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Cartier’s far-out panther commercial

One word: Expensive! Take a look at this new Cartier jewelry commercial:

Amazing. Some reports put the budget of this commercial at 4 million Euro ($5.2 million). And the airtime! The ad (which Cartier refers to as a “film,” of course) is running in cinemas and on TV in 12 countries. I saw it or heard about it running in full—all 3 1/2-minutes of it!—during “Celebrity Apprentice” and “Good Morning America,” and it likely ran on similar shows as well. These are expensive buys! Cartier also plastered it all over the web yesterday; I saw it as a takeover on YouTube and The New York Times sites.

In addition to YouTube (where it already has 600,000+ views), you can view the ad on an elaborate website, which explains the symbols and locations in the commercial and includes production notes. The ad was created by the Marcel ad agency of Paris, and directed by Bruno Aveillan. The model is Shalom Harlow. The three big cats used in the production are named Cali, Tiga and Damou. The copywriters… uncredited. Even though this ad contains no words (apart from the title, “L’Odyssée de Cartier”), somebody had to write the script, right?

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One more note: Throughout its website, Cartier calls the animal in this commercial a “panther,” a riff on Cartier’s Panthère brand and a noteworthy jewelry designer nicknamed “The Panthère.” “Panther” is even a trademark of Cartier. That said: I’m not an expert on big cats, but I’m pretty sure in American English the creature in this commercial is properly called a leopard, as opposed to the rarer cat with dark fur we call a panther. I suspect zoological accuracy took a back seat to branding.

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Who created this ad?

Agency: Marcel, Paris
Translation and localization: Datawords
Director: Bruno Aveillan
Production: Wizz Quad
Score: Pierre Adenot
Animal handler: Thierry Le Portier
Here’s the North American press release about the ad.

Who signed off on it?

I’m guessing Bernard Fornas, Chief Executive of Cartier, and Piet Beyers, Marketing Services Director of Richemont, which owns Cartier.

— By Daryl Lang. Filed under Advertising


  1. Cliff says:

    Actually a Black Panther is technically a leopard too and one can actually see the spots close up among the black coloration. The South American counterpart would be a jaguar and has a similar color variation except in its case it has irregular “rings” rather than spots and is a stockier cat.

  2. Cliff says:

    Actually they are both have a rosette or ringed pattern with dots it’s just that the jaguar’s seem to be larger and more ringlike while the leopard’s are more compact

  3. Janice says:

    The leopard (Panthera pardus) is an Old World mammal of the Felidae family and the smallest of the four ‘big cats’ of the genus Panthera, along with the tiger, lion, and jaguar. Leopards that are melanistic, either all-black or very dark in coloration, are known colloquially as black panthers.

  4. COLLEEN says:

    The most amazing advert I have seen in a long time.


      I saw this advert at the Cinema last night in Abu Dhabi… I thought it was just the most amazing piece, better than the film I went to see… I could watch it over and over again and am just about to do just that… a fabulous creation, only Cartier could do such an amazing advertisement/film…

  5. Peter J. Kurz says:

    Most Brazilians will instantly identify that flying machine as the 14-bis which Alberto Santos-Dumont built and piloted in Paris on Octobedr 23, 1906. The flight won a major international prize for the world’s first officially observed flight of at least 25 meters. It was witnessed by a large crowd and recognized by the Aéro-Club de France as “the first flight.” On November 12 Santos-Dumont “set the first world record recognized by the Federation Aeronautique Internationale by flying 220 meters in 21.5 seconds” ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alberto_Santos-Dumont ). The Cartier film clearly shows the flying 14-bis, piloted by Santos-Dumont in his iconic hat, just after the magic panther leaps on board for this magic carpet ride, as they approach the Eiffel Tower…Not visible in the ad but well recorded is the fact that Santos-Dumont complained to his friend Louis Cartier “about the difficulty of checking his pocket watch” to time his record-setting flight. As mentioned in Wikipedia, he then asked his friend to come up “with an alternative that would allow him to keep both hands on the controls.” Apparently the result was “a watch with a leather band and a small buckle, to be worn on the wrist.”

    I have yet to meet a Brazilian who is not convinced that Santos-Dumont was the inventor of the “heavier-than-air,” self-propelled aircraft. In fact, Brazil’s official presidential aircraft is named “Alberto Santos-Dumont.” There are many amazing entries on the internet — in English, Portuguese and French — about the remarkable life and story of this great innovator and inventor from Minas Gerais.

  6. Greatest three and a half minutes in a world of 30 second wannabees.Stopped me dead in my tracks and made me cut myself shaving. A real work of art from a guy who works with real art and artists all the time. Again, it swept me away and made me forget about all the other crap on television for a brief 31/2 minutes!

  7. Jaye says:

    I was viewing this on DVR and fast forwarding when I just HAD to stop and watch it completely. I even rewound at the end of the show to watch the ad again. Absolutely beautiful!

  8. Kathy says:

    I also was DVRin when I thought it was a movie I put it in my favs love the ad 2 bad I can’t afford Cartier due 2 that ad wood def buy Cartier

  9. Mary Lewis says:

    This is magnificent.I have watched it at least 10 times, I would not expect anything less from “CARTIER’s” true class and attention grabber can’t wait to see what you will do for Christmas 2012.

  10. nancy west says:

    Thank you for such a exquisite, elegant, out of this world film. I would love to get a DVD – are any available to purchase.

    The music is absolutely stunning…

    Thank you again Cartier. Please continue to make the world a better place by creating such a thing of beauty for millions of us to experience.

  11. nancy west says:




  12. Rob says:

    Thanks Daryl for posting this with the extensive information, links, etc. Truly fascinating. But, try as you might, in the strictest terms, there were no copywriters working on this film were there?. Scriptwriters, yes, but not copywriters.

  13. Barbara I says:

    I thought the ad was magical and I loved it. I hate commercials,but this was awesome.

  14. gsm says:

    the clip (or film, if “they” may insist on calling it so) is undoubtedly nice;
    but what about the (not-so)-“subliminal” message behind it:

    Cartier’s beautiful iconic feline
    (as well as registered trademark)

    runs in icy Russian rivers, encounters a Chinese dragon and an Indian elephant,
    and finally flies with Brazilian Alberto SANTOS-DUMONT back to Paris and Place Vendome
    (ah, oui! sauvez Paris!!!)

    despite the efforts of the “extremely sophisticated-as-usual” website to create “historical links” between the Maison and the four corners of the world represented in the clip, Cartier’s new Odysée is clearly a tempting tribute to the new important world markets, the BRICs:




  16. Anna Nemo says:

    That’s definitely not a panther. It’s
    Panthers are black-furred and occur in both jaguars and leopards because both have the recessive gene.
    Jaguars (panthera onca; 9 subspecies; South and Central America) rosettes have the same color on the inside as the outside of the rosettes and the rosettes are less like rings and some have solid spots inside the rosettes. They are of a fairly heavy build.
    Leopards (panthera pardus; Africa, Asia, and Amur region in Russia; 20+ subspecies) are a lighter, more sleek build and the insides of the more circular rosettes are a darker color than the outside. Some of the markings towards their back ends are solid spots.

  17. Anna Nemo says:

    Ooops. I meant to say, it’s a leopard.

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