Skyy’s the Limit

LOS ANGELES The latest campaign for Skyy Vodka from independent Lambesis includes spots that started as online media beauty shots and developed into lavish 30-second commercials now airing as part of an IFC partnership, said Chad Farmer, partner and executive creative director.

“[The campaign] didn’t start as TV commercials but as a library of interactive or video footage for online rich media or streaming video for the Skyy Web site,” said Farmer, whose Carlsbad, Calif.-based agency handles a number of spirits and high-fashion clients, including Bebe, Midori and Campari. “But we wanted to keep cinematic elements in all our imagery, including our print campaign.”

One spot, “Dubai,” shows a car streaking along the desert, followed by a shadow of a jet moving along the sand dunes. When it lands, a Skyy vodka pour is reflected in the glasses of a butler who awaits a swanky model departing the jet. In “Heaven,” an attractive blonde enters a fantasy club, the disco ball becomes a reflection in her eye, and she ends up riding it.

Two-time Oscar-winning cinematographer Robert Richardson shot both commercials.

Farmer said that the spots tie directly into an overall campaign that includes outdoor, print and interactive. Elements referencing the “Dubai” spot will be recognizably a part of outdoor, print and interactive; and the woman swinging on the mirror ball will find its way into print and outdoor.

“The overarching campaign for the last 10 years has been a ‘cinematic cocktail moment,'” said Farmer. “We constantly evolve it, but it always culminates in a Skyy moment.”

That creative strategy came out of the agency’s feeling that no other spirits brand was “communicating what it was like to be in that moment,” Farmer said. “[Our campaigns] are always like being in a dreamy clip or a still image from a movie or a scene.”

Farmer said the focus is on art direction “that puts you in the mood for a cocktail” as a way of owning the premium cocktail style positioning.” The agency has worked for the client 10 years now.

“Dubai” and “Heaven” were designed to run in broadcast and interactive form for at least the next year and a half and be used internationally in different forms, Farmer said.

The spots will run in cinemas and last week began airing during the Saturday night featured movie on the Independent Film Channel.

“The main creative brief is to satisfy all those practical requirements while delivering a pure message of the Skyy brand that brings you into the experience,” said Farmer. “We positioned the brand as sophisticated, clean, modern. It’s all about the imagery that you conjure around it, and communicating the feeling of being in the world of Skyy.”

Skyy spent $11 million in measured media in 2006, and $6 million though May 2007, according to Nielsen Monitor-Plus.