As the festive season rolls around, brands go the length in coming up with Christmas campaigns. This year’s winner is probably Burberry, with a short film that reimagines key events shaping its company history and values.
The three-minute clip (which has been released as a mock cinematic trailer titled The Tale Of Thomas Burberry) features a stellar cast of big names. While Domhnall Gleeson stars as Burberry founder Thomas Burberry, Sienna Miller plays his fictional first love.
You also have Dominic West playing Ernest Shackleton, the pioneering polar explorer who wore Burberry gabardine for three Antarctic expeditions, and Lily James as pilot Betty Dawson, a fictionalised character inspired by the real life achievements of Betty Kirby-Green.
Wondering about the connection between Kirby-Green and Burberry? The woman broke the world record in 1937 for a return flight from England to Cape Town in an aeroplane aptly named The Burberry.
Commenting on the director’s hard work, James said that it was a huge undertaking. She pointed out that Asif Kapadia actually started shooting another film the week after Burberry’s production was wrapped up.
“Each scene we filmed was like a real scene even if the end product is just three minutes long. He was so brilliant at getting everyone passionate and involved. I’m just so impressed at what he’s achieved with this film.”
Miller was similarly impressed. She said: “Asif has a real understanding of editing different moments. It’s difficult with short films because you’re trying to create a real story from these short individual moments, but I think he really is fantastic at doing that.”
Kapadia has directed several award-winning films, including The Sheep Thief (1997), The Warrior (2001) and Senna (2010). His work with Amy (2015) has led to it becoming the highest grossing documentary of all time in Britain, for which it won an Academy Award and a Grammy.
Real life moments re-enacted in Burberry’s short film include Thomas’ invention of the weatherproof fabric gabardine, dressing the military, and outfitting polar explorers and pilots. It was shot primarily at Shirburn Castle in Oxfordshire, England.
The location served as the backdrop for the faithfully recreated World War I trenches, and Thomas’s workshop inspired by materials in the Burberry archive. Replica gabardine tents, made at Burberry’s Castleford factory in Yorkshire, were created for the exploration scenes, as well.
According to chief creative and chief executive officer, Christopher Bailey, the brand is very proud to share The Tale Of Thomas Burberry this Christmas. He noted that the man’s spirit and vision is still at the heart of what they do at Burberry.
“The film we have made is a brief glimpse inspired by his full and extraordinary life, which threaded its way through the history of the twentieth century in all its tumultuous highs and lows,” Bailey added.
The release of the campaign coincides with the launch of Burberry’s dedicated in-store and online experiences, plus its iconic gifts for men, women and home. The offerings for the season includes everything from classic accessories to makeup and fragrances.