Why your brand must watch RuPaul’s Drag Race

[versão em português]

Warning: this post contains spoilers for the RuPaul’s Drag Race 12th season finale. 

The final episode for RuPaul’s Drag Race is usually filmed live, in a theater full of people. Obviously, 2020’s finale viewers would not see that. So, the production had to think about alternative ways for the 12th season, instead of the traditional lip sync battle, face to face, between the finalists.

The episode was divided into three moments: first, they dubbed the same song, at the same time and in close-up, during a video call.


Second, each drag chose a song to present, using the costumes they wanted to use, with backgrounds as good as they could make them selves.

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Finally, they lip sync in front of the same scenario, provided by the show’s production team, assembled by the competitors at their own homes.

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In times of social isolation, the program has adapted to the “new normal” interaction formats that became familiar, such as video calls. They invented a new phase for the finale episode, where each participant sets their own stages – with that, it was also possible to see the personality of each drag queen expressed in the background – a new different medium, in addition to makeup and looks. And it ended with a battle in which they all had exactly the same scenographic resources, so that the focus was on performance.

Why is this important?

As this pandemic progresses, more we risk having repetitive advertising. Yes, many brands have made very good and exciting ads without being able to open camera and rent big studios and crews, I know. But some were so good that they soon began to get imitated – and will continue to be.

The consumer has already gotten used to advertisement with home videos, all made with type text or with photo montages – but there may come a time when all the advertisement communication one person sees all day will look the same. And, from what we are seeing with the disease numbers here in Brazil, unfortunately, social distance will need to continue for a long time.

Another good reference is this clip from Glass Animals. “Dreamland” was filmed during social isolation: Dave Bayley, the lead singer and guitarist for the band, received packages with all the equipment, sets and instructions to assemble everything and make the entire clip in his own home, alone.

Another example: the video for “Go Up” (Cassius, Pharrell, Cat Power), which is not even recent, is all done by patching images taken from video libraries:

My point is that, even with limited resources, there is a lot of different things possible to do. And this is the time for us advertisers to inspire our brands in this sense, so that we have campaigns that are safe and yet still manage to be bold and inspiring.

I feel it’s important that what is currently produced reinforces social distance. This shows the audience how serious the pandemic is, we give the example even if the message is not about that, only with the already assimilated more “home-made” aesthetic.

But, in the timelines of the quarantine days, a brand competes for the attention of its consumer against much more than just their competitor: they need to be more interesting than posts from friends, memes, series, newspapers, lives, recipes, yoga classes and dance challenges.

The size and cost of daring, right now, will depend on the complexity of your idea. But there are many, many talented visual artists in Brazil who are dying to get an authorial project with a brand – and you can contact all of them with one click on Instagram. And there is a whole bunch of people who have experience in production, creativity and good equipment at home – and who can also help to plan and assemble structures like the ones I mentioned in the RuPaul’s Drag Race finale, sent to the participants.

There are many ways to do something different, even with all the restrictions. But the most important thing is that the final result is enjoyable for those watching. And advertisers sometimes forget about that, right?

The time has come for the catchphrases “content is king” and “thinking outside the box” finally get off the paper. Good luck and don’t f*ck it up.

[versão em português]

What’s behind the hyped New York Post Supreme ad?

Supreme was in New York Post’s cover last week. The issue ran out in several places. One regular copy costs $ 2.75 and there are people selling this one on E-Bay for $ 10 as an initial bid. There are 18 year olds who are buying newspapers for the very first time in their lives. Did I mentioned it was a Supreme ad on the cover?

Okay, I know what you’re thinking: how stupid are you if you’re actually buying advertisement?

When, let’s say, the average Internet users found that Facebook uses their data to give them custom made ads, they freaked out. Netflix began ad video testing between episodes, promoting other titles from their own catalog, and everyone freaked out again. In 10 years, the number of Adblock Plus downloads exceeded 500 million. After all, advertising is bad, right? That’s exactly why we pay for subscriptions, right?

It turns out that, in this case, it was not a common ad. By the way, maybe it was not even an ad, at all.

A very long time ago, in the 1990’s, there was this feud in my home city between Telemig and Maxitel for the sales leadership of the then-new mobile market. We had a daily newspaper there named Minas Gerais State and one of them had an ad on its cover, just like Supreme’s. It read: “We are the only mobile company that covers the entire Minas Gerais state”.

If your brain is relating the Supreme ad with punchy lines like that one from my hometown, forget it. They’re business views are not related. And I’ll tell you why.

The clothing and skate brand is from New York, was founded in 1994, having the same age as its costumer now. It has collaborated with brands such as Nike, Vans, Clarks, Playboy, Levi’s, Timberland, Comme des Garçons and with Instagram celebrities: Justin Bieber, Lady Gaga, Gucci Mane, Nas and photographer Terry Richardson are just a few of the notable fans. SupTalk, a Facebook group for buying/selling used brand outfits, have over 60,000 members.

The brand’s logo (probably based on the arts of Barbara Kruger) became a form of expression itself, because of how it’s easy to duplicate it. And, as Pablo Picasso said, being against a movement is already participating in a way.


The “hype formula” is to have high demand and low supply. As well said by Vice UK, what keeps the buzz around this brand is exactly the buzz around the brand!

Although it moved away from it’s original skater background, they were able – with a lot of social media help – to build brand lovers who had never even touched a piece of their clothing or any of their other products. Never. So far.

The newspaper with the Supreme logo on the cover is not a newspaper with an ad on the cover. They turned that edition of the New York Post into a Supreme product. Incidentally, an original Supreme product. And at a very, very affordable price.

Even better: an original Supreme product that costs less than $ 3 would, theoretically, make it affordable, but it was sold for only one day. Remember what I said about hype being high demand and little supply? They have shown their/this power to the whole world: not even producing the same amount as the print run of a popular newspaper and making them cost very cheap, they’ll match the demand.


PS: If this fascinates you, I recommend the documentary “Fresh Dressed”, available on Netflix.

Photo on top: @DropsByJay