AWSI: Like the Look of Persol’s New Generation Storytelling…

Persol New Generation Storytelling

When we first read the Adweek “Ad of the Day” piece talking about the new Persol sunglasses campaign, we thought it sounded interesting.

We were aware that Steve McQueen (AKA “The King of Cool”) is the one who made the Persol brand famous in the sixties (he wore blue-tinted Persol 714s in the 1968 movie, “The Thomas Crown Affair.”).

Steve McQueen Persol

Now nearly fifty years later, Persol is going retro with their #NewGeneration of 649s — selling to a new audience that rarely looks up from their smartphones long enough to even notice what sunglasses are being worn by anyone in their vicinity.

So why not engage this audience using the platform they are already locked into while spurring participation in ways they’ve grown up with (think voting by text to choose the winner of American Idol)?

In a nutshell that’s what agency Kettle created for their client Persol.

Persol Instagram vote campaign

They hired a talented illustrator, Jonathan Bartlett, to create a “Choose your own adventure” style graphic novel that is “housed” on the visually-inviting, social media platform, Instagram.

As described in a write-up on website, the story follows Frankie Malone, a lone hero within a faceless, totalitarian regime, who is trying to create a revolution and restore the individuality and identity of his world. More on that in a bit. First let’s talk about the how of this campaign.

>> Yeah, he seems to be living in the world of the 1984 Apple ad.<<

The story is driven by the audience and moves along based on users ‘likes,’ turning a linear and passive experience into an interactive one. Ian Grody, Senior Copywriter at Kettle, told PSFK:

We wanted to take a contemporary form of storytelling and use that as the vessel for our message and our campaign. Not only are graphic novels in popular consciousness now, it’s also a great way to use Instagram’s platform to do something unexpected and disruptive. As the story progresses we’ll see the gallery becoming a graphic novel itself.

Persol New Generation

We love, love, LOVE the look of this graphic novel…

We also love that Kettle and Persol took a very creative approach to engage their intended audience— an audience that can become as vested in the story Frankie as they are with participants in American Idol. And if that #newgeneration is ready to invest in a pair (around $150) of cool looking sunglasses, there’s a strong likelihood they might decide on the ones with a strong backstory that they were a part of. Brilliant!

And about that Backstory…

Joey, Doc and Frannie all jumped on the significance of the chosen story — the quest of Frankie’s to restore the individuality and identity of his world.

Similar to Google’s “Together Not the Same” ad that we like.

And the approach — the Persol #newgeneration seems to be about NOT just following along / passing along / going along / meandering through day-to-day activities. Rather, to embrace the spirit of adventure — be your own version of Mr. “King of Cool” McQueen. Great messages!

Another Shoutout – John Moeller…

John Moeller Persol

Persol: Interactive Storytelling

We came across his website which explained more about the campaign. He appears to be the creative director (quite talented!) behind this effort.

More on the Illustrator…

John Bartlett has done some interesting work. You can find it on his studio website. Great quote on his “Meet JB” page too!


You unlock this door with the key of imagination, beyond it is another dimension.
— The Twilight Zone

That’s a Wrap!

As we see it, Persol, Kettle and the Johns (Moeller and Bartlett) put out a very impressive bit of creative that we believe will resonate with their targeted “new generation.” We will keep an eye on these folks to see where their creativity leads them next. We will also watch closely to see if other companies and agencies “borrow” and build from this campaign. The output could be pretty darn awesome.

Thanks for reading and #SCMF!

—The Gang

Bonus Content:

That face of Persol’s New Generation is the son of Clint Eastwood, Scott.

Scott Eastwood Persol

You can read about Scott Eastwood here and here.

And you can watch him here, in Taylor Swift’s “Wildest Dreams” video.


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