PETER YORK ON ADS

No 106: BURTON
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The Independent Culture
ALTHOUGH retailers are a huge category of TV advertisers, clothing specialists usually advertise only at sale times. The airwaves aren't alive with Dorothy Perkins's advances in intimate apparel, nor Evans's latest suggestions for Mrs Bucket's candlelight-supper ensembles. And menswear gets least exposure of all.

But Burton is Everywear (on posters too) with its clever new spelling and its highly memorable image of a huge machine-embroidered label.

It's wordplay, cleverly focused on chaps' new vocabulary which is full of ware, hardwear and softwear. But it has taken a major theme from advertising directed at women: the notion of multiple lives and responsibilities, different moods and the different kits to go with them. Men are getting like that, too, is the theme - and Burton is equally versatile.

So we have our moody track-suited hero in Brando mode knocking a punchbag about in a room that's more Mile End than City Yuppie. And that's hardwear - with the automated needle stitching it out in gold on maroon.

Next we have the (same?) man in newer mode in a lilac - I swear it - bathroom bathing a baby, then holding the delicious cult accessory high in the air and kissing it. Now we've seen lots of man-and-baby shots since 1990 (usually with bare- chested men, though not here). But there's a neat little point to this one: the softwear label.

And we close on the Burton fascia - gold on maroon - at night. With a big store in a big town. Everywear.

This commercial, which will probably win no prizes for artiness or attitude, actually sets up a clever precedent, and will be copied: the notion of men becoming portfolio human beings is an intelligent steal from women's advertising. The punning is simple and clever and the use of stitching labels - the core image of the whole rag trade - is a coup. But best of all they've stuck to a branding route and avoided the pitfall of actually showing clothes.

! Video supplied by Tellex Commercials.

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