FCUK Me

Strolling down Oxford Street amidst LFW madness I happened to notice French Connection’s new campaign and for some reason I just can’t get it out of my head since. The big bearded fella is etched on my mind and I just can’t work out why.

Up until quite recently I was working part-time at French Connection – not my finest moments I might add, I’m no longer cut out for the world of retail; too many rules and checklists ‘Hi, can I help you?’ ‘Are you ok there?’ ‘Are you shopping for a special occasion?’ No wonder people buy online these days, the computor doesn’t interrogate you as you browse.

I remember French Connection in the 90’s with their cocky advertising campaign and their abbreviation logo of such passable irreverence. It heightened a new sense of brand awareness that has since worn thinner than any hoodie ever could. ‘Fancy a FCUK’, ‘I don’t give a FCUK’ it was emblazoned all over peoples chests – it completely nailed the attitude of an era, but it sure was tacky in retrospect.

French Connection rode on the smutty train for a while, the "accidental misspelling" was an enormous controversial success for several years. Menswear was huge, boys wearing their chat-up lines on their tees, but in 2004 the truth finally caught up with the company and their sales began to slow significantly, encouraging the company to finally drop the FCUK slogan from its advertising.

Thank FCUK for that.
The new campaign, directed by Richard Flintham and shot by the photography collective Blinkk is a 60-second collection of black and white TV ads highlighting the characteristics of men and women and are supported by a series of 20-second online films as well as print and outdoor campaign. In other words, just like the FCUK campaign it’s going to be hard to ignore.

The ads are simple, to the point, elegant, mature and confident. Smart but with a nice touch of humour. Stylish but un-pretentious. The brand have returned to the same advertising agency that created the tacky FCUK slogan and rumour has it they didn’t even need to pitch for it.

They are not perfect by any means, my flatmate actually hates the new campaign she thinks they look like they’ve been "created by middle-aged over-paid corporate suits with no sense of the French Connection brand, integrity or their customer" But she has been drinking since 6pm and is a little feisty at this moment in time. But in the realm of fashion they work as a half parody half supportive piece. In store the idea looks good and from a personal view they made me think positively about the brand for the first time in a decade. Plus the guy in the bunny ears is totally hot and well, that works for me.

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