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BONDING WITH VUITTON: Oh, the things he did for England — and now, Louis Vuitton. Sir Sean Connery, the original James Bond, is the picture of masculine cool as the latest celebrity to be featured in the French luxury giant’s “core values” campaign underlining its travel roots.
The ad is slated to appear in a range of daily newspapers and weekly magazines later this month, including The Financial Times, Le Figaro, The New Yorker and Le Nouvel Observateur.
“I wish I looked like that at 78 years old,” Antoine Arnault, Vuitton’s director of communications, marveled in reference to the Annie Leibovitz photo. “He’s sexier than ever.”
Photographed on a beach near his home in the Bahamas, the iconic actor is propped on a wooden dock next to a waterproof version of Vuitton’s Keepall bag. Such is Connery’s natural elegance, the photo Leibovitz submitted was actually a test, before he was handed over to the hair and makeup crews, Arnault said. “In this case, we had the opportunity to work with a legend,” he added. “He’s been on our list for a very long time.”
Arriving just in time for the November release of “Quantum of Solace,” the latest Bond film starring Daniel Craig, Vuitton’s Connery images are slated to run for roughly a year, in tandem with other personalities from the series, including Keith Richards and the duo of Francis Ford Coppola and his directing daughter, Sofia. Arnault reiterated that the core values spots, launched last year with Mikhail Gorbachev, have led to “good results on the products that are shown in the campaigns.”
As unstudied as Connery looks in the photo, could the time listed in the tag line be true? It reads: “There are journeys that turn into legends. Bahamas Islands. 10:07.”
“Well, look at his watch,” Arnault replied. “What a coincidence, huh?” — Miles Socha
BAD NEWS JUST GOT WORSE: The crisis in the financial markets has caused ZenithOptimedia to reduce its forecast for growth in global ad spending this year to 4.3 percent from 6.6 percent and, for next year, the company dropped its forecast to 4 percent from 6 percent. “The bank failures will have a fairly small direct effect on ad expenditure — since financial advertising contributes only about 4 percent of global ad expenditure — but fears for the future will cause consumers to cut their spending, while companies carefully inspect their budgets to find cost savings,” the report said. ZenithOptimedia’s new study also noted that, since its last forecast in June, some Western advertisers have cut back campaigns planned for later this year and postponed budget setting for next year.
The media service agency forecasts that Internet ad spending will grow by an average of 23 percent a year between 2007 and 2010 and will increase its share of the ad market from 8.6 percent last year to 13.8 percent in 2010, up from 13.6 percent in the last forecast.
It’s no secret that newspapers, magazines and television continue to lose share to the Internet, but the report says newspapers are suffering the most: “We now forecast newspaper ad expenditure to decline in 2008 and 2009, the first time any medium has shrunk since 2002. Advertisers will spend less in newspapers in 2009 than they did in 2006.” Earlier this year, ZenithOptimedia conducted a survey of U.S. consumers with BusinessWeek to find out how their spending patterns would change in the event of a downturn. The results: 56 percent of respondents would reduce spending on luxury goods, 50 percent would slow travel spending and 39 percent would cut expenditures on entertainment. — Amy Wicks
SEEKING MORE LUXURY: Speaking of the advertising share shifting to the Internet, Glam Media is now chasing those luxury ad dollars with a new channel that it is revealing today. Glam Luxury includes Web sites focused on luxury fashion, premium travel and fine living. Joe Lagani, vice president of brand sales, said that, despite the current economic climate, he is, of course, bullish. “Luxury marketers need more flexibility and that’s what we offer, week to week, day to day,” he said. “There is no doubt that the luxury marketplace will change dramatically, but luxury is not going away. In the fourth quarter, people with money will continue to spend on watches, cars….” (It just remains to be seen how much they’ll be spending, given the dismal outlook for retail this holiday.) Of course, it helps that Glam has a relatively democratic definition of luxury, with the new channel targeted at readers with an average household income of $100,000 and up. With this in mind, approximately 30 Web sites within the Glam network will have luxury ads, including nine new ones to Glam Media. Swarovski is the launch advertiser. — A.W.
GIRLS RULE: On the morning of the second presidential debate, two central female figures in the race — Sarah Palin and Hillary Clinton — were praised for being personalities to be reckoned with on the political stage, but were also critiqued for how they appeal to the broader public. At Newsweek’s Women and Leadership conference at New York’s American Museum of Natural History Tuesday morning, Vanity Fair’s Dee Dee Myers, Rosario Dawson and MSNBC political analyst Michelle Bernard debated Palin’s appeal to the Joe Sixpack voting population and the overall impact the Alaska governor will have on the image of women in leadership roles. Myers agreed that Palin’s good looks give her an advantage in the election. “Women are judged by their appearance more so than men. So you can either deal with the reality and try to make the most of it or you can pay the price for it,” Myers told WWD after the panel. “Palin’s looks definitely help her. But so does her optimism and her confidence and her ability to take a punch and stand at attack and not cry.”
As for the impact of the economy on women-run businesses and households, CBS anchor Julie Chen asked Tina Brown, who this week launched news aggregation site The Daily Beast, and Lauren Zalaznick, president of NBC Universal Women and Lifestyle Entertainment Networks, about introducing new ventures at a time of economic uncertainty. “It hasn’t affected it at all,” said Brown of her site, which she developed with IAC/Interactive Corp. chief Barry Diller. She repeated what she’s said over the last few days: that headlines of a Wall Street collapse and the election made it “an exciting time” to launch a news site. In fact, Brown said the servers crashed Monday from traffic to the site.
Author and Newsweek contributing editor Anna Quindlen was one of those responsible, exclaiming “I love The Beast!” as she walked by Brown backstage.
For Zalaznick, Bravo’s latest installment of its reality show on affluent trophy wives, “The Real Housewives of Atlanta,” is more than just a materialistic slap in the face of America in a time of economic turmoil. “It’s a layered social commentary,” said Zalaznick. “They’re neither real nor housewives. That’s the irony. There is no such thing as real, there’s no such thing as a [real] housewife.” — Stephanie D. Smith