Memo Pad: Hard Liquor... Making Time... More About More...

When a liquor brand wants to market to a downtown art crowd instead of the suited-up bottle service set, whom do they call?

An image from the 2008 Belvedere Vodka campaign

An image from the 2008 Belvedere Vodka campaign.

Photo By WWD Staff

HARD LIQUOR: When a liquor brand wants to market to a downtown art crowd instead of the suited-up bottle service set, whom do they call? Flannel shirt-clad lensman Terry Richardson. Belvedere Vodka, along with its agency, Berlin Cameron, hired the photographer, known for his randy, sexually charged images, to direct Belvedere's 2008 campaign. The glossy images evoke an average Saturday night on the Lower East Side — late-night dinner, a woman applying blood-red lipstick using a man's belt buckle as a mirror. There is also a 30-second commercial with Richardson, actor Vincent Gallo and revelers crashing an Upper East Side dinner party.

"We were looking for a new direction, a lot more edgy, provocative, progressive, to create our own space in the vodka world," said Paul Ashworth, Belvedere's senior vice president, explaining why the brand hired Richardson. The print advertisements broke in December issues of GQ, Vogue, Surface, Men's Journal, Entertainment Weekly and Rolling Stone, among others, and will continue rolling out new images through the first quarter. Belvedere will also relaunch its Web site next month, complete with additional photographs and outtakes from the commercial. Belvedere is also in discussions to display some of the photos from the campaign during Art Basel at the home of collector and Miami real estate developer Craig Robins. The ad is the most expensive in Belvedere history — $20 million, more than triple the cost of the 2006 campaign. Seems Richardson doesn't come cheap.

Aside from a good payday, Richardson told WWD he appreciated the creative freedom he was given. "What was nice of Belvedere is they wanted me to stay true to what I do," he said. Though his client roster lists Levi's, Miu Miu, APC, Gucci and numerous fashion magazines, surely Richardson must turn down work from more conservative employers. What about Gatorade? "Gatorade is one of my favorite drinks, I would do Gatorade in a second," he said. What about Gerber baby food? "Gerber...that would be great! We'll have a party with a bunch of babies," he responded. Let's hope the tykes aren't drinking Belvedere. — Stephanie D. Smith

MAKING TIME: may be ready to play matchmaker and is considering a foray into social networking. So readers will not only have access to a broad category of current events, they just might be able to find that certain someone. Managing editor Josh Tyrangiel also plans to add more video content to the site, and expand its coverage of global business and entertainment. His strategy with so far has involved taking one topic at a time and aiming to do it better than the competition. Currently, that focus is on politics.
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