Over the years, I have been lucky enough to make a few ads that have had the same impact as Burberry “Open Spaces”. Cadburys Gorilla and Nike Londoner immediately come to mind, oh and yes, the first Burberry film, Burberry “Festive”. After each one I heard a lot of clients say, ‘we want one of those’, as if they are something you can buy ready-made off the shelf. No wonder when Cadbury “Gorilla” did increase sales by between 7% and 10% dependent on who is taking the credit. Which is incredible really, and does show the real power and possibility of advertising.
What these clients really wanted was the impact, the increase in sales, the fact that they transcended their brand’s category. Now that’s a big ask if you start out with a brand brief that lists their brand values and colour palette.
Apart from a very good simple idea what all those commercials had in common was two things:
– A CMO who had the ambition for their brand,
– And TRUST.
Which brings me back to Burberry.
Burberry briefed Riff Raff and Megaforce and, after a few collaborative sessions, they bought the ideas and let us make them. Naturally, we discussed casting, choreographer, locations and obviously wardrobe but fundamentally they trusted the talent they employed and worked with us. Of course, there were discussions; people passionate about any project will engage in healthy debate, but when you know they trust your talent it becomes a collaborative process, rather than
a dictated mandate. And in return we trusted them.
We didn’t focus on a more smiling take, argue over VO placement or endlessly debate what more we could put front of frame in a brand colour. A sofa anyone?
Burberry understood the impact the film’s idea would have as a branding film.
Burberry understood we weren’t selling a new show or jacket. They knew that in tandem the print, social media posts and “Digital Out Of Home” did that, using the simple idea Megaforce created to hang the campaign on. Burberry TRUSTED that the idea was powerful enough to provide the impact they needed from the film. In short, they trusted the people they hired.
I know it’s not always that simplistic and the Riff Raff/Burberry way of working may not be suited to some brands, but time and experience tells me this:
Have a simple idea, that you can add to.
Not a complicated one you can’t afford, that tries to tick too many brand values.
It’s easier to add than subtract.
Keep the number of people involved to a minimum.
Be an advertiser who trusts the people you employ.
Be an advertiser who trusts an agency for their ideas.
Be an advertiser who trusts a director and the reason you picked them in the first place.
Be an advertiser who trusts the production company.
Be an advertiser who trusts…
Try to be Megaforce. Be Riccardo Tisci. Be Rod Manley. Be Rachel Crowther.
Be Burberry.


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