"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: Time.com 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 Time.com 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.