On November 15th clothing store H&M wanted the world to know about the launch of their new designer collection from Maison Martin Margiela.
They did so by organising ‘Silent Manifestos’ across eight cities worldwide.
This is what the London one looked like.
Now I’m no fashionista, but I’ve always thought H&M was a fairly solid High Street brand. Reasonably stylish, everyday clothing at affordable prices.
So I have to admit that I was a bit surprised to see a load of po-faced, oh-so-serious models wandering around London’s tourist spots carrying placards.
Not only that, they were all dressed in black. Apart from white aprons – Nigella Lawson immediately sprang to mind (but they probably don’t do things in her size). And not only were the aprons white, the type on them was white too.Yes, you read that right. White aprons with white type. Adding to the list of things I’m not, is a typographer. But even I can tell you that white type on a white background is, well… difficult to read, shall we say.
Moving on from matters sartorial, there’s the placards themselves. I assume these are the main event. It being a manifesto launch and all.
The placards carried three things: The date, Maison Martin Margiela’s own branding, and a hashtag.
In fact, it was the mother of all hashtags – #MargielawithHM.
It’s long. It’s using unfamiliar language (who’s heard of Margiela?). And it is, to all intents and purposes, meaningless. Oh dear.
So you’ve got a load of models dressed in black, wearing white aprons and carrying placards, wandering around London.
They could be advertising the new series of Masterchef – The Professionals.
Am I being unfair?
I don’t think so. Because the best bit is yet to come. The silent bit.
They didn’t say a word. No megaphones. No chanting. Not a “leggings, leggings, leggings. Out, Out, Out.”
They didn’t even hand out leaflets. Or money-off vouchers.
They just expected the stressed-out, in-a-rush Londoners they passed by to do all the work.
Why would they? Why should they? They weren’t being entertained. Or enticed.
In fact probably the only thing they were being was inconvenienced.
It enables brands to engage with consumers in ways that no other marketing medium can. You can talk to them. Touch them. Give them things. Amuse them.
In turn they’ll talk about you. Photograph you. Follow you. And Google you.
But only if there’s something in it for them…
That’s the bit H&M seem to have missed out.