Do you dream of becoming the next Great American Novelist, and model your behavior accordingly? Do you get punched in the face in an old-timey boxing ring just so you'll have a story to tell about it? Do you sleep with The New York Times? Of course you do. You wear Warby Parker.
The populist glasses brand gets oddly pretentious in its latest TV spot—a Wes-Anderson-esque homage to highbrow, bon-vivant, capital "W" writers. Titled "The Literary Life Well Lived," the ad is beautifully produced. At the same time, the heavy-handed prep-school vibe is a bit of head-scratcher for a brand that has ostensibly built its success by lowering the bar for access to designer eyewear—and whose lore includes an insistence that its style is "collegiate," not "preppy."
New York agency Partners & Spade helped create the spot; the shop's co-founder Anthony Sperduti cites Ernest Hemingway, George Plimpton and Truman Capote among sources of inspiration for the ad, which aims to burnish the brand's credentials as a favorite among creative types.
Instead, it comes across as something of caricature of the artistic scene it’s meant to celebrate. Warby Parker points out that the actors are not really actors—but "born and bred New Yorkers" who "have that effortless Gotham grit." He is Harry McNally, a fashion designer and artist (also, son of restaurateur Keith McNally) and she is Malu Byrne, a jewelry designer (also, daughter of Talking Heads frontman David Byrne). Philip Andelman, who's shot music videos for artists like Taylor Swift and John Mayer, directed the commercial.
The song, "Got My Feet on the Ground" by the Kinks, is a great choice. The ad itself, though, is still a little head-in-the-clouds.