The Only Way Is Essex is a show which I like to call a ‘fauxcom.’ We don’t know whether the characers and plots are true to the individuals’ real life situations…and, crucially, we don’t care – we’re happy to believe the story for the 1 hour a week it enters our lives. It’s a format of programme which has captured our attention for years – whether the setting is Essex’s Sugarhut nightclub, Geordieland or Chelsea’s King’s road, there is a consistent promise of each little world’s own form of humour, dialect and drama. What makes these shows different from the others is their consistent delivery despite the blurred line between reality and pretence which could lead them and their stars astray. The clothes, the same are they / aren’t they debates, the family dramas…you know what you’re getting every time you watch, even though the plot appears to alter on the surface.
The same is true for brands: if a brand can deliver a consistent message and demonstrate a clear set of values across multiple touchpoints and circumstances, so much more compelling its proposition is. So, we weren’t surprised to see the latest way of cashing in on the zeitgeist of fauxcom popularity: a range of goods licensed with trademark phrases from The Only Way is Essex. The consistent message is there, in a range of goods totally consistent with the show itself: affordable (but not cheap) clothing, accessories and decorations for you to bring a bit of TOWIE into your homes.
It’s a perfect example of how to bring a whole set of values and associations to life in a simple, accessible way – so that us fans out there can demonstrate our love for it without saying a word. I’ve bought my first REEM item…have you?
Next up in the Fauxcom series, I’ll be looking at Made In Chelsea and the example it sets for lifestyle brands.