H&M’s recent ‘metal-inspired’ clothing range includes badges and imagery of invented ‘metal’ bands, with names like ‘Mortus’ and ‘Mystic Triangle’. All fine and dandy until it was discovered that some of these ‘bands’ appeared to have some very undesirable, real-world, affiliations. Postings on the “Strong Scene Productions” Facebook page, purportedly the collective home of the H&M bands, led one music blog to claim that some of the bands had “ties with the National Socialist Black Metal scene” (in other words they were neo-Nazis!) Not so fine and dandy……
It then emerged that the Strong Scene Productions FB page and Youtube channel were all a giant, ‘Culture-Jamming’ parody, created by genuine metal fans who decided to play a sophisticated and elaborate joke on H&M; by creating right-wing associations and questionable information relating to the brand’s invented bands, and spreading this across the web.
THE NEED FOR AUTHENTICITY: What fascinated us was that when Henri Sovali, Finnish metal band member and one of the people behind Strong Scene Productions, was asked why they’d done it, he said, “we wanted to point out the fact that you cannot commercialise a subculture without knowing the different aspects of it. Knowledge on your product is essential in marketing.“
For us at Genuine, this campaign is yet another insight into the need for what we term as ‘Cultured Communications’: making sure that brand activations always have an authentic cultural context, or they risk being seen as tokenistic.
BRANDS & MUSIC STRATEGY: If you’d like to know more about our ideas on how brands can use music more effectively, please read: ‘Content, Culture and The Experience Economy’ or call us on 020 3397 9111.
Carli Kapff – Genuine Founder 26th March 2015