I’ve always been a huge fan of the movie Zoolander. As a cynical teenager, I loved how it politely poked fun at the worlds of marketing, fashion and celebrity – industries I now work closely with and within.
Released in 2001, Zoolander was ahead of its time, parodying the vacuous ‘Blue Steeliness’ of the fashion industry; the embellished language of advertising (‘wetness is the essence of beauty’) and the superficiality of celebrity culture…but doing so with its tongue placed firmly in its cheek.
Fifteen years on, the world Derek Zoolander inhabits is more relevant than ever, thanks to the exponential growth of the internet and social media. Naturally, I’m excited about the sequel, but I’ve become even more engaged with the movie thanks to its ingenious marketing campaign.
Zoolander 2 takes a unique approach on movie marketing; rather than be confined to the traditional platforms of relentless press junkets and photo shopped billboards, the strategy goes far beyond this, utilising its fashion plot and iconic male model protagonists, to engage with and become a part of the world it has been politely parodying for the past decade and a half.
The Zoolander 2 campaign launched, like any big fashion brand, at Paris Fashion Week. Zoolander and Hansel were the grand finale at Valentino’s AW15 catwalk show, dressed in their signature eccentric garments and perfect pouts, they walked the runway and gave insiders an exclusive look at what everyone would be talking about next season.
Since then, Zoolander 2 has continued to be marketed like a highly anticipated fashion collection, spearheaded by two of the world’s most famous male models. Indeed Derek and Hansel are to Zoolander 2, what Kate Moss was to Calvin Klein and Cara Delevingne was to Burberry.
The strategy runs throughout the film’s marketing materials from radio ads to its promotional posters. The clever posters take on the guise of a fragrance advertisement and the movie’s premiere doubled as a fashion show.
Just like any catwalk starlet with a collection to promote, Derek Zoolander has been popping up on the front covers of fashion magazines for the past few months – from Vogue to Esquire. Casting aside my suspension of disbelief – this is the equivalent of King Kong on the cover of National Geographic or Gordon Gekko on the Financial Times…but it works, and the fashion world is embracing Zoolander and its eponymous character, as one of its own.
I’m a fan, so I’ll be seeing the sequel regardless, but it’s also reassuring to know that the fashion world has given its seal of approval and confirmed that Zoolander 2 is ‘so hot right now’.