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The Frye Company — the 152-year-old boot company whose wares are worn by the likes of Naomi Watts, Shailene Woodley and Julianne Moore — isn’t showing its age when it comes to harnessing social media for its latest campaign. Along with Digital Brand Architects, a company best known in some circles for managing bloggers, the footwear brand created a docu-gram series that’s a documentary series on Instagram— featuring 20 multidisciplinary “makers,” aka craftspeople from New York City who work with their hands, launching on April 7.
Each maker’s story is told in a 15-second Instagram video, shot in their own studio spaces entirely on an iPhone 6 Plus by innovative videographer Kevin Lu of Sweat Engine. “I had a lot of fun trying different things with my iPhone when I was filming this project, and I was able to get a very personal feel from the clips because people are more comfortable in front of an iPhone than a production camera,” says Lu.
It’s not the Frye logo but the hashtag #MeetOurMakers that follows each segment, which “air” on @thefryecompany on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 7 p.m. EST for the next 10 weeks (after they debut they’ll live on Frye’s YouTube channel.) In this sense the brand becomes more of an afterthought as opposed to being the center of the campaign, which was DBA’s goal.
The project came about because of Frye’s roots in craftsmanship and desire to celebrate “artisans of the world.” The DBA team had the idea to have the brand itself step back and instead focus on those passionate about their crafts, creating tangible items and working with their hands in New York City. Frye selected a list of top makers, which includes the premiere episode’s Ariele Alasko, a Brooklyn-based woodworker who makes furniture from reclaimed wood, along with Giles and Henry of NoLita coffee destination Two Hands NYC, porcelain ceramist Susannah Tisue of SKT Ceramics and Root and Bone, an East Village restaurant.
“It was a fun challenge for me to figure out how to use this phone to capture the essence of these people in a very creative way,”says Lu, who also used iPhone apps that allowed to film in hi-def, and found himself trying new setups and getting more innovative within his limited resources. Ultimately, he says, the iPhone “doesn’t feel as serious — t feels more fun to me.” Clearly it was the perfect choice for creating an Instagram campaign of this scope.
The brand joins the likes of Net-a-Porter, Barneys, Nike, Victoria’s Secret and Stuart Weitzman, who on Wednesday will launch an Instagram-specific ad campaign.
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Portia de Rossi
James Gordon Meek