Continuing its tradition of working with musicians, men’s lifestyle brand John Varvatos has teamed up with the band KISS for its Spring 2014 campaign, which John Varvatos says was inspired by the 1975 album Dressed to Kill.
The campaign features the band shot in “timeless John Varvatos tailored clothing” by rock photographer Danny Clinch in Brooklyn, New York, as well as a documentary-style short film directed by Clinch, which debuted on the John Varvatos website on January 11.
The three-minute video features a surprise KISS concert in the John Varvatos Bowery Store in Manhattan, which was once the home of the music club CBGB.
According to creative agency Yard, which helped conceptualize the campaign, interviews and footage of the band applying makeup give viewers “a backstage pass to a truly inimitable event.”
In addition, Stephen Niedzwiecki, founder and chief creative officer of Yard, emphasizes that the event was a surprise concert in which invitees did not know who they were about to see and had to relinquish their cellphones beforehand.
“As a result, we created a once-in-a-lifetime, intimate experience for fans of KISS and John Varvatos and made history doing so,” Niedzwiecki says in a press release.
As of January 23, the video has 177,000 views.
This is the latest in a series of music-themed campaigns created by Yard and photographed by Clinch, which Yard says “underscores [John Varvatos’] affinity for rock ‘n’ roll style-makers.”
According to Niedzwiecki, the team worked with Willie Nelson for John Varvatos’ Fall/Winter 2013 campaign. The resulting video has around 800,000 views.
Niedzwiecki describes the Roots video as “a video that got a lot of press … as well as a lot of reviews among the music set,” and says, “It had a lot of traffic and because the Roots are on the Jimmy Fallon show, it extended beyond the normal access we have. NBC had it on their website.”
He says the Roots are an example of talent getting increasingly involved in helping to spread the content, a phenomenon he expects to also see with KISS, which has 11.2 million likes and 636,000 followers.
Niedzwiecki also expects KISS fans, the so-called KISS Army, to fuel viewership and shares as well.
“Basically, about nine or so years ago, we were thinking about transforming the direction of the brand and created a muse, the rock and roll gentleman, which became the guiding light to how the brand has now established itself and it was the guiding light for how to approach the campaign,” Niedzwiecki says.
In a press release, Varvatos says he was inspired by “the idea that every man at some point wants to be a superhero,” and likens the members of KISS to his own superheroes.
In 2014, KISS is celebrating its induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, as well as its 40th anniversary and 40th Anniversary World Tour.
“There’s something great about John Varvatos being connected to a band with such a strong brand identity of its own so we can extend ourselves among their notoriety around the globe,” Niedzwiecki says.
The content is geared to consumers 25 and up, although the John Varvatos collection is probably more in the 30-to-55 range, Niedzwiecki says.