Belvedere, the luxury vodka brand owned by the LVMH Group, is partnering with the next movie in the James Bond franchise, “Spectre.”
Harnessing Bond’s penchant for vodka martinis and his iconic “Shaken, not stirred” line, Belvedere becomes the official vodka of the movie, which is due for cinematic release next November from Sony Pictures Entertainment.
The news will be something of a relief for Bond fans: In previous movies the spy had been seen (implausibly) drinking Heineken and (more plausibly) Smirnoff. Fans tend to forget he drank Red Stripe in the first movie, Dr. No. The arrival of Belvedere will therefore pull Bond upmarket a bit.
Sitting down with Business Insider at a suitably secretive London location this week, Belvedere Vodka president Charles Gibbs told us the partnership marks the brand’s “biggest” marketing push to date, although he declined to divulge financial details. It is hoped the partnership will raise awareness of the brand globally and highlight Belvedere vodka’s quality credentials.
To kick off the partnership, Belvedere has created two (very large) 1.75l limited edition bottles, which it will showcase at a launch party at London’s Film Museum tonight (December 15.)
The M16 bottle pays homage to 007’s HQ, swapping the signature Belvedere blue ink with the colour of green ink used by M16 officials to sign documents. Belvedere has also replaced the iconic Belvedere Palace that appears on its bottles with an etching of the M16 building. Only 100 of this bottle will be made, but they won’t be available to buy. Instead Belvedere plans to gift them to “Bond aficionados” and put them up for charity auctions.
Here’s the M16 bottle:
The second, more flashy bottle is called the 007 Silver Saber. The metallic bottle lights up, thanks to an in-built LED system. It will be available on sale next year “in selective distribution.”
Here’s the 007 Silver Saber:
Next year, the campaign will ramp up with TV, cinema, digital ads, additional special packs and events planned. As the film is still in production, Gibbs could not confirm exactly what role Belvedere will play in Spectre. Gibbs also turned coy when asked whether there was the possibility of partnering with one of the other brands paying for product placement in the film (Aston Martin is the only other brand confirmed to appear so far, although that doesn’t seem a likely fit.)
The main appeal of the partnering with the Bond franchise was its global appeal, but Gibbs also hopes the partnership will allow the aspirational Belvedere brand to “break through the clutter” of marketing messages by associating with a “moment in popular culture.”
The martini story also allows Belevedere to authentically talk up the provenance of its ingredients. The vodka is made from Dankowskie Rye and blended with own water from its own source in Poland, all key messages the brand hopes will hit home with lapsed drinkers as well as those new to the brand. It is hoped that making Belvedere Bond’s choice for a vodka martini will also encourage bartenders to push the product to their cocktail lists.
LVMH, which also owns the Moët Hennessy brand, saw a 7% drop year on year in reported revenue in the first 9 months of 2014 to €2.63 billion. At the time of reporting, the company said the trend was reflective of a declining cognac market in China. It did not split out separate figures for Belvedere, but said the brand had “sustained volume growth.”
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