belvedere + terry richardson = drunk wet scenesters.

I don’t like this ad. In yet another bell toll that the branding of scenester culture is morphing it into mainstream culture comes the latest from Belvedere Vodka. Complete with greasy wannabe Vincent Gallo and the world’s least-underground underground photog Terry Richardson, the ad is chock full of hipster clichés…

Oh look – skinny jeans! Oh look – mood lighting! Oh look – are we sweaty or are we just wet? That whole vibe might still be mind-blowing if you live in Idaho, but it’s all a bit too Fiona Apple “Criminal” orgy party circa late 90s for anyone more tuned in than that.

I still like Terry Richardson, and I truly think he’s a talented enough artist that it makes me a littler nervous how close he is to becoming a clone of himself. This whole look, which he had a role in creating, was admittedly hot at the time but now is precariously perched right on the bubble of becoming a parody. Which could give it a few more months of being edgy I suppose, but for me this is already played out. I also don’t think this ad is intelligent enough to be parody – I think it’s trying real damn hard to be cool and sell some vodka. The whole “Luxury Reborn” positioning confirms that for me.

Vodka is a tough market. Like cars and clothing, spirits are irrevocably meshed with the notions of class, self-image, and looking cool. This makes it a brand gold mine but also a potential death trap. If you’re not Smirnoff or Grey Goose you’re somewhere in the great chasm between filled with the upwardly mobile who are rich/savvy enough to not want to drink Smirnoff but poor enough to not have Grey Goose and table service at their beck and call.

Even though Belvedere is a premium brand they miss the mark. This spot is too try hard and simply doesn’t fill that gap.



  1. Good points. For me, it reminds me of The Drake Hotel… not The Drake when it opened, but the current weekend/’905 filled one. Perhaps they’re the market now – if so, its hit the mark. Much like the hotel/restaurant/club I feel this concept was conceived in, I can picture K-os working the corner of this party trying to revive a stalling career… while the real scene is actually happening in another city.

  2. The thing I *like* about this ad is the fact that it’s Belvedere in a change of direction. I think you’re right about the concept being a bit played out, but the fact that Belvedere has gone from “The Beautiful Life” to this sort of down and dirty party crashing is quite a change in direction.

    I think the luxury vodka concept is flooded and people aren’t interested in another vodka telling them how upscale a vodka is. Belvedere got it right here.

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