2011 Golden Iris Nominees: Campaign of the Year
In 2010, menswear campaigns offered up lots of flesh to temp cautious consumers during an ongoing global economic crisis. This year, adverting shifted its strategy from the libido to the cerebral: Kenneth Cole promoted marriage equality, Versace reimagined a post-apocalyptic future, and Mugler made tattooed love boy Rick Genest into a fashion icon. Even swimwear and underwear makers ES Collection and Rufskin focused as much on aesthetics as the requisite abdominal muscles. As a result, 2011’s most successful campaigns offered as much food for thought as eye candy, if not more.
Check out this year's nominees and vote for your favorite. Our pick for 2011’s Campaign of the Year will be announced the morning of Monday, December 19th. The reader's pick winner will be revealed when voting ends later that same day.
KENNETH COLE: For the last quarter century, Kenneth Cole has served up advertising with super-sized entrées of social consciousness. In 2011, the company directed a bright spotlight towards support for same-sex marriage on billboards, in magazines and on its interactive website. In a year dominated by anti-gay presidential candidates and conservative boycotts of gay-friendly businesses, the company also made the bold and fearless move of including undeniably sexy images of gay couples engaged in some serious tonsil hockey, marvelously captured by photographer Sean Ellis.
ES COLLECTION: For the past few years, Joan Crisol’s hyperreal photography played a key role in the success of ES Collection’s sexy underwear and swimwear campaigns. But in 2011, the Spanish photographer pushed his super-saturated vision further, shooting models in an amusement Tim Burton would approve of and paying homage to the California dreamers in Mel Roberts’ physique photographs from the 1960s and ‘70s. The end results transcended advertising to become gallery-worthy work in its own right.
MUGLER: Nicola Formichetti’s involvement with the Haus of Gaga thrust him into the international spotlight and helped him score a gig as Mugler’s creative director. But it is Formichetti’s unique vision that’s made him the most interesting man in fashion. Who else would take a former circus performer and cast him as the leading man in a major fashion campaign? Sure, Rick Genest first caught our collective eye in the “Born This Way” video, but it was the Mariano Vivanco-lensed Mugler campaign that made Genest a fashion star. Now even Barbie has tattoos. And parents everywhere can thank Formichetti.
RUFSKIN: The effervescent color and youthful energy that permeate Rick Day’s breathtaking photos for Rufskin’s 2011 swimwear campaign took many by surprise. The men's clothing line has consistently delivered solid and sober advertising, but this year Rufskin injected a fizzy eroticism into its advertising without letting go of the earthy appeal that anchors its brand identity. This campaign's images are Oz to the previous' Kansas. Factor in the effortless sensuality of models Pablo Moraes and the late Murilo Rezende and you have the final ingredients for Rufskin’s best campaign ever.
VERSACE: The ads for Versace’s collaboration with H&M certainly grabbed our attention, but it was the company’s fall/winter 2011 campaign that really made us sit up and take notice. Featuring supermodel Sean O’Pry looking like a man who fell to earth, the campaign photos by Mert & Marcus have a creepy/sexy/cool post-apocalyptic vibe. Opulent and desolate, alluring and dangerous, the Versace ads offer a fashionable prognosis for an uncertain future.