By  on January 29, 2008

PARIS — In a move to reinforce its travel heritage and reach out to potential new consumers, Louis Vuitton is launching its first television and cinema ads.

The artsy and dreamlike spots — with only fleeting glimpses of leather goods and a soundtrack of stirring guitar music — are slated to break Feb. 15 in some 15 countries and run through 2008.

"We thought it was time to speak through a new media," said Antoine Arnault, Vuitton's head of communications. He declined to talk budgets, but allowed the investment would be "significant" given the global reach and the luxurious 90-second pace of its minifilm in an age of "zapping."

Titled "Where will life take you?," the commercial features misty and sun-dappled images of ordinary people in exotic locales — barefoot in the desert, on a slow-moving river barge or in an urban metropolis — as questions like "What is a journey?" flash on the screen.

"It's trying to express a feeling, and a certain quietude," Arnault said, noting the film crews gathered footage in four cities in China as well as in India, Spain and France.

Arnault declined to give specifics about placements, but said the ad would run in select "high-end theaters in the best neighborhoods" and in some cases as the sole pre-movie commercial.

Select cable and satellite channels — of the CNN ilk, it is understood — are also slated to carry the ads.

The spot is considered a companion piece to Vuitton's "core values" print campaign that began last year in a range of general magazine titles tipped to male readers. Images of Mikhail Gorbachev, Catherine Deneuve and tennis greats André Agassi and Steffi Graf will continue this year — with new personalities forthcoming — as a complement to Vuitton's fashion campaigns, Arnault said.

Those images, shot by Annie Leibovitz, have earned Vuitton advertising accolades — and bumped up sales of its monogram leather goods, Arnault said.

"We're now really well balanced between fashion and corporate values," he said. "We have a broad audience for our products so we don't only want to reach people in the fashion world."The cinema and TV ads were created by the agency Ogilvy & Mather, with Christian Reuilly as creative director and Bruno Aveillan as director, and feature music by Oscar-winning composer Gustavo Santaolalla, who did the scores for "Brokeback Mountain" and "Babel."

Vuitton, founded in 1854, has a long history of more "institutional" campaigns, including a series featuring striking landscape imagery by French photographer Jean Larivière.

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