Taking poetic license with one’s origin story is suddenly all the rage.
First we had the TravisMathew spots, which just flat-out lied about the apparel brand’s history. Now we get an opulent and cheeky new Hanes campaign, which also bends the truth to take a colorful view of the brand’s founding back in 1901—to support the new Gen Z-targeted Hanes Originals collection, launched in February and billed as the largest cross-category collection in the company’s history.
A two-minute film from The Martin Agency opens on a Downton Abbey-ish aristocratic manor—though this one’s in America, not England. Inside, we see the upper-crust dandies suffering miserably in their restrictive clothing, including uncomfortable corsets and cravats.
Some would say that’s just the price of looking good. But one particular guest disagrees, slips out of the music recital he’s attending, finds an empty room with a phonograph, and is suddenly dancing gleefully to Blondie’s “Heart of Glass” in bright-red, modern-day Hanes underwear.
The onscreen claim that Hanes “changed the world with the invention of comfort” is a bit hyperbolic, too, but all within bounds of the largely fictional world they’ve built here.
Three :30s expand on scenes from the longform.
Martin associate creative directors Avi Steinbach (copywriter) and Rushil Nadkarni (art director) said working on the production design and art direction was one of the most enjoyable parts of the process.
“The exciting part of producing a period-themed campaign like this, was to bring the Victorian era—more specifically, the Gilded Age in America—to life,” the pair told Ad Age in an email. “1901 in America—when Hanes was founded—was lavish, exuberant and even stuffy, all at the same. Our challenge was to capture that grandeur in a film.”
They added: “This world had to look real to immerse the viewer—not a set dressed to play the part. But at the same time, it had to reflect the stuffiness of American wealth and not British royalty.”
The directors were The Coles, a sibling duo from Sanctuary—Sophie, a former costume designer on films and commercials, and Walker, previously an art dealer. “They made for a perfect duo for bringing this world to life,” Steinbach and Nadkarni said.
They shot in Prague, and were painstakingly faithful to the time period with the props and other production elements. “We spent a lot of time fact-finding, checking for historical accuracy,” they said, “and carefully picked many elements that needed to have been invented before 1901 to show up in the film—like the gramophone, the wooden trunk’s design, or the broad hats with decorative feathers.”
The only modern-day element, of course, is the Hanes Originals collection, “which is a surprise when you see it,” the creatives said. “But it allowed for more creative storytelling, to juxtapose a modern idea of comfort against the old guards of fashion.”
The campaign as a while mirrors the promise of the new products, said Sandra Moore, VP of brand marketing, Hanes & Intimates.
“We leaned into our brand promise with Hanes Originals and went even deeper, examining the true meaning of comfort—both from a physical sense and emotionally,” she said. “Hanes Originals lets our consumers embrace their originality, departing from the stuffy fashions of the early 1900s to embrace comfort in a way that feels relevant, stylish and fun to a diverse and modern audience.”