Historically, Campari has always been an exquisitely visual and forward-thinking brand with art and advertising going hand in hand.

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Photo by F. Pizzo

The company’s yearly calendar, which in the past has captured images of beautiful women each with a Campari cocktail in hand, is one of the finest examples of pop culture and high art blending in a marketing campaign. In what the company calls a “holistic evolution” beyond the original printed calendar concept, Campari Red Diaries 2017 captures the beauty of the drinks that bartenders create and the stories behind them in a month-by-month photo chronicle and a YouTube video series.

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Photo by F. Pizzo

Setting the scene for the first of these video narratives is a short film called Killer in Red, directed by Paolo Sorrento and starring acclaimed actor Clive Owen. In the fictional story, we meet Floyd (Owen), a bartender who excels at knowing exactly what cocktail a guest needs at any given moment. The drink he describes, the Lady in Red, is deeply linked to his complex and ambiguous relationship with a stunning woman in a red dress, a woman who “belongs” to another man. Sorrento leaves us hanging at the end of the film, hoping for more, just as one does with an expertly made cocktail.

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Photo by F. Pizzo

Killer in Red was the official launch of this groundbreaking campaign that uses digital imagery to capture the Campari cocktail stories of 12 dynamic bartenders. By using film, in addition to still photography, to capture the kinetic nature of bartending, the series embraces the power of modern technology–its immediacy, its reach, and its edited ability to capture ideas.

Photo by F. Pizzo

Clive Owen says of working with Sorrentino: “I had a great time working with Paolo Sorrentino. I think he’s one of the best directors out there; an imaginative visionary. It was great to see him working alongside his brilliant crew, and I very much hope I get the opportunity to do it again sometime in the future.”

Photo by F. Pizzo

With Italian director and filmmaker Ivan Olita behind the camera, each bartender stands behind the same bar as Floyd and mixes a drink while narrating the story that led to the cocktail’s creation. The series features a collection of international bartenders, who were nominated by country. From the United States, legendary bartender and owner Julie Reiner (Flatiron Lounge, Leyanda) recalls a dream she had about her childhood in Hawaii that led her to create the Kula Negroni. Nagore Arregui from Spain explains how she created Quintessenza, a cocktail served in a smoke-filled atomizer that must be served with a smile.

Photo by F. Pizzo

The accompanying Campari Red Diaries Calendar Book eschews the calendar’s traditional series of modelesque fashion shots in favor of the equally stunning images that capture the soul of each bartender and the drink they created. As shot by Argentinean photographer Ale Burset, the 12 cocktails, with their often-saturated Campari red tones and spare composition, prove without a doubt that a carefully crafted cocktail can be just as seductive as a sensual woman. Floyd would undoubtedly agree.

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Photo by F. Pizzo

“Campari Red Diaries was a very easy project to say yes to. I loved the fact it was a short movie with a proper story, as opposed to a two-minute commercial. The fact that it was being directed by the great Paolo Sorrentino was also a great attraction. To me, Campari is a world-renowned brand with true class and I loved spending a few days in Rome while we filmed Killer in Red.”
– Clive Owen, star of Campari Red Diaries’ Killer in Red

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Photo by F. Pizzo