Storytelling reaches new heights for Burberry’s festive campaign

The Tale of Thomas Burberry holiday campaign

The Tale of Thomas Burberry

Burberry has released a cinematic trailer for its holiday campaign – a three-minute film that reimagines key events in its history and leaves us wanting more.

The Tale of Thomas Burberry, as it’s called, taps into the heritage of the brand and its founder, nodding towards the technical capability of the gabardine fabric he develops as well as a fictional love story underpinning the building of his company.

The result: a solid piece of storytelling that does indeed leave the viewer wanting to watch the full-length version of the film. We might know about the resulting success of the brand, but what about the personal life of Burberry himself? Beyond being an inventor, what were his relationships with the explorers and soldiers he outfitted? Did he really fall for another woman after he was married? And what about those thought of his father in his head? It has all the markings of something ready for the big screen.

Written by Matt Charman and directed by Asif Kapadia, the film sees Domhnall Gleeson playing Burberry, with Sienna Miller as his fictional first love. There’s also Dominic West playing Sir 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, who broke the world record in 1937 for a return flight from England to Cape Town in an airplane named “The Burberry”, dressed in Burberry.

The real life moments in the film include Burberry’s invention of the weatherproof fabric gabardine, dressing the military, and outfitting polar explorers and pilots.

“This Christmas, as we celebrate our 160th anniversary we wanted to tell the story of Thomas Burberry – pioneer, inventor, innovator, and the man behind the iconic trench coat – in our own words. 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… We feel very proud to be sharing The Tale of Thomas Burberry this Christmas – his spirit and his vision are still at the heart of everything we do at Burberry today,” said Christopher Bailey, Burberry’s chief creative and chief executive officer.

The Tale of Thomas Burberry holiday campaign

The Tale of Thomas Burberry

Kapadia added: “The aim was to make a trailer for a film that we haven’t actually made. So to bring together all these epic moments of life, death, birth, love and relationships, and to go through time and to have various characters that would appear and reappear – it was about finding these epic movie moments that would then make the trailer.”

The film was shot primarily at Shirburn Castle in Oxfordshire. They team even created replica gabardine tents, made at Burberry’s Castleford factory in Yorkshire, for the exploration scenes.

Shorter edits of the film will appear across Burberry’s social platforms, as well as across digital and cinema advertising. There will also be stills of the cast members and key moments from the film used in print and out-of-home ads.

The Tale of Thomas Burberry holiday campaign

The Tale of Thomas Burberry