Through New Year's Day, we're counting down the best brand campaigns and ideas of 2020.
No. 16: U.K. fashion brand Burberry reimagined the iconic dance sequence from the classic film “Singin' in the Rain” with a spectacular modern twist. The contemporary performance by a diverse group of talents was set in an ice storm on the streets of London. The brand positioned it as an uplifting metaphor illustrating our resilience in the face of 2020's challenges. Directing collective Megaforce helmed the in-house spot, which was one of the year's creative highlights and topped our own "Most Popular" chart throughout the holiday season.
In 1952, Gene Kelly created one of pop culture’s legendary scenes as he danced and sang through the city in the midst of a downpour, his face beaming the entire time. In time for the holidays, U.K. fashion brand Burberry reimagines that iconic moment from the film “Singin' in the Rain” with a spectacular modern twist.
Under Burberry Chief Creative Officer Riccardo Tisci, directing collective Megaforce and production company Riff Raff Films recreate the famous dance sequence on a grand scale. In this new version, a quartet, appropriately attired in Burberry clothing and outerwear, sweep through the streets as rain—or rather, huge chunks of ice—plummet down on them from above. But as they spin and twirl they deflect and crush the frozen masses, making their way to the ocean, where one of the dancers plunges triumphantly into the water. A cover of Nacio Herb Brown and Arthur Freed’s classic tune, with vocals from Dreya Mac, serves as the soundtrack.
The ad is titled with a quote from Tisci: “It’s about that fearless spirit and imagination when pushing boundaries.”
Tisci added in a statement: ‘This campaign is about looking forwards, looking to the future—inspired by youth, it brings together a community of different talents and worlds as one. United by passion, commitment and love, this campaign is a celebration of their dreams, of exploring and of always going beyond."
The campaign also includes still images with photography Rafael Pavarotti and styling by Ibrahim Kamara. It debuts alongside Burberry's partnership with British soccer star and activist Marcus Rashford MBE, in which the brand will be supporting youth charities in education and the arts around the word.
Megaforce says that the idea for the film came from “digging through Burberry’s history. The founder, Thomas Burberry, created innovative weatherproof clothing that was used by polar explorers, which gave us this idea of a story that saw its characters braving the elements with ease.” That led them to the iconic scene from “Singin’ in the Rain.” While Megaforce drew inspiration from the film, “we wanted to… make a version that speaks for our times,” they say. “This year has been tough for us all, so we wanted to push the metaphor and transformed the rain to ice blocks.”
The choice of going with a group of four rather than a single protagonist was also deliberately tailored to the times. “We changed the narrative from a single character to a group of friends because going through the adversity is a thing that we’d better do together,” they say.
Unlike other holiday films, Burberry’s is subdued, in a way, free of the fanfare typical of the season. Adds Riff Raff Films’ owner Matthew Fone, “Megaforce took the brief of capturing what Burberry stands for today alongside its prominent heritage and made a festive film that encapsulates the notion of both, in a simple metaphor of adversity in their own, inimitable way, no baubles.”
Choreography was by French collective (LA) Horde, with special effects via MPC, all created remotely. The dancers featured are Zhané Samuels, Robinson Cassarino, Kevin Bago and Chantel Foo.