacob: In hindsight, we wish we had placed hidden cameras on racks in the store to capture real, up-close reactions as people clued into the message. It would have made great ongoing content.
What’s next for the brand? What should we expect from you in 2020?
George: Furious Fur will be growing its presence in stores and online across North America and Europe. The brand will be rolling out the campaign with its retail partners to run in those markets in 2020 which is pretty exciting. As for us, we’re just going to try to get in at 9 every day and see what happens.
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