Perhaps no other movie character's booze choices draw more fascination -- and scrutiny -- than what James Bond pours back. So a fair amount of pressure falls to Belvedere as it takes over as the vodka partner for "Spectre," the upcoming installment of the movie franchise.
The Polish brand -- which announced the Spectre deal in December -- will ramp up its partnership on Thursday with the release of a global ad campaign starring Mexican actress Stephanie Sigman, who plays Estrella in the opening scene of the flick, which debuts in the U.S. on Nov. 6. The spot (above) shows a martini created without human interaction. The ad is by BBDO and directed by Antoine Bardou-Jacquet.
This is Belvedere's first Bond partnership. And brand president Charles Gibb acknowledged that it comes with "huge pressure." He added: "This is a massive partnership for us. It's the largest global collaboration that we've ever done. With that comes extraordinary responsibility."
The brand did not release dollar terms for the deal with the movie, which is backed by Sony Pictures Entertainment and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios. A spokeswoman only said that "this is the largest global campaign Belvedere has done."
The Bond character, played by Daniel Craig, does not appear in the ad. And it's unclear if Belvedere will appear in the movie. "We don't know whether the brand appears in the movie or not," Mr. Gibb said. "But I am sure if he drinks a vodka martini in the movie it will be a Belvedere martini," he added, stressing that "I genuinely do not know" if the brand will appear.
In the last Bond movie, "Skyfall," Mr. Bond drank a Heineken, causing a stir with some fans upset about it. Heineken's deal also called for Mr. Craig to appear in an ad.
Heineken's Bond partnership remains in place, and the actor will again appear in a Heineken commercial, according to the brand. Heineken will also make a "Spectre" cameo, although to what degree is not clear. "For obvious reasons we can't reveal the extent or nature of the brand's role in the film. Suffice to say it will be included," a spokesman told Ad Age.
No matter what happens -- with Belvedere or Heineken -- it will be closely watched by Bond aficionados. The Telegraph last year published a lengthy article analyzing Mr. Bond's booze choices over the years, concluding that "in the books, 007 orders many, many other things: From the first drink he ever ordered, an Americano cocktail, to Champagne, whisky, rum, vintage wine, beer and the occasional liqueur."
In the films, the Telegraph notes that many brands have been "part of the furniture," including Havana Club, Courvoisier, Dom Perignon, Martini Rossi, Jim Beam, Bollinger, Moet, Absolut and even 7UP.
When it comes to vodka, Smirnoff has won frequent placement, beginning with 1962's "Dr. No," "when the villain hands Sean Connery a 'Martini, shaken not stirred' made with Smirnoff Vodka," notes the website jamesbondlifestyle.com.
So why would Mr. Bond order a Belvedere? We gave Mr. Gibb the last word: "Bond is a man of style, sophistication and a man who has excellent taste," he said. Belvedere, he added, is "the world's original luxury vodka and we taste fantastic in a martini."