Adam Driver, Oscar-nominated actor and poster boy for smoking a cigarette indoors during a Cannes standing ovation, may have realized his greatest role yet in a new ad campaign for Burberry chief creative officer Riccardo Tisci’s first fragrance for the brand, fittingly named Burberry Hero. And it’s a tale as old as time: man meets horse, and ostensibly finds himself.
In the accompanying commercial, a shirtless Driver bounds down a beach alongside a truly beautiful horse before diving headfirst into the surf wearing only a pair of slim trousers, which has become something of a uniform for him. Underwater, he strides up alongside the horse, as their limbs, equine and human alike, flail in the brackish sea. They seemingly make it back ashore, and in the final shot, a backlit Driver stands against the sunset, one with the horse—a centaur, ready to sell you some fragrance. (Lest we forget, Burberry’s old-school logo is a horse rider carrying a shield, and the scent’s angular bottle, the brand said in a statement, “is an abstract reinterpretation of a horse’s hoof.”) Remember those 2007 promo shots from when Daniel Radcliffe was in Equus? It’s not not like that.
Footage from the campaign made the rounds on Twitter—honestly, almost too handily—by way of a fan account called The Adam Driver Files, who captioned the clip with a lyric from the FKA twigs song “Two Weeks,” which is featured in the video: “I quench that thirst.” (Twigs is also a face for the brand.) Unfortunately, as with inherited characteristics in genetics, thirst simply begets thirst.
But naturally, there’s greater meaning behind the sensually baffling clip. “The campaign challenges the traditional stereotypes of masculinity, bringing together horse and man, and creating a modern myth,” says Burberry. “The powerful imagery of a horse against the vast coastline explores Riccardo Tisci’s codes of duality and the power of the animal kingdom. Through the vivid metaphor of a man becoming a mythical creature in the powerful sea, the campaign illustrates the story of a man leaping into the unknown, overcoming struggles and transforming into something new, while remaining true to himself.” And wouldn’t we all like to transform into something new, while remaining true to ourselves?