Opinion

Why Burberry's Snapchat Testino campaign is the best piece of marketing in 2015

Never mind the John Lewis Christmas ad, says James Kirkham, global head of social and mobile at Leo Burnett, Burberry partnering with Snapchat to create an ad in real-time will be the best piece of marketing this year.

Why Burberry's Snapchat Testino campaign is the best piece of marketing in 2015
Why Burberry's Snapchat Testino campaign is the best piece of marketing in 2015
The future of advertising looks like this, and it is bloody glorious

That’s right. Just as we all gear ourselves up to go bananas about the latest John Lewis Christmas cover, a less talked about event is happening that will have far greater implications for the future of our beloved industry. The future of advertising looks like this, and it is bloody glorious.

Today Burberry launched the first ever 24 hour fashion campaign, shot by Mario Testino. Exclusively created whilst Burberry crafted their more regular spring / summer 2016 output, the beautiful Testino images will only be up for 24 hours before disappearing again into the ether.

Social media can be premium and brilliant

Let’s start from the top. This is a glimpse of just how premium brilliant social media can be. Too often derided for being the poor man’s brother to the more luxurious cinematic above the line, this takes a true photographic artist and master craftsman and pushes it out through one of the most frowned upon platforms of all. Hardly anyone in ad land has ever used Snapchat, let alone gets its potential. Because it started life in the hands of savvy teenagers, the worth of it as a channel to brands and marketing heads was always under scrutiny. The easy assumption that it was all very well for kids in classrooms, but ever doing something of true cultural substance would be difficult. This shows that you can do precisely that, but with far more vigour than most other mediums. And it looks superb.

It is mixing up the visual grammar and vernacular of two different mediums, in a way that you know is now going to influence a million new pieces of communication

How much do I love that reversed-out Snapchat ghost against the black and white of Testino’s classic photography used as part of the campaign promotion? It is mixing up the visual grammar and vernacular of two different mediums, in a way that you know is now going to influence a million new pieces of communication. The content does not need to be garish to stand out, but instead taking subtle cues from one movement and combining them with timeless imagery is where there is true potential.

Creating urgency for the audience

The second reason for the excellence of this campaign is its insistence to create and leverage ‘urgency’ in the audience. In a time when appointment to view is increasingly hard, where consumption is more difficult to achieve through proliferation of choice, this feeling of urgency is a new secret weapon. It is talking to an audience who’ve grown up queueing outside the Apple store or who capture flash mobs as they erupt at a tube station. They adore Lethal Bizzle’s raw and authentic use of the platform, rather than seeking out any traditional looking music video. Urgency is ingrained in their DNA and being able to capitalise on this is crucial.

FOMO is rife, and exclusive Testino shot fashion ranges that last 24 hours are as good a reason as any to be there in the right place at the right time

Snapchat and Burberry is therefore a match made in heaven, where the transient nature of the platform means you have to be in it to win it. Miss it, miss out. FOMO is rife, and exclusive Testino shot fashion ranges that last 24 hours are as good a reason as any to be there in the right place at the right time.

Mobile, mobile, mobile

Thirdly, this is mobile first, built for mobile, through a mobile, delivered on mobile. This is not because the brand is ticking some boxes but because they know this is where we are. More people access the internet on their mobile device now, and every new consumer of the internet for the very first time will do it through a mobile device, not a desktop. The quicker ‘us lot’ in adland adapt to understand this is the first screen and not the last box to check on a brief, the quicker we’ll evolve smarter communications that are more thrilling than those of the last 20 years. We won’t even mention mobile or smartphone, just as we don’t mention ‘the electricity’ when we turn on the lights.

It is easy to talk about brands such as Burberry as often as we mention Red Bull in marketing circles, but now and then you need to take note, sit back and applaud. This event gets everything right and shines a spotlight to a future of how brands will be communicating over the next three years.