Kenzo understands the need for a pressure valve
UPDATE: Dispatches from the Canvas8 HQ
Getting dressed up to attend an exclusive event should be the start of a fun evening. But when you’ve got work, money and relationship worries, having to keep a smile on your face all night can push you over the edge. Understanding that sometimes everyone needs to let loose and go a little crazy, MJZ created the ad ‘My Mutant Brain’ for Kenzo. In the third instalment of the deconstruction of our favourite Clio Gold winners, we explore the insights behind why a woman losing her shit at a fancy dinner resonates with people.
Dressed up in an elegant gown, dancer Margaret Qualley begins fashion brand Kenzo’s first perfume ad, smiling her way politely through a glamorous, but dreary, awards ceremony. Then, after excusing herself, she wanders into the hallway and fidgets awkwardly before locking eyes with the camera. Suddenly, Qualley starts twitching parts of her face and body. The frantic movements evolve into a manic, choreographed dance that sees her scream wide-eyed, pull faces in a mirror, beat her chest, mime gunshots at the hotel furniture, and lick the nose of a brass bust. Through the dance, Qualley lets out the inner rage she has been suppressing, empowering herself by acting out and letting off steam.
While we aren’t all required to show self-restraint at dull, high-profile events, Kenzo’s ad taps into a feeling of insurmountable expectation. Increasing pressures to eat healthily, live ethically and be successful have created demand for a means of escape – whether that’s people finding an outlet for their frustration, or having a quiet place where they can bunker up and forget the world.
Global research suggests that 60% of workers in major global economies are experiencing increased stress at work – and much of that pressure is coming from workers themselves. In a culture that worships self-improvement, nothing is ever good enough and everyone is their own worst critic. It’s why Britons are taking fewer sick days than ever.
In the US, meanwhile, a record number of people feel frazzled over their finances, and the rules of romance and relationships are more uncertain than ever. All this is exacerbated by the ubiquity of social media, which has become a competitive space for many people; almost two-thirds of Gen Yers say these platforms increase their feelings of inadequacy. So, fatigued by impossible expectations, people are partaking in a universal backlash, and Margaret Qualley – screaming silently into the camera – is the perfect figurehead.
This is the third in a five-part series deconstructing our favourite winners from the 2017 Clio Awards.