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Blanguage asks: Is Tiffany & Co really ‘About Love’ in their latest campaign?

The creative and cultural agency, Blanguage is founded by two best friends, Daniel Amoakoh (Head of Creative) & Junior Olomowewe. 
Blanguage’s mission is to amplify the black voice and culture and inject authenticity back into the mainstream media, from inception to development, to ensure the world we see every day is reflected in the media we consume.

“There’s not one type of black, and we are here to champion that. Our agency as a result touches on conversations around art and film to hosting an international debate club on whether Outkast truly are the unsung heroes of the rap industry”  

Founder of Blanguage, Daniel Amoakoh & Junior Olomowewe

As a result Blanguage have recently been working with Hackney Art Commission to consult on the curation of the current Windrush Exhibition, with exhibitors from Martine Rose, Veronica Ryan and Thomas J Price. As well as directing and over-seeing the current exhibition at the Wellcome Collection , ‘What does it mean to be human now?’  as with all their projects, they are on a mission to bring authenticity and voice to diverse communities.

Daniel Amoakoh asks: Is Tiffany & Co really ‘About Love’ in their latest campaign?

The ‘About Love’ campaign is bold move from Tiffany; coinciding the release of this campaign with a pledge of $2M in scholarships and internships to HBCUs. It marks a monumental moment signalling a lot of ‘firsts’:

 

  • The first appearance of a previous privately-owned Basquait artwork, ‘`Equals Pi’, now owned by Tiffany.
  • The first advertising campaign that will feature both Jay-Z and Beyonce (The Carters).
  • The first time Tiffany will feature the 128.54 karat Tiffany diamond in an advertisement.
  • It’s is also the first time a black woman has ever worn the diamond; and the 4th person to wear it in history.

These are not coincidences. Tiffany’s VP believes that Basquiat’s ‘Equal Pi’ coloured in the iconic Tiffany blue could have been the artist paying homage to the brand. There is so much to this campaign contextually that makes it feel like a gigantic power-play - they’ve figuratively crossed all the t’s and dotted all the i’s. The brand have chosen to use two figures who are mainstays in popular black culture alongside work from a Neo-Expressionist artist to represent their brand and, essentially, signposting as a new direction for Tiffany as they move into a new period sitting under LVMH as a part of a $15.8Bn deal.

It leads me to think - what significance do you see in these major figures of popular black culture, that allows you to attach yourselves to them in the hope of changing your brands perception and position? The Carters appear as two shiny new items in the Tiffany universe; and to get it over the line in our eyes of judgement, the $2M going to HBCUs should make enough change for people who need the support from a brand featuring priceless diamonds and rare artwork.

 

With this huge priceless campaign being paired with the $2M gesture, It almost feels like we as consumers and critics are put in the corner as, surely, we can’t critique a charitable move by the brand? Oh, but we can. It’s shrouded in the epitome of capitalism and grandness; a view in which we no longer see in advertisement with societies liberal and considerate goggles where we now want people to be able to feel represented in advertisement. But this is the total opposite. This is reminiscent of the days where Grey Poupon adverts had regular tv spots, or you were told “there is only one Harrods”, “A diamond is forever” and “There’s no place like Selfridges”.

 

Should we continue to usher in a resurgence of these types of advertisements where we are reminded of our limited buying power, our class, and financial status; witnessing moments of grandness shielded behind a donation to HBCUs? Or should we criticize, question, and g-check these brands as they inject their affluence and prosperity onto our social media feeds and ad spots for no purpose other than because they can? (Yep, I said g-check).

- Daniel Amoakoh

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