Burberry’s latest three-minute Christmas ad does not play like your normal run-of-the-mill Christmas advert. It feels more like a trailer for a biopic set in the early 19th century as it follows the life of Thomas Burberry, the company’s founder, as he grapples with love, ambition, and life in general.
The ad features a fantastic cast of actors to portray Burberry, his wife, and other famous figures of the 19th century. Domhnall Gleeson (Ex Machina, Harry Potter films) stars as Burberry while Sienna Miller (American Sniper, The Girl) stars as his wife. Lily James (Cinderella, Downton Abbey) portrays a fictional character based on Betty Kirby-Green, a real-life pilot who flew with A.E. Clouston back in 1937 from England to Cape Town and back in a record-breaking trip, wearing Burberry while flying a plane that was sponsored by the company. Dominic West (The Wire, The Affair) plays the legendary adventurer Ernest Shackleton who explored the Antarctic, also while wearing Burberry.
The short features a love triangle, World War I, and adventure, making it a very captivating advertising experience. Asif Kapadia, a documentary filmmaker, directed the ad which is probably why it feels more like a biopic than an ad. The company’s decision to cleverly feature its history makes the story feel more significant and authentic even though it is really just promoting its brand.