Can you spot the odd one out?
In the modelling world view of beauty, it’d have to be Roland B, who currently happens to be one step closer to the catwalk than his other rivals in Next’s current become a model competition which has been taking to the streets in recent days.
A Facebook campaign to get the Northern Irish 24-year-old into the top slot is about championing the “underdog” and asserting that you don’t have to be “commercial” to win.
Probably not what Next had in mind but, hey, the social media community has spoken. But how well has the fashion retailer responded to the unintended consequence of its online initiative?
As reported on the Belfast Telegraph’s Fashion and Beauty section:
“Miffed organisers are failing to see the funny side of the internet campaigns. They declined to comment on Roland leading the field and said they will not contact any contestant until deadline for voting has passed.
“However, they said they had no reason to suspect Roland is not a genuine entrant: ”It’s a public vote. People can vote for whoever they like without restriction. The competition is open to any age, height, size or look.”
Branding them “miffed organisers” feels a bit like poetic licence, though it’s a fair assumption when you’re on the look-out for the next Kate Moss or Baptiste Giabiconi and you get Roland Bunce.
But is Next missing an opportunity in the irreverent forum of Facebook, to show some good humour and humanity without degrading its competition? Clearly, having a bit of fun with the concept of beauty and who makes a good model could end up with them being flooded with a sea of non-mainstream beauties. Consequently, guardians of the brand might end up with heart attacks.
To its credit, Next is not being drawn on whether the public is right or wrong in their choice of Roland Bunce as numero uno.
And Right Brain, Left Brain blog seems to have it about right when it says: “I can’t help but feel that if Next had the guts to go with what seems to be the public favourite, there is massive PR potential in turning the Roland Bunce into a stylish man about town, kitted out in Next clobber.”
The question is whether, if Roland seizes the title, he will become the face of the next photoshoot?
And what a great face it is too…