Burberry to Celebrate China – Livestreaming British Music, Technology and Fashion from Beijing

by Katie on April 13, 2011

Now, we all know that Burberry is one of the world’s most leading designer brands to grasp new media by its trench coat lapels and throroughly shake-it up, engaging with a global audiience at every opportunity via livestreaming catwalk collections, active Facebook, Twitter and Youtube usage, digital advertising and, of course, in-store technology.  Burberrry online is available in 45 countries and four languages, for heavens sakes!  What more do you want? 

And yet, today sees the further embrace of its digital future with Burberry hosting its largest ever event (in terms of scale and technology used) on Wednesday 13th April, to celebrate British music, technology and fashion.

Held in Beijing, the event will also celebrate the new Burberry Beijing flagship store and will incorporate virtual and live elements streamed live globally and to 50 Burberry stores (24 of which are in Asia Pacific) simultaneously.  

Burberry will become the first luxury brand to use groundbreaking virtual image technology, combining live models with animated footage and life-like holograms with a fully immersive audio, visual and sensory experience connecting the physical and digital. 

Over 1,000 guests have been invited including local and international VIPs and the event will be watched online through burberry.com, partner sites and at key Burberry stores globally (plus, it will also be streamed onto the external screen wrappings of Burberry flagship on Sparkle Roll store, Beijing).

Says Burberry Chief Creative Officer, Christopher Bailey, “I love the creativity, vibrancy and history of China with its exciting and dynamic energy and it is a huge privilege to be flying the flag for Britain in the magnificent city of Beijing connecting all of our global communities to celebrate everything Burberry represents today from music, to heritage and innovation.”

For the first time ever in China, headline British band Keane will be performing at the event, celebrating the longstanding Burberry association with British music.  Tom Keane, lead singer of Keane says,  “I met Christopher Bailey a few years ago. He’s a big fan of Keane and I’m a big fan of what he does for Burberry so we hit it off.  Christopher suggested that we should team up to create an incredible event combining music, new technology and fashion in one of the world’s most vibrant and exciting cities, Beijing. It’ll be our first trip to China, and we hope to put on a show that will surprise and delight the folks of that fascinating and brilliant country.”    (See his youtube announcement here)

While I whole heartedly applude Burberry for its direction, its embrace of new media and its steely determination to promote its brand and its Britishness, it’s possibly more fascinating that this huge event is timed just when China are making inroads to offset anything that’s viewed as Western and decadent.  Only at recently as March this year, was it reported that the Beijing government appears to have decided that outdoor advertisements are far too ostentatious and a painful reminder to the city’s more downtrodden residents of the widening gap between their rich and poor.

Indeed, The Beijing Administration for Industry and Commerce has now given companies until 15th April  to remove words such as “luxury”, “supreme” and “high class” from outdoor advertising or face a 30,000 yuan (£2,800) fine claiming that such aspirational callings help to create a politically “unhealthy” climate. 

It may be one thing to aspire to luxury product, and another, it seems, to aspire to democracy and a “foreign” lifestyle via either Western designer labels or Chinese based  brands that ape Western brand power and appeal.

By the end of today, Burberry will have managed to pull off a coup in light of this fact. 

Livestreaming begins at 1.30pm London time.  See further details here.

What do you  think of Burberry’s expansion and embrace of new technology and social media?  Please leave a comment in the comment box below.  Thank you.

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