How Dunhill Digitally Leveraged Their Ad Archive For Newness

How Dunhill Digitally Leveraged Their Ad Archive For Newness

Spring 2020 Collaboration with Kenta Cobayashi


Today’s creative directors walk a fine line between respecting and building upon a company’s rich heritage and moving companies forward. It isn’t enough to simply build product that moves out the door, they have to encapsulate that product within a story, often with budgets that allow for little media.

Since arriving as Creative Director of Dunhill in 2017, Mark Weston has had his job cut out for him. Dunhill, after all, is a mainstay men’s luxury house, but one that lacks a deep well of creative brand equity to fall back on. But rather than let that be a handicap, Weston chose to work with what he had and the result is one of the best examples of how to modernize a brand’s ad archive digitally as a jumping-off point for a 360-degree program.

Starting with four nondescript ad campaign images from the Dunhill archive, Weston teamed with Japanese artist Kenta Cobayashi, who is known for his digital manipulation of images and using photography in abstract ways. Cobayashi worked his digital magic, adding brushstrokes to the ad campaign images, resulting in a new look at the old work.

The way Kenta’s work utilises distortion really struck a chord with me for this collection. For Dunhill, it was a new way to approach the archive without being a slave to it. To look at classic campaign imagery, such as the Jermyn Street storefront from the ’60s or lighter advertising in the ’70s, and bring it to the point of today through Kenta’s craft, felt distinctly new.

– Mark Weston

Here is where many a fashion house would have ended the project, with a few digital assets for social media and calling it a day. However, holistic thinking led Weston to translate the new artistic images to prints, going on to build out a capsule collection of collectibles from wallets to bags to ready-to-wear. But the thinking didn’t stop there, as the team then moved onto translating the program to retail with oversized window decals to plaster store windows.

How Dunhill Digitally Leveraged Their Ad Archive For Newness

Starting with just 4 archival ad images from the 60s, Weston and Cobayashi created a new vision for Dunhill, one that married the house’s heritage and the digital age, all while enticing the customer and cutting through the clutter.

What The Impression also finds interesting is the artwork that kicked this all off can be created by one person, alone, in their workspace, with a computer, a piece of ad history, and a little imagination.

Dunhill Creative Director | Mark Weston
Digital Artist | Kenta Cobayashi