Al Pacino stars in Barry Levenson directed Vittoria coffee commercial produced by RSA

Screen shot 2010-07-14 at 2.29.30 AM.pngUPDATED TO INCLUDE THE COMMERCIAL: Screen legend and Oscar-award winning actor Al Pacino stars in a print and television campaign for Vittoria, Australia's No.1 pure coffee brand, in what is his first ever product endorsement in his career.

The television campaign was directed by Academy Award Winner Barry Levinson, best-known for films such as Rain Man, Good Morning Vietnam, Wag the Dog and Sleepers and produced by RSA, the production company owned by Ridley Scott. Celebrity photographer Brigitte Lacombe, whose work has appeared in Vanity Fair, The New Yorker and The New York Times Magazine who has photographed the likes of Barack Obama, the Dalai Lama and Bob Dylan, was engaged to shoot the print campaign.

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"We're incredibly proud and honoured that Al Pacino has agreed to star in a commercial for Vittoria. What's even more incredible is this is the first time the star of Godfather, Scent of a Woman and Scarface has agreed to endorse a product," said Les Schirato, CEO of Vittoria Coffee, the 100% family owned Australian company. "The fact that Pacino is from an Italian migrant background - just like our family -makes him feel like a true ambassador for our brand."

Screen shot 2010-07-12 at 4.45.48 PM.pngAll the creative - from the television script to the print advertisements - has been developed in-house at Vittoria. The commercials were filmed in New York City in May.

"We've been roasting coffee for over fifty years and have become the biggest pure coffee company in Australia. We sell the equivalent of 1.6 million cups of coffee a day. We wanted to celebrate this success by working with some of the most successful artists in the world to create our campaign."

Levinson (far left) joined the project at the suggestion of Pacino, who recently worked with the director on the television drama You Don't Know Jack, which recently aired in the United States.

"We are proud that as an Australian business, Vittoria coffee has been able to secure one of the world's leading stars to endorse our brand. We compete against the world's largest food companies and are still Australia's no 1 in the pure coffee market." says Schirato.

82 Comments

Anonymous said:


Lynchy.

If a company decides to completely disregard the advertising community and do all their creative work in house, I suggest....

a) We don't promote them.

b) Ask them to post a link rather than a press release.

c) Explain why this seems to be a rather basic and client-led reaction to the very successful 'George Clooney' campaign for Nespresso. (Crap, but worldwide.)

d) Ask 'em to stick it up their bums.


Anonymous said:

look at those money eating grins...

Anonymous said:

I'd normally agree with 5.09 but... If it's good it's good for the category, which is then better for the industry as the bar gets lifted. It's it's shit, well, they've reaped what they've sewn.
I suspect though that there's something else going on here. Pacino was in Melbourne a few months ago shooting a flim, so I'm not suprised if he developed a love for Vittoria Coffee or if the CEO met Pacino at an Italian club when he was in town. And it's probably been written with a lot of heart and passion. Maybe Coffee lovers might find it's Italian credentials interesting.
I guess we'll find out tonight.
After working in this industry for quite sometime I can tell you that there's not too much to be impressed by in the Account Service departments. A lot of clients don't like us and don't trust us. Are they wrong? Or have we created this shit hole for ourselves?
We need to polish our game.
Lets see if this week's judge votes it in on Best ads.

Anonymous said:

It might be really amazing (I hope so- just to piss everyone off).

Anonymous said:

Creative work is creative work no matter who does it, so quite frankly 5:09, bugger off. If it's crap then I'm sure you'll let us know. If it's great I'm sure we'll know that too. People employed by ad agencies don't have a monopoly on ideas......in fact some people in ad agencies have no idea at all!

Anonymous said:

Is it Al Capacino now?

Anonymous said:

If Al Pacino is going to endorse your brand and it's coffee, why the fuck would you need an agency or an idea, he is the bloody idea.

Rich. said:

6:38PM bloody funny. Classic.

Anonymous said:


They played a preview of the ad on the today show this morning and it was very impressive. Shot in black and white and the script seemed really natural and there was no corny hard sell. Apparently there are 4 spots. Looking forward to seeing the rest.

Anonymous said:


Great fit and good on them for doing it themselves. There is too much arrogance in our industry. Looking forward to seeing it tonight. I'll keep drinking the coffee even if the execution isn't great.

Anonymous said:

Al Pacino isn't an idea 7.10, he's an actor. And if you're a creative we're in all sorts. I love Al Pacino and think Levinson is great, can't wait to see the ads. If there's no idea then they won't work as well as they should. It's not comments, critics, press releases or names that determine the idea - it's the idea. Viva espana

Anonymous said:

So 6:06 it is all the fault of the Account Service department that clients don't trust or like us? What a load of crap. I suspect there is something else going on here...planners spinning up their own arse and confusing the clients or agency creatives believing they have a monopoly on ideas (and behaving like the client is too stupid to understand their vision). Refreshing to hear from 6:31 - creative work is creative work. Although 6:06 you surely won't understand this notion; the punters will decide and prove whether this is any good.

Anonymous said:

Italian credentials 6.06? Seriously, i've been there and their coffee aint nothing compared to Melbourne's. Rubbish in fact.

Anonymous said:

Um, I saw it on the telly on Sunday night. Anyway, aas pretty good. Always wonder why more clients don't just do their own ads- they end up telling the agency what to do most of the time anyway!

Anonymous said:

8:05 is a door nob

Anonymous said:

8:05 Within a week everyone in Australia will know Vittoria coffee. Within a week Vittoria will have established a fantastic, relevant spokesperson that clearly positions the brand as a quality coffee. Within a week Vittoria will be selling more coffee than they ever have. If that's not an idea 8:05, then give me plenty more like them. May I suggest you read $ellebrity by George Lois.

Anonymous said:

the next TVC can be Robert Decafiniro

AdGal said:

How incredibly cynical some people are. Creative thought is great, no matter our personal opinions and where it comes from. It's not up to 'artists' to prescribe how companies can develop their own branding and campaigns. Just sounds like people are sore that they didn't get to pitch. I say, viva la creativity! Celebrate original thought in any form.

Anonymous said:

8:05, are you serious? Pacino is the idea. He's a cool cat that everyone loves. It doesn't matter if the idea is crap, just as long as Pacino is doing his thing, it will work it's bum off. You don't always have to have some creative idea to sell shit. I know creatives hate to hear that, but it's a fact. I saw the ad last night, had no idea in it at all, it was just a nice script, well shot, with a person that everyone loves. Job done. Coffee sold.

Anonymous said:

I'm not going to drink Vittoria any more.

Won't drink it any less either.

Anonymous said:

As a creative, all I have in this world is my my balls and my word. And I don't break 'em for anybody.

Trust me, the spot is fine.
Pacino is a god.
The sun will rise tomorrow.

Fock you, maing.

Anonymous said:

9.10am.

Couldn't agree more.

Anonymous said:

If clients are ignoring creative agencies maybe, just maybe, we aren't doing something right. After all, its all about a consumer buying a product that is right for them - irrespective if that is creative concept or and FMCG product. If our product isnt being bought maybe we should ask ourselves why?

Anonymous said:

can someone post the commercial - anxious to see it!

Anonymous said:

Yeah, look, if Vittoria was able to convince Al Pacino to be their spokesperson... and they could hook up Barry Levinson to direct the campaign... then what the fuck is there left for an agency to contribute that a freelance writer couldn't?

Maybe they saw what an agency did with the excruciatingly bad Telstra Dustin Hoffman TVC, and decided to go it alone. On that basis, you'd hardly blame them.

I've only seen the last 8 seconds of the first spot on telly, so I don't know if it's good or not.

But Pacino is such a score in this market that it'll probably work. Whether it'll work hard enough depends entirely on exactly how much moola Vittoria had to part with for the talent and the production.

But fuck, they should've come to us. We would've worked on it for free, just for the chance to shoot with Pacino and Levinson.

Anonymous said:

Blah, blah, blah.

Show us the ad.

Anonymous said:

It's pretty easy to tell who the suits are on this blog. Why don't you stick to those really interesting 'account service' blogs?

sticking up for 8:05 said:

Would you agree that Pacino in Scarface is more memorable than Pacino in Oceans 13, even though he's still the same actor?

Perhaps an idea can actually make something more interesting and effective, regardless of the medium.

For what it's worth I like what Steinlager Pure do. Their use of US celebrities really got people in NZ talking, and was only one executional element in a bigger campaign idea. Sold a lot of beverages too.

http://www.bestadsontv.com/ad_details.php?id=7f16d

Anonymous said:

Post it. I'm sure Al can't wait for the responses.

Prodco said:

5:09 that's exactly how I feel when I see Ad agencies doing production.

Anonymous said:

I think this is a great ad for an average coffee brand. It will no doubt work it's ass off. Big, big win for Vittoria. Making ads is clearly not brain surgery, nor is it just the domain of the self-professed 'professionals'. Creative comes from many sources.

No doubt they spent their entire budget on Pacino and Levinson, so they probably couldn't afford to pay the 30% mark up agency's put on all TV jobs, even if they wanted to use one.

Keep posting all work (or news of work) Lynchy. No matter where it comes from and how good or bad it is.

Anonymous said:

The money they saved not paying for an ECD, a CD, an Art Director, a Writer, an AE, AM, AD and a GAD on their account, meant they could afford to get Pacino, and Levinson came along for the ride. Agencies are great, but it's not hard to see why some clients think there's an efficiency in not using one.

It is also coffee, it might as well be a fashion brand...and we know what that industry thinks of ad agencies.

Anonymous said:

I saw this ad on TV and thought it was great. Do you reckon anyone will know or care that an Ad agency wasn't involved?

Jay Moss said:

Agency suits - wake up and smell the coffee!

Anonymous said:

Say hello to my little short black.

Anonymous said:

I'd be rubbing my hands together if I were the owner of Vittoria. Save 6 months of bullshit, having to pay through the nose for an agency to justify their own existence and come up with a not dissimilar idea; pay for a tushy-princess ECD to attend the shoot flying business class, and then have just enough money left for Mario Fenech to endorse your coffee, or...

Another Prodco said:

Had to smie Prodco 11:37, just what we were thinking......

Tired of arguing said:

The client Les Schirato knows a thing or two about advertising and marketing. In fact he's fairly sophisticated. This ad demonstrates that.

He's had the brand with various agencies over many years, one of which I worked for as a CD in the early 90s. He's a hard man to please, and frankly this ad is far far better than most of the try-hard contrivances agencies usually produce.

Sure you can pick it apart on various grounds, such as as being essentially generic, but the final package is an executional triumph in which mood and branding are effortlessly intertwined.

It's not rocket science. It's advertising, and it's coffee.

Anonymous said:

It's basically a well-shot infomercial.

This is what you get when you avoid the agency and go in-house. Not saying it's a failure, rather a calculated trade-off. They spent their money on a celebrity instead of an idea.

Guy from Vittoria who wrote the script said:

6.38

Doh!

Anonymous said:

Hey Jay Moss, what do you mean? Are you trying to be clever (lame)? Or are you making some sort of point? How is this relevant to the topic?

Anonymous said:


I was mostly impressed by the script. It came across as being real as opposed to 99% of ads on TV these days that are infomercials in disguise. Good job i say.

Anonymous said:

I just saw it. I think it's great. I like the fact that he doesn't say it's the coffee he drinks just that this is good coffee. (The client must have pulled himself back on that one.) Bravo. Money well spent. It will do wonders for the brand. As an actor he just sells it doesn't he. I was expecting rubbish but I'm (sadly) Impressed. Hats off Vittoria. It's a great ad.

Anonymous said:

I'm guessing no script. Just Levinson, some good lighting and Pacino having a chat about coffee and how it relates to what he does. Then it was edited to make a natural endorsement, because it was just that, natural.

I agree with whomever made the comment about a coffee like Vittoria being a bit like a fashion brand. They just figured, it's better to leave the agency 'big thinking' out of this exercise and just pay someone we all want to be associated with. Sounds good. Only problem is that it's going to be very easily mixed up with the other sauve, silver haired, dark skinned actor schlocking coffee at the moment. Better branding in this one though, so it may all get swallowed by the Vittoria Pacino monster.

Either way, don't fret my friends. Unless you suck, brands still need you.

Anonymous said:

July 12 6:38 PM for the win!

Anonymous said:

I was expecting "Brandpower: helping you buy better" at the end.

Anonymous said:

Would be better with Jarmusch and Bill fucking Murray.

Anonymous said:

Aaah, the sweet aroma of Zoot Review.

Andrew said:

I could live with the absence of an idea but I would live better with the absence of the gratuitous product shots.

Anonymous said:

Also, I saw a three or four page article about the search for Pacino, and the history of the Vittoria brand in a mag on the weekend. It is real, aimed at selling product, not just an ad aimed at grabbing awards. This is actually what advertising is about.
Well done.

Anonymous said:

Did anyone spot the 3 frames of Nick Drake turning in his grave!?

Slug Lord said:

A script with Al Pacino should be really cool, this falls a bit short.

BUT... as others have pointed out, this will send sales of Vittoria through the roof. In our more honest moments, we should concede that this is what we're here to do.

It just coulda been done better.

Anonymous said:

Come on, everyone needs an agency!!! ECD, AD, W and GAD could have added so much value to the job. Imagine the assistance Pacino and Levinson could have got on the shoot with those genius comments from the split. I'm always so thankful for the help I get in directing actors, as is the DP I work with in the assistance he receives in lighting. In fact, I really wonder how films get made without this insightful group of individuals.

Slug Lord said:

I wonder why 10:05's comment is anonymous.

Got the balls to own up?

Anonymous said:

This is like Zoot Review with Al Pacino. I love it

Anonymous said:

10.05: I'm with you....

Anonymous said:

and Slug Lord....you are?

Anonymous said:

Amazing direction, great talent... but the script- well, there is no script- he's just reading out the brief. Makes me feel vindicated as a copywriter. A great script would have saved this.

Hawaiian Shirt said:

You're right 10.05, you don't need agencies or creatives.
What do they add to your film?
And what about those dumb-ass clients?
Buggering your art with their products and services.
I don't know why you don't just fuck them all off.

Anonymous said:

Lots of bitter prodcos. Your time is up, sadly.

Another writer said:

Quite the opposite, 12:24. I think it’s the apparent LACK of a script here that saves it. As much as I hate celebrity endorsements and testimonials, and as Zoot-like as the format may be, Pacino does come across as really candid here.

Secretly, we all KNOW this is going to work well out in the real world. All the cup shots notwithstanding, the low-key use of Pacino is still more natural and less contrived than anything our industry would have scripted for this.

Anonymous said:

there's nothing secret about it 3:42. IT WILL WORK GANG BUSTERS for Vittoria. And good luck to them.

Anonymous said:

3.07 = Knob

Anonymous said:


5:09 get a life.

Better still get a plane ticket and piss off, your stupid rave brings down the industry and makes its people look like dumb, over fed under educated wankers.

With people like you around it is no wonder clients do their own. If you were at my agency I would too.

Show yourself you pathetic fuck so all thinking people know who to avoid.

Anonymous said:

When is this industry going to learn we are vanishing up our own assholes? Oh yes we are the creative class, if it isn't my idea or by someone with creative in their title then it must be fucked. With that kind of attitude, you'll be redundant in 5 yrs and you kids will ask you what you did in the old days. Wise up douche bags, the world has already changed and may be passing you buy. No doubt someone will tell my I'm fucked, so I'll get in first.

Hey 8.09 - you're a fucking wanker that does not understand creativity.

Anonymous said:

Great actor.

Shit script.

Should have let Pacino write it....

God that's an awful use of legend talent.

Anonymous said:

Um...10:05, those agency people you don't like dealing with are the ones who gave you the job. If you want to go straight to the client with your 'ideas', knock yourself out but I'm guessing the old shoot schedule is gonna dry up with that attitude.

Everyone who thinks clients don't need an agency, look at Old Spice. Sorry, but no client or director could just whip that kind of thinking up. Whole lotta silly talk happen on here right now.

Anonymous said:

Why not?

Anonymous said:

11.01am, you're the biggest tool in the history of the CB blog.
Congrats.

Anonymous said:

that was terrible, who knew Pacino couldn't act.
That's what you get when you try to do it yourself. You just made the worlds most expensive zoot commercial.

Anonymous said:

Well that should cover Al's cocaine habit for the next six months.

Anonymous said:

I love the fact that the press release has a picture of him with his eyes shut. I think he had them shut when he was reading the script. "I like coffee... It's good coffee... Erm... Yeah... Coffee.... Now where's my cheque?"

EL G said:

"Um...10:05, those agency people you don't like dealing with are the ones who gave you the job. If you want to go straight to the client with your 'ideas', knock yourself out but I'm guessing the old shoot schedule is gonna dry up with that attitude.

Everyone who thinks clients don't need an agency, look at Old Spice. Sorry, but no client or director could just whip that kind of thinking up. Whole lotta silly talk happen on here right now."

-on the one hand you are right: no client could think of that by themselves.
Ont he other hand, that campaign is like one in a million. Most ads made in Australia could probably have been done just as well by a moderately talented client or director.

Having been int he industry for 10+ years now its my guess that the agency landscape will change a lot over the next 10 years. Some big American agencies will still be there but as more and more stuff just gets re-versioned with a new pack shot for Australia, most agencies here, big and small will probably fail.

Anonymous said:

The insight that, believe it or not, hasn't really been tapped into before is that there a people out there that can't function without coffee. Coffee is fuel for their mind. I'm that guy. Most of us are that guy. I'm sorry but I really like it. Advertising is just as much about psychology as it is about creativity. You all watch mad men, you should know. Find the best point and persuade people to your point of view. This is an authentic coffee ad, he's even drinking an espresso for god's sake. That's the way to drink coffee. And I'm tipping paccino did write the script. There's too much restraint shown. Most agencies can't pull that off. It's not in your face, "this is good coffee" doesn't over sell it. And they just end on a shot of the cup. No pack shots, no voice overs, simple. Nice. Charming. Believeable.

Anonymous said:

That's one of the benefits of being Al Pacino, and not an agency creative.

When the agency creative tells the client that the script isn't going to try too hard to sell the coffee... you know, we'll just say kinda ambivalently that "it's good coffee"... the client is going to crack the shits.

When Al Pacino tells the starstruck client he isn't going to try too hard to sell the coffee, the client says "yes, Mr. Pacino, of course Mr. Pacino".

I'd like to be Al Pacino.

Anonymous said:

Who chose the soundtrack for the commercial?

Is that Nick Drake i hear in the background...Cello Song? Awesome. And double Awesome if Al picked the song himself.

Freebird said:

Yes, the music IS the late Nick Drake. R.I.P. And it is ‘Cello Song’ off his 1969 debut album ‘Five Leaves Left’. This track also gives you a real sense of his later influence on José Gonzáles – especially José’s cover of The Knife’s ‘Heartbeats’ which featured in the Sony Bravia ‘Coloured Balls’ ad.

Anonymous said:

I think its a great ad, and well done Les & the guys at Vittoria!
And you guys still raving on about agency TVC stuff - maybe get your head around the old spice guy youtube ads - you know, where they shot over 150 personalised ads uploaded to youtube ina matter of days.....

OT said:

The most refreshing / cut-through / real bit of TV (I mean ad!) I've seen in a while...it doesn't even feel like an ad...very simple & understated - way above the rest. And to get Pacino for a little 'ol Aussie brand wow - thats pretty cool. Worth its weight in gold!

LC said:

WOW... I'm not in the "Industry", came across this while searching for the background music to the add..... Never have so many heads been so far up their own arses regarding their own self importance.

Every cliche about ad agency types played out one post after another (apologies to those posters with something useful to add - you know who you are)

Started reading OP and couldn't look away, you know like seeing a........ well you know, you are the "creatives".

An Aussie company pulls Al Pacino.... Al Fucking Pacino and Barry Levinson to promote their coffee and out ooze the "creatives" to tear down the ads because the copy is weak or there is no idea, hang on did i mention Al FUCKING Pacino... anyway, this is good advertising!

Bring on the flames, every quasi intelligent reply will just prove my point.

Anonymous said:

I' m not in the industry either and can't believe all the hurt egos over a successful family business building THEIR brand and doing it well.!!!
Whether the ad works matters to the business, not who made it ie Vittoria decided to do it and invested their money in it. they have a lot to loose if it doesn't work. Isn't that what you have a business for to make decisions, invest and grow? Business management 101
Get over it

The Public said:

Aussie ads are about as bad as I've ever seen. Too the whinging whining creatives. Get over yourselves, lose the egos and accept that ....
"this is a good commercial" with or without you.
Well done Vittoria!!!

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