Your shoes, your books, the computer you buy or the phone you choose reflect something of who you are—at least, we like to think so. We also like to think we imbue our belongings with a certain us-ness. Style is a conversation we have—not just with other people, but with our things.
Shouldn’t your residence be part of that conversation?
Hong Kong’s Swire Properties is building its first mixed-use real estate development in the U.S.: Brickell City Centre in Miami. And to demonstrate what makes it different, it’s tapped Ming Utility, its agency of record, to express it out loud and in color.
The campaign is called “Welcome to the Centre of Attention.” Here’s a slice of what you can expect: From the outside looking in, it may seem as a bit of a mystery.
“Centre of Attention” should tell you everything you need to know about this approach. The video’s focus is on three trendy archetypes—an elegant, sort of artsy older woman in a leather skirt; a super cool black dude with a Williamsburg cap; and a trendy younger woman whose sequined green jacket resembles a snake.
This untouchable trio make love to the camera, interspersed with flashbulbs, satellite shots of the planet, a cockatoo, one bizarre pan of the universe (filtered through a leather jacket, natch) and the aforementioned snake.
For those who seek too earnestly, it may never appear.
This is a style manifesto, one meant as much to flatter you as it is to push aspirational buttons. The copy, conveying more of a vibe than anything quantifiable, can refer to anything from fashion to religious salvation.
Some spend a lifetime in search of it, only to find that you needn’t look for it at all; it finds you.
“Our audience wants to dress like who they are,” Ming creative director Krissa Nelson tells AdFreak. “Their style isn’t defined by expectations or rules and they don’t subscribe to ‘head to toe’ anything. They don’t fret about what others think, and when you live with this mentality, you naturally become the ‘Centre of Attention.’ ”
The ad ends with a raspy “Welcome to the Centre of Attention,” then “Brickell City Centre” appears onscreen, the only indication the spot is for a place that physically exists in the world.
“This campaign is all about being your authentic and real self,” says Clare Laverty, avp of marketing and PR for Swire Properties. “We wanted to showcase unique personalities. It’s a new approach for a retail center and we’d expect it to resonate with our visitors. Brickell City Centre has got so much personality and we wanted our campaign to have it, too.”
Brickell City Centre is located in Miami’s financial district. It’s a posh 5.4 million square-foot mix of retail, hospitality, residential and commercial spaces, flanked by a Saks Fifth Avenue and a movie theater.
According to chief creative officer Linus Karlsson, Ming drew its inspiration from “the incredible attention to detail, and the commitment to create something entirely new and different, through a very bold and eclectic mix of retailers. It’s unlike anything else.”
This sexy enclave is united by sharp minimalist design, some of which you can glimpse on the website. Accompanying creative—which includes print, out-of-home and social media—expresses more of Brickell’s values, using the same three characters you met above:
The archetypes are meant to represent “truly global citizens and not defined by borders, but rather the cities in which they travel, work and live,” explains Nelson. “They seek balance between work and play, staying connected and recharging, even between day and night. Brickell City Centre is a place where they can find this balance, a place designed specifically for these interesting characters and the dualities of modern life.”
Ming was founded by Karlsson, president Tara DeVeaux and CEO Brian DiLorenzo in 2014. What you see here doesn’t quite convey their sense of humor—Karlsson, for his part, is responsible for some pretty wacky Miller Lite work, Buddy Lee and MTV’s “Jukka Brothers.”
Earlier this year, Ming brought us an anti-campaign in which Smith’s ChromaPop sunglasses were benignly trashed by two fishermen.
Meanwhile, “Centre of Attention” is pure, unadulterated advertising—the definition of using feelings of both identity and aspiration to unlock a big-ticket purchase. It’s unrealistically cool, 100 percent emotional and not at all practical.
But it will perhaps spark curiosity among the city’s spendy inhabitants. Our only quibble is that, per the 2010 US census, 70 percent of the city is of Hispanic or Latino origin. It was only natural to ask Ming whether they thought the campaign spoke to these people as well.
“We set out to find global citizens who are truly befitting of the spotlight. We searched for people with real stories and layered personalities. We did not provide traditional specs,” Nelson says. “We wanted to explore a full range of people known for their style and who had a natural and magnetic quality. Sam, Bobby and Celia embody all of that.”
Karlsson builds on the idea that it isn’t so much the demographic that counts as what these people convey. “We were not targeting a specific demographic but rather a lifestyle and mind-set,” he says. “Much of the Hispanic population certainly has that lifestyle and mind-set.”
Here’s a shot of the billboards out in the wild.