Daniel Craig is the star of a major new ad campaign for LVMH's Belvedere Vodka brand—but if you're expecting something James Bond-esque, think again.
Here's a clue: the ad is helmed by the award-winning New Zealand director Taika Waititi ("Jojo Rabbit") who brings all of his surreal humor, quirkiness and edge to the production. Not only that, but Craig dances like you've never seen him before, styled in a look that couldn't be further removed from Bond.
The film opens with Craig standing on the Pont Neuf in Paris in a white suit, in the sort of movie star stance you might expect. But then, after leaping into a car, he exits the other side clad in a black leather jacket, black skin-tight vest and silver neck chain, and breaks into dance.
Craig grooves his way into a luxury hotel, showing off his moves in the elevator, rooftop, pool and reception area before finding a bottle of Belvedere and commenting "finally." At this point, the film breaks the fourth wall: we hear Waititi say “cut” and the scene rolls back to reveal the production team and Waititi himself, telling Craig to “just go again ... be yourself.” The film then finishes with some funny outtakes featuring both director and star.
The ad features choreography by JaQuel Knight, who's worked with the likes of Beyonce, and an original track written and performed by Rita Ora (who just happens to be married to Waititi) together with U.K. rap artist Giggs. Belvedere also commissioned iconic fashion photographer Juergen Teller to work on visuals and print and worked with stylist Christine Centenera on Craig's look, which includes the Vuitton, Dior and Tiffany brands. The ad was shot at the end of July, with 120 extras, in Le Cheval Blanc in Paris.
According to Gemma Parkinson, global marketing & business development director for Belvedere Vodka at Moet Hennessy, the campaign comes as "the brand has gone on a bit of a journey" since the pandemic and is responding to increased consumer demand for vodka by seeking a new "unexpected" direction.
It has brought in a whole new team, including Parkinson herself who moved to run the brand in Paris from a role at LVMH's Ardbeg whiskey in Scotland in January. "We don't want to be defined by the conventions of the vodka category—we wanted to find that creative tension and find something unexpected," Parkinson said.
Although Belvedere has previously appeared in Bond films (Spectre, in 2015) the brand had no pre-existing contract with Craig, but he was persuaded to come on board in the collaboration with Waititi. "He had great vision on how he wanted to bring his persona to life," said Parkinson. "Obviously Daniel is the most iconic vodka drinker in the world but for us, we wanted to showcase him in a different way: with the real side of him that is unexpected, playful and fun. That adheres to Belvedere's values of authenticity, self-expression and style as well. And with Taika's vision and the way he crafted the narrative, Daniel was really supportive of what it could look like."
The campaign breaks on digital billboards in Times Square today and will roll out across the U.S., U.K., France Germany, Australia and Italy, on out-of-home billboards, print ads, social media and online video. "We wanted to take over very premium outdoor billboards first to have that wow moment and drive social currency and brand fame," said Parkinson.