Burberry’s latest Chinese New Year campaign, called Modern Tradition, has sparked controversy in China, with social media users questioning whether, in the wake of the Dolce & Gabbana furore, it was another example of Western luxury brands misunderstanding Chinese culture.
The British brand unveiled the global photography campaign, starring actresses Vicki Zhao and Zhou Dongyu, on Jan 3, with images shot by fashion big-name photographer Ethan James Green.
Weibo users hailed it as giving them an “uncomfortable feeling”, with one interpreting it as “a family plotting to kill their rich grandma and fight over the inheritance”.
“First Balenciaga, then Dolce & Gabbana, and now Burberry? Chinese New Year is a time for family reunions, joy and luck. These people look like actors in a horror movie,” wrote another.
On Burberry's website, the concept is described as “A portrait of togetherness, gathering the cross generations of family for a seasonal celebration.”
In any case, as one Weibo user pointed out, whether the campaign was well shot, or whether Burberry had accurately interpreted Chinese traditions, is no longer important – since it has “provoked such a wide variety of in-depth readings from so many people”, it is an “advertising success”.