TAG Heuer x Cara Delevingne x David Yarrow: Demonstrate Not Cracking Under Pressure
It is said that the basic principle for success in the watchmaking industry lies in its commercial attractiveness of cool horological innovations. Some however, are making bets on living embodiments of the brand’s spirit and philosophy
Cara Delevingne’s appointment as TAG Heuer’s ambassador in 2015 should hardly come as a surprise. The English model turned actress began crafting her career path aged seventeen after dropping out of school in 2009. Away from a path of traditional academia, Cara has channeled her ambitions and drive, concurrently heading extraordinary opportunities and projects, fronting brands like Burberry, Chanel and Fendi; and now watches for TAG Heuer as their face for women’s watches. Nevertheless, despite her ethos for hard work, the star model’s rise to fame instigates very polarised opinions. The gamut of Delevingne’s fans span from fawning – citing the time her signature bold brows caused a steep decline in sales for many tweezer companies in 2013 – while others more critical, question her credibility and influence in a much saturated industry.
What differentiates a true disruptive It-girl from the other daring feminine luminaries one might ask? Apparently, the power of social media. TAG Heuer ambassador Cara Delevingne credits her meteoric success in part to the ‘gram. Back to Fall 2014, she secured herself a place in Instagram history when she became the first ever model to take a video selfie as she walked the Giles Deacon show at London Fashion Week. Sarah Doukas, cofounder of Storm Model Management who discovered Delevingne as well as her predecessor Kate Moss vouch for her when she pointed out that “nobody else from another generation, perhaps Kate’s, would even consider doing that”.
TAG Heuer x Cara Delevingne x David Yarrow: Demonstrate Not Cracking Under Pressure
Her fiercely edgy appearance matches Cara Delevingne’s unapologetic personality and controversial beliefs. The starlet has been publicly using her popularity to broach topics such as feminism, sexual orientation and animal rights which have garnered her a cult following of millennial audiences with similar beliefs. While it can be said that Delevingne’s endeavour in the media industry is not a novel one, what she has accomplished is not without merit. Cara pushes boundaries with her daring nature and it is immediately evident how her commanding persona would fit TAG Heuer’s current brand direction to a T.
When Delevingne was first announced as the newest face of the luxury watch brand that lists timepieces for thousands of dollars, many found the pairing more unusual than anything – can the mere avatar for youthful zeitgeist inject enthusiasm for accessories and watches currently perceived as irrelevant to millennials? Cara may be the perfect embodiment of TAG Heuer’s brand image now, but were we expecting the young audience she reaches through her millions of following on Instagram to start shopping for luxury watches? Nevertheless, three years on, we realise that CEO Jean-Claude Biver was playing the long game with his choice of ambassador – Cara Delevingne currently embodies the brand exactly as Biver envisioned.
“We want our brand (TAG Heuer) to illustrate the bold and open-mindedness of today’s youth”. – CEO Jean-Claude Biver
According to Biver, Cara Delevingne is avatar for the brand’s Avant Garde Spirit as well as the personification of its current slogan, “Don’t Crack under Pressure”. That is, “the spirit which pushes us to do things differently, to innovate, to take risks”. The campaign captured ably through the lens of fine art photographer David Yarrow, hopes to reconnect with a younger audience on a deeper level, as a literal symbol of the feminist mantra “hear me roar”, Delevingne poses face to face with a lion, demonstrating an intense, fearless and feminine visual. The intensity of the image is further amplified by the engagement behind-the-scenes, thanks to Yarrow’s peerless skill at capturing a piercing gaze. If anything, the final outcome, to which Yarrow describes as “the heart of the campaign” will be setting the scene for the public to feel intimately close with the brand.
Don’t Crack Under Pressure Campaign as seen through the lens of David Yarrow
You mainly work for yourself how was it working with a brand for something that is commercial and out of all brands TAG Heuer?
I think working for any brand that’s a big company, it keeps you on your toes you have a sense of responsibility. Whereas, when you’re working for yourself you know that you can be your own worst enemy and worst critic and I’m very tough on myself. If you mess up, it’s just the two of you just you and your own self in a room. Where you don’t want to mess up with a big company, particularly the amount of emotional investment they’ve made. So it keeps you on your toes and you want to be as good as you can be for them because they put faith in you.
Could you explain how did the shoot come about?
It evolved very quickly but at all times I was heartened by the fact that there seemed to be passion from all sides to get this done. From Cara and her team, from TAG Heuer’s team and certainly from my perspective.
And how was working with Cara?
It certainly keeps you very focused. She is who she is – and for all the right reasons. I discovered this over the last couple of days. She’s a rock star. She’s got so many facial expressions and her personality can just move very, very quickly albeit an acting perspective and of course she’s stunningly beautiful and has got extraordinary eyes. That’s the best thing, because I’m an eye person. When I’m photographing an animal, if the eyes aren’t sharp it’s very difficult to get an insight into it’s soul. So the first thing I look at all the time are the eyes and with her she has totally intoxicating eyes, so that was always going to be the epicenter of the project from my perspective in the photograph.
If you had to describe the whole experience in a few words, how would you describe it?
I think it’s great to work with great people. It’s very tough to go from working with really professional people to those that do it in a halfhearted way and Cara and the whole team give it their all and that also encourages you to make sure that you don’t let them down or yourself down. So, I thought it was a very strong team for a strong brand and yes, it’s very satisfying that hopefully we got out of it what we deserved to get out of it.
How can you relate to our Don’t Crack Under Pressure motto?
From my perspective, photography is just about a few key moments. It is about making sure when you’ve gone to the other side of the world to get access to something phenomenal, when that content emerges into the viewfinder you’ve got to make dead sure that you seize that opportunity. That means being very focused on the job at hand.
What sort of relationship do you have with time?
With time? I just don’t have enough of it. I think someone said, “even a broken clock is right twice a day”. Time is very important because photography is the language of art. Time for me is a key component of photography. The key verb in photography is light – is the language of light and the light moves around as time moves around. Light is very different here at five in the morning to what it is at ten o’clock in the morning or midday and the degree of precision is inherent within everything that we do. “Time and tide stay still for no man” [ancient saying], so you’ve got to make the most of it.
And do you think TAG Heuer, you and Cara got what you needed?
I hope so. I hope that when people will see this picture at an airport or in a magazine or in a billboard… there’s the possibility that they might just stop in their tracks and go: “My goodness, look at that” and just stop them, just stop them in their tracks. It’s very difficult in 2017/2018 for one still image to grab people’s attention and hold it. But I think this image will. I think it will actually cause people to walk into other airport terminals because they’ll be transfixed by it. It is a great shot because you have a triangle of souls going on in the photograph; the soul of the photographer, most importantly her [Cara’s] soul, her look, and also the look, soul and the personality of the lion. That was a hard triangle to get right and I think we did. I think it’s unequivocally all three points of the triangle were reflected in the picture.
Did you enjoy yourself and would you do it again?
Oh yeah, absolutely! We’re here with my friends and it’s great to be with special people and a special company and that has been a lot of fun.