April 20, 2011

The RL Gang Of The Shopocalpyse

You know, I see a dadtweeter there with like 25,000 followers, and I'm like, geez, even if I were doing it, I'd apparently be doing it wrong? But then I think, maybe not? Because holy crap, the way his profile says "PR Friendly!" makes it sound like a party drug. And then I go to his dadblog, which is basically a Daily Candy-sized dollop of editorial whipped cream on top of whatever sugary press release or giveaway he's been served that day.

rl_gang_scr.jpg

Which, I--wow, here's one for the new Spring 2011 addition to The RL Gang, Ralph Lauren' Childrenswear's "shoppable children's online storybook collection." Which five word combination just happens to be at the top of my five-word combinations that will be banned after the revolution and/or whenver they make me-emperor of China list.

rl_gang_cover.jpg

Does it even matter what The RL Gang: A Magically Magnificent School Adventure is about? Or is it just enough to know it's as adorable as Ralph Lauren Childrenswear's first book, The RL Gang: A Fantastically Amazing School Adventure?

In this book, Ralph Lauren's fun and lovable RL Gang is introduced on a first day back to school that is anything but ordinary. With the help of a magical teacher, each of these little fashion icons embarks on a fantastically amazing adventure, finding out what it means to work together and what a wonderful feeling it is to share.
I ask because I see that people who bought the print version [!] also bought both Pinkalicious AND Goldilicious. And we all know how badly Goldlicious sucked. So I'm a little worried that The RL Gang might be less magical magnificence and more shitty series, designed solely to soak the over-indulgent, under-imaginative Westchester grandmother market.

Is the author [Does he go by Ralph? Mr. Childrenswear?] doing interviews? Maybe a blog booktour or a livechat? Because I'd really like to hear more how adding Elle affected the "shop their looks" dynamic for the rest of the RL Gang, River, Oliver, Hudson, Jasper, Mae, Zoe, and Willow. Of course, we'd need to ask him quick, because once I'm crowned Emperor, "shop their looks" will be on the phrases-punishable-by-death list, too.

I mean, I--we--I'm wearing Polo right now. So's K2. We buy it retail. Vintage. Outlet. You name it. I have the original flag sweater. I've been to the employee store in BF New Jersey. I've had dinners with David Lauren. I helped a giant mall company and a major Hollywood studio to launch a start-up to do this exact kind of shoppertainment in 1998. We hired the guy who did the original Abercrombie & Fitch catalogues which--think about it for two seconds--what are they but shoppable teen sex storybooks? And yet I hate The RL Gang with a fierceness that surprises even me. I curse The RL Gang, and their exclusive retail partners, and everything they stand for.

If only one good thing comes from The RL Gang, it will be will that her pitch perfect uptown voiceover will secure the narrator the role of Professor Mcgonagall when they start remaking all the Harry Potter movies in 2045:

"Click The RL Gang Characters To Shop Their Looks [ralphlauren.com/rlgang via dadarocks]
The RL Gang books are $14.40 at B&N [bn.com]

8 Comments

Ralph Lauren Childrenswear? I don't feel children should swear...

subtle. +1.

I didn't even know they made another "Willow." Is this a prequel or a reboot?

After the coming global apocalypse, I'm changing my name to Ralph Lauren Childswear.

I hear RL Gang and all I can see is a gang of children engaging in a collar pop-off.

You know where you can get cheap RL stuff? The DaDaRocks eBay swag shop. It's like Burlington Coat Factory up in there.

I guess I should say - that I when I started it was personal (and if you follow the stream on twitter it goes in and out of personal)

shit - I live tweeted my own heart attack.

my wife didnt love the personal stuff being aired out and there was a number of things that happened that I didnt want living on google for the rest of my kid's life.

so what you see is now what you get. one major expection is the simple fact that I get 100's of emails (like 300-500 a day) with pitches from hundreds of brands. Some reviews, some giveaways, some simple PR, and you get what I cull out of as the best - my picks - my sugary goodness.

take it for whats it worth - I've trashed more PR releationships by not publishing the crap - and trying to keep the good.

RL had a large charity focus with this book, and yes I meet with a their PR two weeks ago and talked about how the book wasnt effective but the online version was...

so there is a bit of give and take too.

sorry you feel like its a bad Ebay store beta dad...

Look, Dada Rocks, the PR thing is a real issue, and you deal with it how you see fit. At one point, I thought I'd turn my firehose of PR emails onto a different site, just post'em all and let the readers sort them out. I even got the url, daddyhypes.com. But just looking through the first week of crap in the feed was so mind-numbing, I just killed it. You've taken a different approach.

But let's make one thing clear about RL, with all my ambivalence and qualifications above still in force: the idea that this project "had a large charity focus" is utter bullshit. It is a PR smokescreen to cover the company's asses if the book flops, or to justify a controversial attempt to market straight to kids, or the only way they'd get Uma to do the voiceover without paying her a fat endorsement deal, which could never have been justified by the venture's ROI in the first place.

So no, it may be a giant lifestyle brand company taking an experimental approach to shoppertainment and content/retail integration. It may be the kind of scion indulgence that shareholders have to put up with because, well, David Lauren. But especially considering what you're saying, that the book is, in fact, a flop, and the online is not, then the "large charity focus" ends up being a bit of unmotivated attention and a donation that amounts I'll bet is still less than a single table at a benefit gala would generate.

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