This thesis explores the tensions that occur, when traditional luxury fashion industry, which is elitist in general, confronts the popular space of social media. Luxury fashion brands are often hesitating to fully embrace social media as a marketing tool because of the uncontrolled relationship with an expanded public, which does not seem to fit with the exclusive and elite character of high-end fashion brands. However, one company that is considered by a lot of researchers and journalist as the agenda setter for luxury brands in the field of social media, is Burberry. The British brand is investing wholeheartedly in online marketing and with several innovative social media campaigns, it became “the most technological savvy of its peers” (The Economist, 2013, p. 60). It will be examined how Burberry leverages on this popular and commercial space, yet maintains its elite character. Memory and nostalgia as a marketing tool will serve as the angle of approach. The harnessing of nostalgia and sentimentality has served the fashion industry well and is now taken to a new level in this digital era. Not much research has been done on the use of memory in social media campaigns, although there is explicitly stated that memory should be conceived as a movement within a cultural discourse. This stresses the importance of investigating the topic via such an approach. By inductively analyzing two of Burberry’s social media campaigns, ‘The Art of the Trench’ and ‘Burberry Acoustic’ via qualitative content analysis, an answer will be provided on the research question ‘How does Burberry leverages on memory to reach an expanded public on social media platforms and at the same time remain an exclusive luxury brand?’ In this study, it is examined, as well as critiqued how new media alters the relation between memory, fashion objects and affect through its participatory digital medium. Results show that Burberry is building a new kind of branding space, in which the lines between amateurs and professionals are becoming more circulatory, and where nostalgic feelings are played upon by combining nationalistic memories (the British heritage the brand is embedded in) with current cosmopolitan expressions. This study extends the existing literature in terms of the leverage of memory as a marketing technique through these new digital branding spaces. Besides, it expands on work that delves into the fostering of particular digital cultures by luxury fashion brands for profit gain and specially, the luxury industry’s relations with their consumers.

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P. Arora, I. Awad Cherit
Media & Business
Erasmus School of History, Culture and Communication

F. Goyarts. (2014, June 26). Popularization of luxury fashion brands on social media?. Media & Business. Retrieved from