Behind the Idea: Unboxing freedom and individuality for Zalando

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Fashion and lifestyle platform, Zalando, has launched a new campaign celebrating free thinkers and and self-expression through Grey London.

Led by an ad starring well-known personalities Adwoa Aboah, Alice Hurel, Felicity Hayward, Rain Dove and Leroy Mokgatle, the work was created for the Autumn/Winter season and encourages consumers to be themselves.

Below, Grey creatives on the project Sam Daly and Rob Greaves pull back the curtain on their idea to explain what went into brining the ad to life.


What was the brief?

The idea of ‘Free to be’ was born out of a pitch process back in March. The brief was all about fashion liberation and changing the way people feel about their clothes. In the world we live in today, the last thing we need is the fashion industry telling us who we should be or how we should look.


How did the initial conversations go?

When approaching the launch campaign, the number one priority was authenticity. We had to start with casting and find real, true, inspiring people that have a story to tell. People who have overcome something to be where they are today, and to give those people the space and platform to be seen and heard.


Tell us about the concept and why it was the right choice?

Each of our cast brought something really different, but truthful and honest to the campaign. This isn’t just another ‘diversity ad’. This was about showing an incredible group of people in a way that celebrates their power as individuals, but also as a collective with a shared spirit.


What was the production process like?

The production was actually really enjoyable. Our director Georgia Hudson was incredible, the clients were extremely receptive and open to collaborating to make the best film possible. The hardest part was pre-production and finding the right people and stories to bring to life in such a short time. 


What’s the main message of the campaign and why is it important?

The message at the heart of the film is that everyone should feel like they have the freedom to be 100% themselves, no matter what that means. Dress how you want, do what you want as long as it’s legal (or just don’t get caught). Be you and be true to yourself, as that's what makes you happy.


Why will the final assets resonate with consumers?

What we’ve tried to do, beyond the special effects and magical realism, is create something that actually feels very human, very real and relatable.  Beyond the main film we have short interviews and social content on Instagram that dives deeper into the story of our cast members. It really gives you an insight into these incredible people and hopefully as a whole campaign it will empower others to have more confidence.


What’s the most interesting thing or unique fact about the campaign?

The music has real cut through. It’s by an artist called Celeste who is incredible, and it gives the ad a soulful feel that you don’t see much, especially in the uber cool world of fashion ads.


How long did it take to make from inception to delivery?

Not including the pitch process, around four months.


What do you hope it achieves for the brand?

Hopefully it’s the first of many campaigns from Zalando that celebrate people as they are, not how the fashion industry or advertising has traditionally shown them. It’s an opportunity for them to be progressive and challenging in comparison to some of their competition.


How satisfying is it to have released the campaign having worked so hard on it?

With any campaign the production process always comes with its challenges, which just makes you so happy to see it out and about in the real world.


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