So, you're a werewolf, and it's your night to howl. Your drink of choice would be … a Bloody Mary? A piña colada at Trader Vic's? A Coors Light, aka the Silver Bullet? Nah, too risky.
Actually, a martini made with Three Olives Vodka should hit the spot, according to the stylishly offbeat "Werewolves of London" campaign from The VIA Agency.
The wolf's-night-out narrative unfolds across several short clips, and there's a three-minute music video of popular YouTube chanteuse Masha Shirin performing the 1978 Warren Zevon classic—all bathed in cool nocturnal hues and directed with great sophistication by Anthony Mandler (who also directed VIA's work for 1800 Tequila starring Ray Liotta).
The story's simple. A lycanthropic lothario—you know the type: a real alpha male, pretending to be something he's not (in this case, human)—prowls chic London bars looking for … well, a bite, I suppose. When our lupine ladies' man finally does take someone home, there's a subtle sort-of twist … but the evening's denouement isn't actually revealed.
The dapper dude's dual identity is well handled. We catch quick flashes of his fangs and wild facial hair—in mirrors, or just his mind's eye—that clue us in to his true nature. And his eyes have a tendency to glow. (Too much vodka will have that effect. Tomorrow, he'll be reaching for the hair of the dog.)
Masha's slinky, subdued rendition—half spoken, half sung—helps create a sultry/spooky atmosphere, though I miss the familiar "Aaahoo!" howling from Zevon's original.
Greg Smith, CCO at VIA, says the work is designed to take "the typical Three Olives Vodka drinker to the extreme, creating a protagonist whose polished exterior belies the beast within."
Of course, we can't take that notion, or the campaign's story line, too literally. If we did, it would mean our classy canine cruiser plans to ply unsuspecting women with vodka and then tear them limb from limb. (That's what werewolves do. Along with shedding all over the sofa.) Even seeing the wolf as a metaphor, the ads come a little close to objectifying women as prey.
Either way, there's an un-P.C. tension that, for better or worse, should help Three Olives stand out among more typically watered-down, night-on-the-town spirits advertising.
Client: Three Olives Vodka/Proximo Spirits
SVP of Marketing: Elwyn Gladstone
Brand Director James Bruton
Agency: The VIA Agency, Portland, Maine
Chief Creative Officer: Greg Smith
Executive Producer: Mary Hanifin
Creative Director: Ken Matsubara
Creative Director: Ian Dunn
ACD, Art Director: David Grindon
Sr. Writer: Kristen Kriisa
Group Strategy Director: Jason Wright
Brand Planner: Lyndsey Fox
Producer: Dustin Levine
Production Co.: Believe Media
Director: Anthony Mandler
EP/Production Co.: Liz Silver
Director of Photography: Dave Devlin
Post Production Co.: PS 260
Editor: JJ Lask
Asst. Editor: Matt Posey
Sr. Post Producer: Laura Patterson
EP/Post Production: Zarina Mak
Color: Company 3
Colorist: Tom Poole
VFX Artist: Yannick LeBlanc
Music: Jared Gutstadt and Jingle Punks
VP/Music Supervisor: Jesse Korwin
Dir. of Licensing: Shota Ike
Werewolf of London: James Lee Taylor