Nordstrom Gets Down to Earth While Also Soaringly Artistic in First Campaign From Droga5

Retailer aims to create a connection, not just push clothing

Nordstrom and agency Droga5 feature a cast of part-time and nonprofessional actors in their new campaign, 'An Open Mind Is the Best Look.'
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Nordstrom has some advice that seems well timed to the current divisive climate, but that may never go out of fashion: Be receptive, be flexible, be present. Be who you are, in short, but be part of the whole.

“An Open Mind is the Best Look,” an ad which broke Sunday night in the E! network’s pre-Oscars red carpet coverage, intends to be “a celebration of individuality and human connection,” says Nordstrom CMO Scott Meden.

The campaign—the retailer’s first work from agency Droga5—brings together disparate slice-of-life scenes like a swim lesson, a tap dance and a bus ride. Its stars, part-time actors and non-professionals including a sign-language interpreter, a stylish doyenne and a teen-age karate expert, are diverse in age, background and ethnicity. (There are cool duds, too, though the apparel isn’t necessarily the main attraction. The brand wants you to feel something first and then, perhaps, scoop up that metallic puffer vest).

For the artsy 2-minute hero spot, along with its shorter offshoots, execs took their own tagline’s suggestion, ultimately using one of the cast members as the off-the-cuff narrator instead of adding a scripted voice of god.

“We had everything buttoned up with storyboards, then we got really beautifully surprised on set,” says Alexander Nowak, Droga’s executive creative director. “We had an open mind, and it struck us that what Carol said was better than what we’d written.”

Carol Hickey, an acting coach, makes a cameo in the spot, but her ad libbed dialogue (“I want to have a human experience. Find the passion, make your place, embody your power”) creates the spine of the mini-movie.

“There was so much wisdom in her words,” Nowak says.

"It’s new for us to do this kind of top-of-the-funnel campaign, but we think this brings the brand to life."
Scott Meden, CMO, Nordstrom

Nordstrom, which has made waves with its no-inventory, service-only storefronts in Los Angeles, wants to show off its “emotional differentiator” with “An Open Mind,” shot in Austin, Texas, by Danish filmmaker, music video director and cinematographer Martin de Thurah.

“It’s new for us to do this kind of top-of-the-funnel campaign, but we think this brings the brand to life,” Meden says of creative that’s intentionally less clothing-focused and more story-led. “It’s the core of who we are and how we strive to connect with customers.”

The marketer plans to make a concerted splash with the work through spring on digital and social media and via print, in-theater and out-of-home placements. It’s part of an overall effort that features traditional product-based advertising across channels.


Client: Nordstrom
Agency: Droga5 NY
Creative Chairman: David Droga
Chief Creative Officer: Neil Heymann
Executive Creative Director: Alexander Nowak
Associate Creative Director: Kia Heinnen
Associate Creative Director: Patrick Glorieux
Copywriter: Ben Brown
Art Director: Jackie Moran
Senior Designer: Jen Lally
Chief Creation Officer: Sally-Ann Dale
Director of Film Production: Jesse Brihn
Executive Producer, Film: Mike Hasinoff
Associate Producer, Film: Carlos Valdivia
Music Supervisor: Mike Ladman
Director of Business Affairs: Jocelyn Howard
Senior Business Affairs Manager: Ann Marie Turbitt
Business Talent Manager: Michelle Cramer
Global Chief Strategy Officer: Jonny Bauer
Head of Strategy: Harry Román-Torres
Group Strategy: Director Deepa Sen
Senior Strategist: Kaveri Gautam
Chief Media Officer: Colleen Leddy
Head of Communications Strategy: Dean Challis
Communications Strategy Director: Danni Patterson
Senior Communications Strategist: Hillary Fink
Communications Strategist: Kathryn Rhyne
Group Account Director: Courtney Russell
Account Director: Celeste Pulman
Account Manager: Dani Frank
Senior Project Manager: Laura Rothman

Client: Nordstrom
CMO: Scott Meden
VP, Creative: Red Godfrey
VP, Creative Projects: Olivia Kim
VP, Brand & Digital Marketing: Deniz Anders
Creative Strategy Director: Strath Shepard
Brand Manager: Jenna Edmunds
Senior Program Manager: Karly Orr
Program Manager: Tammy Mair

Production Company: Epoch Films
Director & Photographer: Martin de Thurah
DOP: Kasper Tuxen
Founding Partner: Mindy Goldberg
Executive Producer: Melissa Culligan
Head of Production: Megan Murphee
Producer: Michaela Johnson

Editorial: Work Editorial
Editor: Peter Brandt
Assistant Editor: Winter Brihn
Executive Producer: Erica Thompson
Producer: Christopher Delarenal
Telecist: Company 3
Senior Colorist: Tom Poole
Producer: Alexandra Lubrano
Color Assist: Jenny Montgomery

Postproduction: Blacksmith
VFX Supervisor: Tom Bussell
Executive Producer: Charlotte Arnold
VFX Producer: Tina Chen
Lead VFX Artists: Jamie Scott, Daniel Morris
Compositors: Jacob Slutsky, Robert Bruce, Tim Regan, Joey Deady and Yebin Ahn
Roto: Studio 8

Music: Found Objects
Executive Creative Directors: Jay Wadley & Trevor Gureckis
Composers: Jay Wadley & Trevor Gureckis
Executive Producer: Jennie Armon
Senior Producer: Matt Nelson
Sound Design: Ballad
Executive Producer: Gregers Mærsk Møller
Sound Designer: Adrian Aurelius
Additional Sound Design: Philip Nicolai Flindt

Mix: Wave Studios
Executive Producer: Vicky Ferraro
Producer: Ruth Eaton
Mixer: Aaron Reynolds

@TLStanleyLA T.L. Stanley is a senior editor at Adweek, where she specializes in consumer trends, cannabis marketing, meat alternatives, pop culture, challenger brands and creativity.