To celebrate the Ad Club of New York's 120th anniversary, The Drum is inviting readers to share their favorite marketing moments from the past 120 years.
Today's marketing moment was chosen by Heather Taylor, a freelance writer for Advertising Week, HelloGiggles and Ed2010. Below, see why Taylor, who tweets @howveryheather, chose David Bowie’s appearance in the 2013 ad campaign for Louis Vuitton as one of her favorite marketing moments.
In the opening shot of this commercial, we see the words “Louis Vuitton Presents L’Invitation Au Voyage” on our screen. Bells chime in the distance as a young woman arrives via hot air balloon in Venice. Making her way into a crowded ballroom of guests decked out in lavish costumed finery, she locks eyes with a man sitting at the piano. He begins to play a song for the room, but it’s mostly for her, as she drinks in the outlandish guests and world she has arrived in. Closing her eyes, the music fades away and she opens her eyes to see a tapestry on the ceiling. She is the only person sitting at the piano in the room, but tucked inside of her purse on top of the piano is a sheet of music - which she carries with her on a boat with red sails as she departs Venice.
The young woman is model Arizona Muse and the musician was David Bowie, recreating Labyrinth for the haute couture set in a campaign from Louis Vuitton. Filmed in 2013, the song sung by Bowie is the Venetian remix of “I’d Rather Be High” from his album The Next Day. Vuitton’s “L’Invitation au Voyage” campaign was actually filmed as several separate shorts, the first of which began with Muse running through the Louvre before heading on a hot air balloon to Venice to end up in the commercial we just watched.
As far as marketing moments go for Bowie or Vuitton, there have certainly been much more memorable spots for both parties. However, in the wake of Bowie’s passing earlier this year, I’m profoundly affected by the way that this ad chooses to end. Bowie’s voice, the fashionable guests, and the accompanied piano keys and harpsichords gradually fade away while Muse quietly moves on to her next journey. A simple, yet haunting reminder that all great parties come to an end, but the best ones are memories we will never let go of.