Jacknife, Stoli Go Back to the Original French Exit

By Jordan Teicher 

For the new campaign for Stoli Vodka, Toronto shop Jacknife asked directors to tell an origin story of their choice. Stoli’s tagline is “The Original Vodka for Original People,” whatever the hell that means, but the origin-story theme can make for some interesting recreations. Director Sean Wainsteim decided to focus his efforts on the origin of The French Exit, when people leave a party without saying goodbye. We’ve all been there. A clingy come-on at a bar, friends of friends who you don’t really know that well, the weird Uncle. For the anti-social, goodbyes are unnecessary social conventions usually meant for people you don’t care about.

You’ve probably never heard of Bentley Theodore French, but he invented The French Exit while at a stuffy, waspy party that may be set in the 1930s, at least according to Stoli’s two-minute narrative ad. Bentley even passes up the chance to dance with two ladies at the same time on his way out the door. I’m not sure why he’s at this party if he dislikes everyone in attendance, but he is a social innovator who will never be forgotten. I still use his work to this day. Credits after the jump.


Director: Sean Wainsteim
Written by: Steve Manale & Sean Wainsteim
Producer: Michelle Woodward
Production Company: OPC // FS
Executive Producers: Harland Weiss, Donovan Boden, Liz Dussault
Commissioned by: Jacknife
Partner/Creative: Mike Kelar, R.G.D.
Senior Designer: Adam Macklean
Group Director, Accounts, Creative Services: Stacey O’Connor
Digital Strategist: Jay Watts
Cinematographer: Brendan Steacy
Production Design: Danielle Sahota
Steadycam: Mike Heathcote
Editor: Skinner
Editorial: Married to Giants
Wardrobe: Maeve McKee
Sound Design & Mix: Grayson Matthews
Casting: Jigsaw
Storyboards: Steve Manale
Colour: Drake Conrad, Rolling Picture Company