Matt Smith, M.I.A., Kristin Scott Thomas, Naomi Campbell (and her mum Valerie) star in an elegantly eerie festive spot, writes LBB’s Laura Swinton
If the theme of Christmas 2018’s ads so far has been ‘eh, that’ll do’, it seems we must look to the fashion world if we want to find something a little less… expected. Director and photographer Juno Calypso has brought her eye-catching brand of twisted nostalgia, Stepford aesthetics and brittle comic insights to Burberry’s festive offering.
The film features a stellar cast of British talent, elegantly attired and posed in almost-stillness. An unrelenting camera pulls back, taking the viewer on a twisting journey through a series of Christmas vignettes. It’s a big splash for Burberry, which this year took on Ricardo Tisci as Chief Creative Officer and underwent a major rebrand, ditching its heritage logo in favour of a more modern style. And while the film showcases a fresher brand aesthetic and has a weirdness that's geared towards a younger audience, it's a campaign that brings older fans of the brand along with it, particularly with its casting of Four Weddings and a Funeral star Kristin Scott Thomas and Valerie Morris-Campbell, alongside rapper M.I.A., Doctor Who actor Matt Smith and model Naomi Campbell.
For rising star Juno, who has been clocking up prestigious honours wins since her graduation in 2012 – including the prestigious Royal Photographic Society Vic Odden prize and Creative Review’s Best in Book for 2017’s Photography Annual – Burberry’s ‘Close Your Eyes and Think of Christmas’ is a high profile addition to her growing film reel. And if Burberry has left you hankering for more, it’s worth checking out the sugar high of ‘The Salon’, which Juno made in collaboration with COMPULSORY directors Geriko.
This year Juno also debuted her demented Valium-infused photography project ‘What to Do with A Million Years’, which saw her posing inside the luxurious, candyfloss nuclear bunker built for Avon founder Gerry Anderson.
The decision to invest in emerging talent like Juno Calypso (best name ever, by the way) is also worth noting. Luxury fashion brands like Burberry and Gucci have been engaging in a creative arms race to grow profits and engage millennials. It’s a strategy that seems to be working – this week Burberry revealed a 36% surge in year-on-year profits and Gucci’ brand value is up 30% this year to $12.9bn.
So perhaps Burberry’s warped festive film can also serve as something of a heartwarming tale to buoy the spirits of adland’s Bob Cratchits beavering away right up until Christmas eve, fearing that they might be next for the chop. Maybe creativity is good for business after all.