China, Burberry also trips: the New Year’s campaign is filled with famous stars, “but looks like a horror movie”

Burberry made big plans around its promotional campaign celebrating the upcoming Chinese New Year. The project was handled by Ethan James Green, photographer with a successful track-record in the fashion industry: he has already curated photoshoots for Fendi and AlexanderMcQueen, for example. Moreover, Burberry, to capture the attention of Chinese consumers, hired Zhao Whei and Zhou Dongyu, movie stars that are well known and recognizable. The campaign was published on January 3rd, and was made of family portraits useful for showcasing clothing and accessories of the new collection. That is how the brand readied itself for the new season of which February 5th, Chinese New Year that follows the lunar calendar, is a part of. Too bad though, that Chinese users of social networks didn’t like the serious faces and poses of the models that participated. If Burberry was trying to celebrate the festivity and family union that this moment represents in China, they didn’t succeed. Social networkers, in fact, commented that the pictures give the impression that “these people are planning to kill their grandmother and then fight over the inheritance”, one comment on Weibo said. Other feedbacks vary from “it looks like a scene from a horror movie”, to “it is horrifying and it’s giving me goosebumps”. The feeling of these comments is summarized by Jing Daily: “For some of the critics of this campaign, which is meant to celebrate a heart-felt festivity of the People’s Republic, is another wrong and ‘in-bad-taste’ example of a western brand that isn’t able to hit the spot with its communication campaigns in China”. The reference made by the Beijing-based news source is to the recent and dramatic fall of Dolce & Gabbana. There are no signs that Burberry may find itself with the same problems as D&G, with shows cancelled last-minute by the authorities and police outside of the brand’s boutiques. But, considering that even the smallest incidents can hurt the feelings of the Chinese public (Balenciaga knows it well), Burberry’s promotional campaign didn’t start off with the right foot.


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