Is the Cartier ad the start of something new?

Anissa Ford's picture

While premiere episodes of The Good Wife and Celebrity Apprentice competed for primetime ratings, a brand new, three and half minute Cartier commercial stole all of Sunday night primetime.

A three minute commercial film is a novel idea for American television. And a welcomed idea as well.

For one, the singular three and half minute ad cuts down on the four to six, successive, frantic thirty second ads believed to be responsible for much of the country’s undiagnosed attention deficit disorder in adults and children.

Instead of many unrelated commercials in a row, audiences get one with the new Cartier ad. The Cartier ad has a name: “L’Odyssee de Cartier.” Cartier’s Odyssey is 165 years old. In other words, Cartier’s been around since 1847. The three minute video speaks to a rich history of entrepreneurialism and adventure.

There’s a leopard, (other releases describe the large cat as a panther, but leopards are members of the Panther genus, so it’s all one in the same. There are snakes, a big, gold dragon and reptiles. The leopard stalks and sulks through lovely, albeit arid scenery.

This stalking and shapely animal replaces the typical sex symbol in a jewelry or parfum advertisement. Typically, a shapely woman in a tight dress slinks through long hallways. But in the Cartier ad, the panther has all the sex appeal. Bejeweled lizards and snakes enchant the set. Alongside the large, gold and rather patriarchal and threatening dragon.

Hopefully the Cartier ad is the start of something new. It would be so much better for American television, its younger viewers and consumer parents, if one product had one long and interesting commercial that returned viewers back to their show immediately after its three and half minute commercial run.

A new wave of three and half minute commercials for one product would drastically reduce the number of consumer advertisements that Americans are exposed to in such short periods of time.

For another, the ad embodies what television really should be: pure, driven and inspired creativity. It’s immediately clear the Cartier Odyssey ad is produced somewhere outside of the U.S. And it’s clear because U.S. luxury ads tend to drown viewers in excess.

(Nevermind how much the ad must have cost Cartier.)

Kay Jeweler and Lexus ads, for example, aren’t simple advertisements about jewels or cars. Those ads sell love in addition to diamonds and transportation. Adoring, hot and steamy love among middle aged Americans and baby boomers. A group, coincidentally, more likely to be unhappily married, if not angrily divorcing or divorced. In the United States, commercials that typically appeal to wealthy consumer audiences dictate what wealthy people look like and the suburban homes they live.

The Cartier ad suggests that fancy jewels are worn on fancy occasions. And when those jewels are not being worn, they’re safe with reptiles. Reptiles typically represent jealousy and envy, not to mention these animals typically elicit human fear. Reptiles are also animals that stay out of sight until they really want something. In other words, reptiles are not showy (like lions).

The dry land, sand dunes and background are also incredibly creative. The arid region is wetted with jewels, green, red, and of course diamonds. All of it, incredibly creative. There's far more to be said on Cartier's play with time and the company's legacy. For example, the watch and the paper airplane are direct reference to the Cartier watches.

So much so that a Celebrity Apprentice or Good Wife recap pales in comparison to the many layers present and worthy of discussion in the new Cartier Odyssey commercial.


Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on
How refreshing - a commercial with class and artistry. It made much more impact than any others with all the yelling and stupidity. It does not insult one's intelligence and is a feast for the senses. Sincere thanks to a company with true taste.

Submitted by gloria benoit (not verified) on
absoutely breathtaking! the most beautiful and incredible commercial i have ever seen,and i have seen a lot in 50 + years,it is saved in my favorites,i would never get tired of watching this,what a beautiful snow leopard,i wish i had a lot of money to be able to buy cartier.amazing commercial, i love it !

Submitted by (not verified) on
I thought the advert was beautifully executed, and it's not surprising giving the backing of Cariter and the two years it took to craft. What is more interesting to us is what it says about the brand and about luxury. Who is this ad talking to? Read our short synopsis at

Submitted by Sonja L. Marshall (not verified) on
Yes. Indeed this is a beautiful and alluring commercial with gorgeous landscape. However, I the leopard is an Amur or Siberian leopard. The striking creature adds to the mystique of this lovely 3 plus minute advertisement.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on
Without using superfluous language, this is the most beautiful visual metaphysical communication of all the Truth, Beauty and Goodness that we have the privilege to behold. Brilliant.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on
I agree with this statement. It was one of the most unique and beautiful ads I have ever watched. The music was perfect in the timing. I applaud Cartier and their marketing department. Keep it up. The ad has CLASS....

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on
I agree with this statement. It was one of the most unique and beautiful ads I have ever watched. The music was perfect in the timing. I applaud Cartier and their marketing department. Keep it up. The ad has CLASS....

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on
You have already used superfluous language. Stop it! This commercial is an asinine overstatement, much like Cartier's jewelry.

Submitted by Ina Munagorri (not verified) on
What a shame that you cannot appreciate beauty or take a few minutes and dream a little. I cannot afford Cartier, but I can totally enjoy a beautiful, tasteful, advertisement from an amazing designer. This commercial is great for the senses, the imagination, the site - perfection. I hope someday you can enjoy a little fairy tale once in a while and escape.

Submitted by Beverley woodhouse (not verified) on
What an absolutely fabulous adverisement! And what a powerful message it portrays. Every woman deep down wants a real man (not one that can be tamed, or controlled because then they lose their allure). But, she also wants one with a soft spot, who can connect with her on a emotional level. Someone who will go out their way to show her that he cares, and this is what the advert is saying. Wild horses can’t stop me (ok they were leased to a carriage…lol) I will jump through hoops I will slay the dragon I will travel all continents I wont let anything stand in my way and will use whatever means I can get to you. I will travel to the underworld of mystery and the unknown, (snakes, tree of life) then will emerge to a new dawn (sunrise) I won’t let time (the clock) or distance (Taj Mahal) stand in my way I’m wild, world travelled I’m a real man but I have a soft spot for you, I love you and will always come back to you. (It helps she is wearing a red dress, passion) And I am bringing you a cartier diamond. To the man or woman who can afford, this will sell diamonds. Well done cartier! Powerful and it certainly spoke to me. Fairytales and myth always contain the most powerful messages (You only have to,look at films like starwars). But can they supply the man to go with it?..


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