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Dunhill to debut TV film celebrating brand’s soft spot for achievers

November 26, 2012


British apparel and accessories brand Alfred Dunhill will continue its theme of celebrating real men by airing a film called “For the Love” on the country’s Channel 4 terrestrial television network.

The 25-minute documentary focuses on Sam Waley-Cohen who keeps his day job while pursuing his hobby of horseracing to the point of winning the Cheltenham Gold Cup in 2011. A 182-second trailer posted on YouTube highlights the grit and determination of Mr. Waley-Cohen as he sets to repeat his performance in the following year.

“Our communications center around sharing stories that mirror the values of the brand, stories that are inspiring, engaging and honest,” said Jason Beckley, global marketing director at Dunhill, London.

“We’ve made this film because Sam’s story needed to be told,” he said. “We want to celebrate those people who can’t help but be themselves, do what comes naturally with grit and determination, and along the way achieve extraordinary things.

“We want people to see our brand as a brand that echoes this resolve and fortitude.”

Dunhill is a maker of formal and sporty apparel and accessories, footwear, luggage and assorted leather goods.

Not simply hoofing it
The cinematic documentary is part of Dunhill’s series styled as “Portraits of Achievement,” symbolized by black-and-white photography splayed across matte magalogs, mailers and film.

With “For the Love,” Dunhill draws the story of Mr. Waley-Cohen who became the first the first amateur jockey in 30 years to win the Cheltenham Gold Cup – in record time as well. The cup is one of the most prestigious races in the profession.

Alfred Dunhill film

The film points out how horseracing is a spare-time pursuit for Mr. Waley-Cohen. An amateur, he is not paid for his passion.

As Dunhill emphasizes in its promo copy, Mr. Waley-Cohen “does it simply for the love of it. This is a true story of when the amateur became the champion.”

The trailer gives a hint of the thrill of the first win, the nervousness over issues with Mr. Waley-Cohen’s horse, Long Run, and the spirit to excel. It is shot in black and white.

So impressed was Channel 4 – one of Britain’s four major terrestrial TV networks – with the Dunhill film that it scheduled it for a run without payment.

Channel 4 is known for its own internal film department that has won respect for its chops. Trainspotting was one of its films.

Content with black and white
Drawing attention to the stories of real men in their endeavors is now a trademark of Dunhill marketing.

Copy promoting the “For the Love” flick captures this perfectly: “Success is our inspiration. Drawing on the dedication and true grit of those who can't help but be themselves and achieve extraordinary things along the way.”

Indeed, a few days ago Dunhill showcased its autumn/winter 2012 collection through a print catalog featuring its Voice campaign as the cover (see story).

The 120-page, matte catalog styled as magazine featured the label’s fall and winter collections along with editorial content and images. Each one of the covers shows an actor, an architect, a documentarian or a filmmaker.

Alfred Dunhill catalog

Dunhill’s magalog followed the August release of multichannel efforts for its autumn/winter 2012 Voice campaign featuring new ambassadors and content (see story).

The new Voice campaign features actor John Hurt, architect David Adjaye, documentary maker James Marsh and artist and filmmaker Jamie Hewlett.

Per Dunhill practice, the Voice campaign honors distinguished men who have achieved great things in their chosen fields.

While most luxury brands plump for color in their marketing campaigns, Dunhill, and Karl Lagerfeld are the two names that come to mind who rely heavily on black and white to convey their values to customers and prospects.

The use of black and white for photographs seems quite retro.

“Portraiture is very important to us and we like to reference work of the great masters in this art – Irving Penn, Helmut Newton, Francesco Scavullo,” Mr. Beckley said.

“Black and white is a very noble, elegant way to depict our brand,” he said.

Another point of difference between Dunhill and other luxury brands is its soft marketing approach.

Dunhill takes an editorial stance to marketing that is a world away from traditional blank-stare-in-the-distance advertising.

“We use content to reach new audiences,” Mr. Beckley said.

“We don’t do content for content’s sake,” he said. “We stand for intelligence, achievement and creativity, and hopefully this film does, too.”

Trailer: "For the Love"