By now, everyone has seen the striking Annie Leibovitz portrait of Keith Richards, his electric guitar, and his monogrammed Louis Vuitton guitar case. It is the fourth in a series of ads that have featured Mikhail Gorbachev, Catherine Deneuve, and tennis powercouple, Steffi Graf and Andre Agassi.
The ads have been in almost every respected magazine and newspaper imaginable, the Richards image is the current homepage image for the Louis Vuitton website, and the former Rolling Stone is blown up to two story proportions as the hoarding in front of the soon-to-be-expanded Louis Vuitton store on London's Bond Street.
But somehow, I did miss this YouTube video which goes behind-the-scenes to show how Leibovitz worked her photographic magic with a rock star legend.
Though I understand where she was coming from, I don't think image is really the point here. This is not a traditional fashion campaign (Louis Vuitton stuck to Mert & Marcus and a few supermodels for that). It's about creating reverberations amongst the press and consumers, and most-of-all, reinforcing Vuitton's long-standing heritage in luxury travel luggage.
And in that respect, the campaign can only be considered a raging success. According to France's L'Express Magazine, which published an article entitled La Folie Vuitton (roughly translated Vuitton madness), more than 8000 press articles have been written about the campaign, the blogs are buzzing with discussion, thousands of people have tuned in to YouTube and Dailymotion to check out the behind-the-scenes video and innumerable conversations like the one I had with my friend have probably also happened. This is what one might call viral marketing magic.
Not surprisingly, a 6th face for the Art of Travel will be announced shortly, following in the line of respected faces from politics, entertainment and sport. Who will be next?