With nearly 74 million views on YouTube, formerly anonymous fashion brand Wren has made history, partly by carefully doing their homework, but mostly thanks to being devoted to creativity and to their eagerness to find the spot and hit it well. We spoke to designer of Wren and creator of the video, the lovely and sincere Melissa Coker.
Connecting (to) People
We’ve taken the time to study sites like Buzzfeed and Upworthy, looking at what has been driving their growth in relation to content. People now use online content to connect to one another, for example, when work get boring; people send links to friends, etc. We’ve found that the major points over which people connect is either humor or emotions. Starting with that premise, we recruited friends of ours, whom we felt could tell our story, and put it all in an emotional context but in a fashion space. It’s phenomenal how this experiment really did work.
Now we’re continuing to grow the brand, and certainly the success of this video has brought us a lot of attention, whether through sales or growing brand awareness. I’m very interested in doing things in a creative way and to really connect with consumers. I think this experience shows that if you’re creative and committed to making authentic quality content, you don’t really need to have a huge marketing budget.
Make Them Cry
Before sharing it with the world, I noticed the select few who watched it were having very strong reactions to it. People were tearing up, getting goosebumps and smiling. That’s when I knew we’ve accomplished our intention, but I had no idea we were about to have the most viral video of all time. Essentially, the first day that it was posted on YouTube was Friday, March 10th, and by the time I woke up in the morning, on the 11th, there were 1.7 Million views, it was featured on the front page of YouTube, and by some ironic twist, on Buzzfeed.
This trend isn’t new. It wasn’t invented by us. That being said, in the past, fashion videos were always released in a specific style and fashion context, so the consumer was savvy towards that idea and concept and very well educated on what this was. What’s interesting is being taken out of that context and releasing the film into the world via YouTube, and a lot of people weren’t familiar with the context and didn’t know what the connection was. We were communicating with the more educated consumer, and the debate about whether this was art or marketing is interesting. One example that I’ve been giving was Ellen Degeneres’ Oscars selfie, which wasn’t just a fun moment out of the blue. It was orchestrated by Samsung, but it was done in a way that was fun and enjoyable. So I think this is all good news, that people are doing things in a more creative way, a way that generates interest, care and engagement.
The Ones To Be
I always think of Wren as a brand that’s all about authenticity, simplicity, and having an element of cool, and I think this video really captured that. When thinking about clothes we think about how will others see us, what we will look like wearing this. But looking at this film and what we’re trying to communicate about the brand is more of “who these clothes make me be.” You watch this and you get this feeling along with a wide range of emotions, but mostly connecting to that vibe. The same goes for the participants. It was about who they all were.
A Tale of 40 Lips
No one of the twenty participants even knew the other person’s name, so they couldn’t google it or anything. Some of them asked me, “am I going to kiss an eighty year old?” which was part of the overall mystery. Some of the people in the video actually worked for me, our production manager worked in our store and one of them was a stylist, so it was basically friends of mine, throughout my life in L.A., and some of were “friends of the brand,” but generally people who I found dynamic and interesting.
In terms of difficulties, one person was an hour late, one couple had a lot of distance between them and just lightly pecked (we were really worried about that), but all in all, these differences the shier people and the people who were really went for it highlighted the special loveliness between the two opposites, and I think it came across on video.
Everyone who participated generously volunteered. It was amazing to see the wonderful things that have come to some of the participants through their generosity. A great example of that is of Soko, who was one of the performers (her song also accompanies the video), and she was debuted on Billboard’s Hot 100 for the first time in her career, on top of that she reached the top 10, so this success was so unintended and it really fills my heart to the brim.
Also, I did wonder about whether the connections have been taken further, outside of set, and I’ve discovered some friendships have blossomed, but no wedding invitations were sent as of yet.