Burberry has revealed what could arguably be its most important marketing campaign to date as it looks hit the reset button on the brand with its first ‘straight-to-consumer’ collection following several challenging quarters.
This coming fashion week, Burberry will for the first time show a collection that will be immediately available online and in-store after, a momentous shift in tact for a luxury label used to selling itself on the idea of exclusivity.
This new model has been powered by the rise of social media coupled with burgeoning mobile and e-commerce sales.
Virginia Woolf inspired campaign
Burberry will continue to lean heavily on channels such as Snapchat, Twitter and Pinterest, but it’s also hoping that a new advertising campaign – shot by Mario Testino – will be able to shift its fashionable wares quickly following their debut on the catwalk.
Little has changed in the way Burberry has approached the main element of the campaign. As it has done in the past, the retailer will continue to feature up-and-coming British models, musicians and actors. This time, the brand push has been themed around Virginia Woolf's book Orlando, reflecting the new collection which “contrasts masculine and feminine styles across different periods in history".
However, a second, more interesting, arm of the campaign has emerged. A variety of different men and women from mills and factories across England, Scotland, and Italy who make Burberry’s products have been drafted in to front a series of print ads. Dubbed ‘Burberry artisans’ the first man to be profiled is the pattern maker for its newest bag, The Bridle.
“This campaign reflects a collection inspired by Virginia Woolf's Orlando and also sets out to honour the many skilled craftspeople who work on Burberry's iconic products," said Burberry chief creative and chief executive officer Christopher Bailey.
"I am therefore very proud to be sharing Mario Testino's incredible portraits of Jean Campbell, Cavan McCarthy and Alex Dragulele, which we have set alongside portraits of our talented Burberry artisans."
The New Craftsmen
In a further nod to its British heritage, Burberry has inked a tie-up with The New Craftsmen, a luxury homeware online store which brings together various craftsmen and artists across the UK.
Some of these craft makers have been invited to participate in activities and installations taking place within Burberry’s new show venue, named ‘Makers House’, in London’s Soho.
It will be open to visitors from 21-27 September, showcasing original works by a selection of makers who will use this space to experiment and create, using the collection’s inspiration as the starting point for their work.
“Just as Virginia Woolf's Orlando is both a love-letter to the past and a work of profound modernity, this week-long exhibition aims to nod both to the design heritage that is so integral to Burberry's identity, and to some of Britain’s most exciting creators, and the innovation and inspiration behind their work,” added Bailey.
Drawing a line
Burberry will be hoping this drastic change in sales strategy and a fresh marketing campaign will be enough to help stem what has been the most challenging period in its 160-year history. Bailey has only recently taken on the chief creative remit after being ousted by investors who were unconvinced of his ability to successfully hold the dual chief executive/creative role.
Profits have been tumbling over the last 12 months and its share price plummeted by 35 per cent in the last year.
But digital has been the ailing brand’s saving grace, growing strongly in all regions during the first quarter of the year with mobile delivering the majority of the growth (some 60 per cent of traffic to the site now via a mobile device.)
This is what has given it the remit to continue its experiments with emerging channels. Last week this saw it collaborate with Pinterest on the launch of a new beauty product where it was able to create a personalised experience for the platform’s users based on their makeup preferences.
It’s still too early to say how this will help dive sales Burberry. Although the brand is quick to talk up the impressions and reach such channels can deliver, little has been said on how it’s impacting the bottom line.