Dunhill’s A/W campaign: Men, thinking

Just like its Spring / Summer 2011 campaign, Dunhill’s new Autumn / Winter campaign features an impressive cast of thinking men’s men doing what they do best: having a bit of a think.

Just like its Spring / Summer 2011 campaign, Dunhill‘s new Autumn / Winter campaign features an impressive cast of thinking men’s men doing what they do best: having a bit of a think. Explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes, ballet dancer Rupert Pennefather, and theatre director Michael Grandage delve into their brains to divulge nuggets of wisdom whilst looking suitably dapper…

Despite the fact that the formula of selecting brand advocates and photographing them dressed head to toe in your clobber has been replicated since day dot throughout advertising’s history, the campaign, produced by David James Associates, is actually rather pleasing to the eye and mind.

The photography, by David Sims (repped by Art Partner) will stand out in fashion mags because there’s a slight awkwardness about the poses struck by the three subjects. These guys aren’t models, and in a way that draws you in to the copy which reveals that they have more lofty concerns and insightful life lessons to impart than those of your average human clothes horse.

I particularly like Sir Ranulph’s story in one of the ads about finally finding the ancient and long lost city of Ubar, after 26 years of searching, through a combination of luck – and trying to look busy. Good story that.

Like the S/S campaign earlier in the year, there are also short filmed interviews with the selected Dunhill advocates (shot in black and white in keeping with the press campaign) on the Dunhill YouTube channel. However, the tone, indeed the voice, of the print campaign doesn’t necessarily translate.

A photographic portrait, accompanied by a quote in print, set in a particular typeface, maintains a single voice across the various print executions. Actually hearing these men having to ramble on to camera about a strange dream they had (Michael Grandage); their troubled youths (Pennefather got picked on at school); or a particularly harrowing expedition (Sir Ranulph has seen dead people on mountains), in a kind of “and that’s what makes me the man I am today” way comes over rather clumsily and feels ever so slightly patronising.

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