Just a few small things

by Elizabeth Rock and Michael Rock
2012



To: ______Design


Re: New Brand — Phase One


First, let me say that we are so amped, we are just really, really looking forward to working with you on this. It’s so new, so fresh, so bleeding edge. I know I speak for everyone here, that we are just really thrilled about this new direction, and our whole team is so excited to have you on board.


    And we ARE all a team! We really are a family. Just some of us compensated differently, and maybe a LOT differently, from others, but we are all a family. Maybe one of those families where there’s that one girl who has something scheduled every night, and then there’s that other girl who always stays home and does the dishes and things — because that’s what she’s good at! We’re like that family.


     So now: launch day. Get ready. Are you ready? This is so important for us, because next season we are taking this brand to a Whole. New. Level. We are celebrating a completely new girl. Because that is what we do. We’re innovators. It’s in our DNA. And because these girls are out there, and they have money, and they have been tragically underserved.


     But that is where we live. We live ahead, on the edge, always seek-ing the next thing, the idea just out of our reach. But you know all this. So:


     Welcome to our new brand position: IntelliChic.


     OK, so already you’re like, Whoa, whaa? This from the creators of Skank! and MüdderFckr and PSUSY and Brothel Brand Jeans? From the people who invented Slut Chic? And I am telling you: YES.


     Because we are going in an Entirely. New. Direction.


     Because according to our research, there is a whole demo of girls out there who are not only underserved by the fashion industry — they are invisible to the fashion industry. These girls have been flying over our radar. They are somehow growing up, going to school — and staying in school — and graduating (yay!) and sometimes going on to further their education (!!) — and then on to all kinds of jobs in really high-end, knowledge-intensive industries; jobs involving science and math and really impressive things that require a lot of, you know, just really, important kinds of knowledge material.


     This girl is turning off the TV. This girl is hitting the books. AND reading them. ALL the way through. Real books, not Audio or podcasts.


     And this girl — this poor, probably slightly overweight, dowdy girl, wearing God-knows-what to her endless classes, reading her way to bad skin and corrective lenses, working in labs with chemicals that just CAN’T be good for your skin and hair — this girl is going on to get Major Jobs in Really Big Companies. Jobs where they need to look their best, and make a statement.


     And: jobs where they are making just truckloads of money.


     Which is when I had my Major Realization: We have to hook these poor, overworked, unattractive things NOW, when they are still open, still ready to meet the brand they will love for the rest of their lives. We have to act NOW when they really really NEED us. These girls are out there and they are crying out for our help.


     So: Yes. We are saying that our company is done with the trashy, slightly unhygienic looks of the past. (That was a creative direction we explored, and frankly, IMHO our work on that collection was truly next-gen — and I continue to be proud and a bit in awe, if I may say so, of that work. Because it spoke volumes about who we are as a company. And I truly feel that it was — all right, I’ll just say it, to you, as trusted partners — but seriously, I can feel the tears rising now — revolutionary.)


 


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     Anyhoo! Now a new direction! Booty shorts and tramp stamps are OUT. Gnawed fingernails, unwashed hair and translucent, light-starved skin are IN.


OUT: Spring break with stick-on nails and spray tan.


IN: Myopia.


MODELS - OUT: the gaunt plank of a girl with a face like a pole-axed Siamese cat, a pink tutu and a size 0 baby tee. Who is this popsicle stick with eyeshadow? We don’t even know. Even though we knew her last season. But we don’t know her now.


MODELS - IN: the gaunt plank of a girl with a Supercuts haircut and awesome coke-bottle glasses and perfectly shaped calves from hiking to some remote African village or something.


     This proud, nearsighted inno-vator is reTHINKing fashion. She is challenging our preconceptions, our notions of gender image, beauty, and the importance of innovative moisture-wicking fabrics and heat-retaining self-bonded materials.


     YES. We choose to celebrate this girl. Because why should these drab, mousy, tired, overscheduled, under-dated girls have to celebrate their mind-expanding attitudes with really tacky fabric and sub-standard materials and workmanship? Why should we not be clothing them as the striding, proud intelligistas that they are — that girl who is a CEO AND a PhD with a perfect BMI?


     So: Your work must identify, pinpoint, and celebrate this woman.


     Honestly, I can hardly say that without, really, just welling up. I just really feel that we are doing something radical and really important here. Because for the first time in my career I can honestly say we are bringing our skills to the aid of the people who need us the most. 


 


To: _______ Design


RE: New Season - Further Thoughts


 


So following up on our project launch meeting: first, let me just say how GREAT that was. We all know your reputation as the absolute eggheads of the advertising world but we weren’t prepared for that LSAT nightclub project. Who knew you could make test-prep sexy?!


     It’s so seldom that you go into a meeting and really feel the energy in the air like that. We could all really, really just feel the excitement coming from your group. It was electric. I know our team can be a little overwhelming, and we give off a lot of energy, and frankly, a lot of people don’t always do well with that. But I was so truly gratified to see that your team was just really getting us, and getting into our process and listening — and really listening, which is such a rare thing nowadays, and a real gift too, don’t you think — to, like words, and like everything we said. I know it was kind of a wall of stuff, and some of it was kind of random. But I hope you are all just as energized and enthused as we are. Because we are just crazy out of our heads about this, and people are saying this could be a total game changer for this company — and people are talking about words like genius, groundbreaking, revolutionary, insane — but in a good way.


     Can’t wait to see the boards and initial concepts.


  


To: _______ Design


Re: Some thoughts


 


Just throwing these out - what do you think of:


     A woman striding down Madison Avenue. She is wearing one of those white lab coats, which is flaring out on either side of her. Underneath she is wearing just the most perfect cocktail dress — really, really tiny, just so cute, and it fits PERFECTLY (of course!) and she’s hurrying and carrying a black medical bag. OR! even better! A microscope!


     Or:


A really great emo shot of a woman, partially obscured by darkness, at a desk. Some desk-like, smart things are on the desk — books, and a lamp, and, I don’t know, more books. How about a globe? She’s leaning over some test tubes or something to kiss a man on the other side of the desk. A colleague? A secret romance in the “lab”?? Who knows??! Fun, right?!!!


  


To: _______ Design


Re: Brand Position


 


On my way to JFK have to be in Guangzhou tomorrow but was wondering about the brand position statement; how’s it coming? I know you said you needed more time on it to process all the info. But we really need to get moving on this. Note we have had intimations that other groups may have heard a whisper and are scouting around about it. So for now on, EYES ONLY and full security for anything regarding the IntelliChic work. Oh no, there I go again!


 


To: _______ Design


Re: Brand Position


 


What concepts exactly did you need more clarification on?


  


To: _______ Design


Re: Brand Positioning


 


     OMG OMG LOVED LOVED LOVED THE BRAND POSITIONING STATEMENT YOU ARE SUCH GENIUSES ITS PERFECT but need to make a few tweaks. Just small things:


     In the first line could you change UGLY to HIDEOUS? We think: “lovelorn and broken-hearted” could be changed to “envious of the hotness around them” Line 5: shouldn’t that read: “date-less”?  


     Running out the door. Will get back to you.


 


To: _______ Design


Re: Social


 


I think this might be good time to really broach the idea of the social end of this. You have some plans for that, yes? Those girls do that, right? The social stuff? 


 


To: _______ Design


Re: Concept Meeting Yesterday


 


SHUT UP! — you guys are AMAZING. We were all just blown away. And we are SO psyched now about the direction IC is going. So — kudos! BTW I did get some notes from our team, so want to pass them on.


     We really want to push the Study Hall direction even more. But instead of them being at the beach — what if they were all at Harvard?? Or Hogwarts????!!!


     We HAVE to drive that IC Soul Cycle direction even more. But it’s a little expected to have them all at the gym. Maybe they could be soul cycling to somewhere, like an unexpected destination? Like the rainforest? Maybe hunting down those people who are doing all those awful things to the rainforests?


     We all liked the IC Zumba direction! But now we’re thinking about what it means to actually Zumba. Like, can you do some research on that? You know, what IS Zumba anyway? It just doesn’t seem as conceptually sound as the Soul Cycle direction. I think this has the potential to be the hottest option, we just need to tap into its core and discover, so awesome!


     We all LOVED the IC Baby direction! But now we’re thinking about a IC Baby Stroller campaign. Can we see something on that? Wait, do those girls use strollers? Or — oh GOD, they don’t use those hideous hippie horse-blanket baby-swaddle things that they bought in Katmandu or Peru or something, while they were off on one of their grubby projects, do they? Because that would just be SO UNATTRACTIVE.


     Also: I understand your misgivings, concerns and objections re: the IC Wedding direction, and duly noted and all that. But the team here is really insisting on seeing that direction. And I have to let you know: I think this a big deal. Just my insider tip. I really listened to all your concerns, but it’s something that is really important to the team, and I can’t emphasize enough how important it is that we explore it. It’s just crucial, to be frank.


     Thanks! Looking forward to the next stage meeting! Honestly, we are all so excited here.


  


To: _______ Design


Re: Next stage meeting


 


So, as usual, so great. Some things did come up, though. We all felt that the visuals were — not sure of the right word — so I’m using the word that the team used — stupid. Also, boring. Also, not fresh.


     Now I KNOW that this must seem harsh and I explained to them that they’re just not used to looking at really, seriously smart, high-end design work. I told them you guys are INTELLECTUALS. But we do have to move forward with their reactions.


     Also: bad news, but take out all the stuff for the IntelliChic Wedding thing. I know this is something near and dear to you and your team, and it’s hard to give up on your personal favorites, but seriously, it is SO not going anywhere. I mean those girls getting married to those hot guys? It just doesn’t pass the smell test … and I kind of feel that we wasted some valuable time on it as a total dead end.


  


To: _______ Design


Re: First looks


 


OK, so EXCITING! Loved the mood boards! But we really want you to push that even further. We think the girl in the chem lab should be breast-feeding a baby — can you find an image like that? Maybe she’s feeding the baby with a little test tube!!? Could the girl on page 3 be posed like that “Thinker” statue but wearing our sweat-proof faux-fur sports bra? How GREAT would that be?? And also, we’d really like to see more owl imagery — especially with the mortarboard hats. I know it’s out there but just a great “ironic” inside joke for the intelligentsia! We know these are just swipes but they all look a little too focused, don’t you think? Could they be just a bit more vague? Maybe like they’re really pondering a deep thought?


     And: This is TOP SECRET— but we are thinking that the models for our runway shows for next season may each be carrying an ACTUAL LIVE OWL!! SHHH! With little mortarboard hats!! SO CUTE!!!


WHOO WHOOO!!


  


To: _______ Design


Re: Call me.


 


 


To: _______ Design


Re: Team Meeting


 


So, I have a bit of difficult news … but the whole team here has gotten together, along with the principals, and the decision has been made to go in a new direction.


     Fortunately, before we went very far, our people have been coming back with the consensus that the whole “smart” thing is just really, really old, and has really been done to death.


     I mean, when you consider that we see Hillary and Michelle and Angelina almost every day. So, really, almost impossible to really find anything fresh about it. And we’re getting research that those girls just don’t even WANT to be hotter.


     We want you to know that we SO appreciate all your great work and efforts.


     And we know how married you are to your concept, and that is totally admirable and passionate — but frankly we remain just unconvinced of the viability of your whole IntelliChic direction.


     So the company has made the decision to move forward for next season with a new design team. We’ve really enjoyed working with you, and understand that some design firms have a very particular attitude and way of working that doesn’t always mesh easily with others. Thanks again for your interesting work. We wish you the best of luck in your future endeavors.