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HARD LIQUOR: When a liquor brand wants to market to a downtown art crowd instead of the suited-up bottle service set, whom do they call? Flannel shirt-clad lensman Terry Richardson. Belvedere Vodka, along with its agency, Berlin Cameron, hired the photographer, known for his randy, sexually charged images, to direct Belvedere’s 2008 campaign. The glossy images evoke an average Saturday night on the Lower East Side — late-night dinner, a woman applying blood-red lipstick using a man’s belt buckle as a mirror. There is also a 30-second commercial with Richardson, actor Vincent Gallo and revelers crashing an Upper East Side dinner party.
“We were looking for a new direction, a lot more edgy, provocative, progressive, to create our own space in the vodka world,” said Paul Ashworth, Belvedere’s senior vice president, explaining why the brand hired Richardson. The print advertisements broke in December issues of GQ, Vogue, Surface, Men’s Journal, Entertainment Weekly and Rolling Stone, among others, and will continue rolling out new images through the first quarter. Belvedere will also relaunch its Web site next month, complete with additional photographs and outtakes from the commercial. Belvedere is also in discussions to display some of the photos from the campaign during Art Basel at the home of collector and Miami real estate developer Craig Robins. The ad is the most expensive in Belvedere history — $20 million, more than triple the cost of the 2006 campaign. Seems Richardson doesn’t come cheap.
Aside from a good payday, Richardson told WWD he appreciated the creative freedom he was given. “What was nice of Belvedere is they wanted me to stay true to what I do,” he said. Though his client roster lists Levi’s, Miu Miu, APC, Gucci and numerous fashion magazines, surely Richardson must turn down work from more conservative employers. What about Gatorade? “Gatorade is one of my favorite drinks, I would do Gatorade in a second,” he said. What about Gerber baby food? “Gerber…that would be great! We’ll have a party with a bunch of babies,” he responded. Let’s hope the tykes aren’t drinking Belvedere. — Stephanie D. Smith
MAKING TIME: Time.com may be ready to play matchmaker and is considering a foray into social networking. So readers will not only have access to a broad category of current events, they just might be able to find that certain someone. Managing editor Josh Tyrangiel also plans to add more video content to the site, and expand its coverage of global business and entertainment. His strategy with Time.com so far has involved taking one topic at a time and aiming to do it better than the competition. Currently, that focus is on politics.
Tyrangiel said the daily challenge for Time.com is competing against virtually every news and current events Web site on the Internet. But it appears his strategy is getting some lift, as revenue has increased 345 percent from 2006 to 2007, according to a Time spokeswoman. Time.com’s unique visitors are up 53 percent since 2006. That compares with a broad category of 100 current events/global news sites, which have collectively only increased 13 percent during the same period, according to Nielsen//NetRatings. “The more engagement we get, the better,” Tyrangiel added. — Amy Wicks
MORE ABOUT MORE: More is temporarily operating without an editor, but even as Meredith looks to replace Peggy Northrop, who decamped to Reader’s Digest two weeks ago, the magazine is proceeding with its first Women in Film contest. A panel of judges that included Angela Bassett, Glenn Close and Jamie Lee Curtis, among others, chose from more than 1,000 scripts and short films submitted by unheralded female writers over 40. The magazine said contestants’ ages ranged from 40 to 90, and that Laurie Donahue, a law professor from Toledo, Ohio, won first prize in the screenplay competition, while Abigail Zealey Bess, a film and theater director in New York City, took honors for best short film. They’ll be bolstering their careers with agent and studio development meetings set up by More, as well as a free intensive screenplay workshop, a “luxury spa getaway” and $5,000. No word on whether the Dec. 10 lunch in Los Angeles will be presided over by a new editor. — Irin Carmon
INTO THE JUNGLE: Former Harper’s Bazaar market director and current editor at large for C magazine, Amanda Ross, has found a new gig at Candace Bushnell’s show, “Lipstick Jungle.” Ross is working as a consultant on the drama, helping to style and create the wardrobes for its three stars, Brooke Shields, Kim Raver and Lindsay Price. “It’s a huge amount of work in a short period of time but it’s exciting to watch the characters come to life,” said Ross. “Lipstick Jungle” will begin airing on NBC in early 2008. — A.W.