Shop at Burlington, and Never Awkwardly Discuss Your Fashion Sense in Public Again

After years of the hard sell, some regional and national retailers are actually trying to build brands. Last month, Men's Warehouse jettisoned its bearded chairman from its advertising (after jettisoning him from the company) in favor of a music-driven approach. And last week, Sleepy's put its first outside agency to work with playful new ads. Now, Burlington gets a brand makeover in a character-driven campaign from Silver + Partners. Directed by Harold Einstein, TV ads feature adults in public spaces oddly voicing their internal thoughts about their clothes and what they represent. And while the clothes don't make the man (or woman), they may reflect his or her personality—at least according to the campaign. Each ad segues from a series of verbal thought balloons to pop-up images of clothes and a male voice that says, "Style says it all." Oh, and there's a bit of hard sell via on-screen copy that notes, "Up to 65% off department store prices every day." The tagline: "Style is everything." The effort broke this week and follows a similar push by the retailer for back-to-school clothes in ads featuring kids speaking their minds—via internal voices, this time—as they view themselves (and their clothes) in the mirror. Best of that bunch: a boy in a striped shirt and jeans who thinks, "I'm about to go ninja in here," before he strikes a karate pose.