Ad of the Day: Campari’s Lavish Film Noir Takes a Dark Turn on the Road to La La Land

Clive Owen stars in Paolo Sorrentino spot

Clive Owen has cemented his status as today’s go-to star for extended brand films. Late last year he reprised his role at the enigmatic Driver in BMW’s “The Escape.” And in a new 13-minute short film released today, he plays an equally beguiling protagonist promoting a very different sort of product—Campari, and the various cocktails it can be used in.

The film recounts a tale of retro excess as told by a bartender to Mr. Owen’s character, Floyd. While the Clash rages against cops kicking gypsies in an ’80s-era disco with a red velvet fetish, our hard-bitten protagonist gets a little too deeply involved in the business of Los Angeles’ most famously unfaithful producer.

The always-late Floyd eventually meets his match in a striking red dress. And like every proper film noir love triangle, this one involves a beautiful woman, a murder and—happily for Campari—a lot of liquor.

Seems Floyd got a bit more than he bargained for when he chose to mix sweet with bitter.

J. Walter Thompson Milan created the film, which marks a dramatic departure from the brand’s classic, celebrity-studded Campari Calendar concept. The film was directed by Paolo Sorrentino, whose HBO miniseries The Young Pope is one of the season’s most-discussed new shows.

“I am proud to have been involved in this Campari project for two reasons,” said Sorrentino, who is famous for his films’ ambiguous conclusions. “First, because of all, the other incredible artists that had the privilege to work with the brand in the past. My name is now mentioned in the same breath as Depero, Fellini and others, even if it probably shouldn’t. I am also proud because this project, at least compared to Campari’s work in the past, is unusual—I like being involved in pioneering projects.”

“I loved the fact that it was a short movie with a proper story, as opposed to a commercial,” said Owen, adding, “the fact that it was being directed by Paolo Sorrentino was a great attraction.”

In announcing the film’s Rome debut, Gruppo Campari CEO Bob Kunze-Concewitz said it takes the brand and its viewers “into unchartered territory. … Using film as a vehicle for the campaign has allowed us to depict the multifaceted artistry of cocktail making as well as continuously challenging ourselves to drive our iconic status as a world-renowned contemporary global brand.”

In addition to the film, the campaign also features a calendar book featuring 12 unique cocktail recipes and a series of related “Cocktail Stories” videos, which thankfully don’t end with any bodies floating in L.A. pools.

Client: Campari
Creative Agency: J. Walter Thompson Milan
Production House: Filmmaster Productions
Director: Paolo Sorrentino
Screenplay: Paolo Sorrentino
Leading Actor: Clive Owen
The Red Lady: Caroline Tillette
Supporting Actors: Tim Ahern, Linda Messerklinger, Tom Ashley, Steve Osborne, Emily M. Bruhn, Denise Capezza
Director of Photography: Daria D ‘Antonio
Original Music: Lele Marchitelli
Production Designer: Andrea Rosso
Costume Designer: Carlo Poggioli
Hair Stylist: Aldo Signoretti
Make-Up Artist: Maurizio Silvi

Clive Owen wears Giorgio Armani
Caroline Tillette’s dress and swimwear are designed by Carlo Poggioli and made by Il Costume.
Caroline Tillette’s jewels are kindly provided by Bvlgari
Filmed at CinecittaStudio

Cocktail Stories videos
Director: Ivan Olita
Director of Photography: Gigi Martinucci
Production Designer: Andrea Rosso

Recommended articles