Digital Case Study – eCommerce – Faballey wants you to #unfollow

For the past few days, Fab Alley’s viral commercial by NewYork based standup comedian Radhika Vaiz has created enough storm in the advertising & marketing corridors. In the film, Vaz talks about women and their struggle to conform to fashion trends.

For an ad of such boldness, it was obvious to attract the attention from everything. Since the day it is launched, the ad has gone viral & has already touched around 200,000 hits on Faballey’s youtube channel.


The views that are coming from the industry experts are mixed. While few strategists see this as a huge risk taken by the brand which may backfire due to some gaps in its execution.

Expert’s opinion about #unfollow

In one of the interviews given to afaqs.com, advertising veteran Prathap Suthan’s from banginthemiddle said:

He fears that the brand has fired all its guns at the same time by showing a very niche professional, who is an older, unconventional, and atypical model, speaking a language that’s way ahead of daily speak, and not wearing anything at all.

There is no doubt that Radhika’s ‘bare it all’ act has delivered a huge shock value and it also carries enough arsenal to shake up the cluttered e-commerce ad space which is largely restricted to daily deals & coupons. But by using this bold script, Jack In The Box team may have caused a severe harm to Faballey’s positioning by alienating a sizable chunk of women audience.

The stand up script used by Radhika in the controversial video ‘WHAT THE F**K SHOULD I WEAR?’ is too difficult to follow for an average person. Needless to say that the humor is way too above the sensibilities of a large section of indian population.

Here’s what Eshita Jayaswal from Webchutney has to say about the campaign on twitter:

But she also made a very interesting comment on the topic that shows the irony within the Fab Alley’s brand messaging and I quote:

‘While the brand asks one to ‘unfollow’ it continues to have segments like “Trends”, “Lookbook” and “New In”. If FabAlley wants to break category clutter with such powerful communication, it needs to walk the talk and break away from the typical ecommerce/retail nomenclature that has become a norm in this space.’

Fab Alley has made a bold attempt to create some breathing space in a world dominated by Shoppers Stop, Myntra & Jabong.com of the world.

CEO’s view

While the entire advertising seems to be warming up to the viral, Tanvi Malik, co-founder Faballey.com is in no mood to go defensive about their strategy. In her interview with afaqs.com, she made it absolutely clear that  her brand is here to cause some serious disruption in the thinking of women as to how they can liberate themselves from the shackles of people’s perception & judgements.

‘FabAlley wants to be an empowering, feminist brand. We do not want to operate in the shallow, trend-oriented space’ ~ Tanvi Malik, Co-Founder – Faballey.com

Click here to read the entire interview with Tanvi Malik.

Older, Angrier, Hairier, Unladylike Radhika Vaz

By no means you can call her a girl next door because she is not. Born in Mumbai, Radhika Vaz moved to New York and realized she wanted to be a stand-up comedian. Her humor can be a little uncomfortable for many as the F-word is sitting on the edge of her tongue. In one of her interview given to the Times of India, she responded about her un-womanlike mannerisms & personality by saying,

‘I am barely a woman’

I went through her twitter page, and some of her tweets are real fun to read 🙂    

Being a feminist, Radhika wholeheartedly endorses Faballey’s views about the liberty of expression when it comes to women fashion (it is quite visible in her stand up act too). She is actively promoting the brand through her social pages and in the media. No doubt, having a multi-dimensional personality who is a writer, feminist and a stand up comedian is a great advantage for any women fashion brand.

Social Media Response

The video viral campaign had every recipe to trend on the twitter timelines, and so it did. Faballey’s #unfollow campaign has asked a lot of question to their audience and people (especially women are responding to it) with absolute nonchalance.

#unfollow campaign by faballey.com

The brand has created a separate hashtag #BeAnUnfollower to capture the moods around the #unfollow campaign and engage with their potential customers. They are also prompting the audience to liberate their views & come out of cliches related to their personal fashion. Create your own style statement by not following the herd mentality.

Here are some interesting tweets around #BeAnUnfollower campaign:

My view

I think strategically, innovative tools around fashion discovery or curated fashion will create newer opportunities for e-commerce companies in 2015. To say that boldness never pays in India would be a myopic point of view. Definitely a pat on the back for the Jack In The Box team to break the cliche advertising followed by most of the digital agencies. This may just prompt a lot of retail brands to re-look at their current content strategy. However, using nudity for shock value may just be a little too much for a newer brand like faballey.com.