If you haven’t yet seen the new Belvedere Vodka ad, directed by Taika Waititi and starring Daniel Craig (“As Himself”), stop what you’re doing and watch it right now.
The two-and-a-half-minute vodka ad opens in cinematic black and white with Craig in a Bond-esque suit, standing on the Pont Neuf bridge overlooking the Seine.
Our hero gazes off into the distance in the image of James Bond––the character he spent fifteen years portraying: suave, brooding, and intensely solitary. In fact, the first 25 seconds of the commercial almost feel like a Bond post-credit scene, bringing his fans (including this writer) some much-needed closure after his noble demise as Bond in 2021’s “No Time to Die.”
However, this is not a James Bond vodka campaign.
Belvedere’s chief executive and president, Francois Xavier Desplancke, said in a statement, “It’s an honor to work with such an incredible group of creative minds and for the campaign to debut across Times Square – a first for Belvedere Vodka. The global campaign ushers in a new era for Belvedere, in which self-expression, authenticity, and style are celebrated in all forms.”
In a quick change of pace, Craig suggestively smirks and coolly slips into the backseat of a Rolls Royce to escape a sea of paparazzi and fans swarming him for photos and praise.
The scene transitions to color and the commercial’s brilliant original track by Rita Ora and Griggs kicks in.
Daniel Craig “As Himself”
Emerging from the other side of the Rolls, Craig is unapologetically “Himself,” seemingly reborn in the heart of Paris as a 21st-century party boy. He’s wearing a black leather jacket, dark shades, and a silver chain. He’s on a different sort of mission. And it’s smashing. Craig dances, thrusts, struts, twerks, flirts, strips, and straight-up boogies through the city streets and, eventually, on the rooftop of the ultra-luxe Cheval Blanc Paris Hotel. (At one point, Craig quite literally dances on water.) His performance brings to mind Christopher Walken’s groovy solo dance in Fatboy Silm’s “Weapon of Choice” music video.
“As Himself,” Craig lets loose with incredible balletic grace. It is fabulous to watch. Of course, we’ve seen Craig outside of the Bond persona many times before, but this performance is on another level. His energy is enigmatic. While this is ultimately an ad hawking vodka, it doesn’t feel like it. The filmmaking and cheeky playfulness of the ad are distinctly Waititi. And on a side note, Waititi confirmed that Craig’s moves (choreographed by JaQuel Knight) are not…not a nod to the infamous dance scene from Waititi’s 2014 cult favorite “What We Do In the Shadows.”
Craig continues dancing and vibing through the hotel, eventually making his way to his room, where a swanky cabinet of Belvedere Vodka awaits. As the ad closes, Craig holds up a glass of Belvedere and says one word — “Finally.”
And then we get a cameo by Waititi himself, who chimes in to say:
“Let’s go again. Just be yourself.”
Could this delightfully surprising ad be Craig’s way of announcing who he is, or might be, now that he has wrapped up his tenure as Bond? We’ll see.
To finish with a bit of behind-the-scenes trivia, Rita Ora brainstormed the key accessory that became the kicker for Craig’s transformation: the monogrammed “DC” diamond grills from the same jeweler she gets hers.