Curated by the team at Matte Black
Here's a simple thing about brands. A cold, hard truth.
When brands are (very) well established in who they are, their customers are more open to trying out new things with them. New campaigns, new slogans, new content. These big brands, with big loyal followings, have the leverage to go out on a limb. (One day we'll get there, little guys).
Some of these head honcho's succeed. Others will try again next quarter and keep Kendall Jenner out of their brainstorms.
In light of this year's Content Issue, here are some great brands who we think are branching out in interesting ways and keeping their fans engaged.
Matte Black approves.
This brand is Changing the way We...see online dating.
OKCupid successfully rebranded themselves to stand out amongst the many dating apps and platforms that people are using to find love in this digital age. Their DTF campaign features true works of art by Maurizio Cattelan and photographer Pierpaolo Ferrari to drive home that "Dating Deserves Better". OKCupid's goal with this campaign is to add substance and depth back into the world of online dating. If you're looking for someone who's Down To Finish their novel, Down To Farmers Market, or Down To Fight about the president, this campaign is putting culture and politics at the forefront. “In the current political and social climate, we felt a responsibility and saw an opportunity to play a part in changing the conversation about dating culture and empowering each individual to reclaim the meaning of DTF and make it theirs,” says CMO Melissa Hobley to AdFreak.
This brand is changing the way we...look forward to branded videos.
It seems every few months, Kenzo unintentionally (or intentionally?) decides to break the internet with a new piece of content. Whether it's bringing Spike Jonze on to recreate his infamous Fatboy Slim video with a rising ingenue or the "YO! MY SAINT" SS18 fashion film, directed by Ana Lily Aminpour and featuring the music of Karen O, Kenzo is forever keen to deliver unexpected and fresh content, ensuring that they are the trendsetters and never the followers.
This brand is changing the way we...see gen z fashion publications.
Once served as a fashion bible to teenagers everywhere, Teen Vogue is expanding their scope. When Teen Vogue issued a coverage of the Trump administration in 2017, it was met with backlash. It went viral, and Fox News host Tucker Carlson commented by saying the writer, Lauren Duca, should “stick to the thigh-high boots.” Teen Vogue continuing to evolve from a mere high-fashion magazine into a community of socially conscious young people. It is breaking the boundary that fashion and pop culture is reserved for the brainless, and that millennials are apathetic. Teen Vogue is encouraging its reader’s enthusiasm for current issues, and giving them a voice in timely fashion.
This brand is changing the way we...view real, human bodies.
Starting in the Fall of 2014, Darling launched their “Real Not Retouched” campaign. Truly trailblazing this creative notion, Darling committed to never digitally alter women’s bodies. In doing so, they hoped to promote respect for women’s bodies in fashion and photography. Darling continues to challenge cultural ideals of beauty and imposes beauty in every woman. Darling was also that powerhouse brand who originally collaborated with Aerie to create a YouTube series called Self(i.e.) which was all about the hidden dangers of photo retouching. With the hope to present alternatives to unrealistic standards, they are striving to create a community where real beauty is celebrated and real women are elevated.
This brand is changing the way we...
... ok, it's nike.
We couldn't throw together a content trailblazer list without including Nike now, could we?
Nike has always stood for pushing boundaries, and their “Breaking2” campaign embodies not the products they sell, but what they stand for. In this campaign, it's about breaking personal boundaries. More specifically: completing a marathon in less than two hours. This way of thinking enables Nike to actually become an engaged part of the communities they work to create and come together with their brand loyalists. By breaking records, Nike is looking to place itself in the history books and leave a legacy. Nike brings their brand to life, encouraging people to push for their passions, and the impossible.
This brand is changing the way we...eat our treats with purpose.
As a self-proclaimed socially responsible company, Ben & Jerry's continues to meet the social mark with the branding on their ice cream pints. In support of marriage equality, in 2015 they temporarily renamed their classic cookie dough ice cream to “I Dough, I Dough.” From issues surrounding climate change to voting rights, Ben & Jerry's continues to open up dialogue about important social issues and create a space where fans can have a voice. Unilever reported that in 2015, sales grew at a double-digit pace. Over the past 15 years, business has nearly tripled. Reports even show that consumers who are aware of Ben & Jerry’s values are 2.5 times more loyal. “Ben & Jerry’s is authentic,” says Chris Miller, Ben & Jerry’s Social Mission Activism Manager. “Standing for something in a world where people so often stand for nothing is incredibly powerful.”
This brand is changing the way...young girls think about street kicks.
Going against the skate-world-grain, shoe e-tailer Zappos launched The_ONES, a content hub geared toward female sneaker fans. This new platform is curated like a magazine that features the latest sneaker styles in addition to thoughtful content and stories curated by diverse female leads. Zappos' senior brand marketing manager Kristin Richmer summarizes The_ONES as being heavily "focused on firing up the more casual, feminine, and gender-fluid side of the sneakerhead world."
This brand is changing the way we...well, we're not totally sure yet. but it looks tight.
In June 2017, luxury fashion house conglomerate LVMH launched 24 Sèvres, an online shopping experience created to introduce both millennials and Gen Z to its lavish brands. Why is this applaudable? 24 Sèvres is taking a big leap in the fashion world, as a digital mindset has been embraced painfully slowly by those who shop up-scale brands. This platform is colorful, fun, playful, Parisian (the intended e-perspective), and easy to navigate.
We'll see in time if the opulent 20-somethings will welcome the e-commerce world with embracing Cartier-banded arms. Until then, we think that they're off to a shimmering start.