Backbeat: For the Love of A Bracelet: Air's Branded Cartier Song Debuts @ NYC's Thompson Hotel
Backbeat: For the Love of A Bracelet: Air's Branded Cartier Song Debuts @ NYC's Thompson Hotel

Cartier
Guillaume Alix, Cartier's VP of marketing and communication, chats with "Painted Love" director Ben Dickinson and Allie LaPorte.

French band Air have collaborated with the likes of Sofia Coppola, Charlotte Gainsbourg and Italian artist Alessandro Baricco. This month, they add French jeweler Cartier to that list.

"Painted Love," a new original composition from Air's Jean-Benoit Dunckel and Nicolas Godin, is also the name of a new short film created in collaboration with New York's Waverly Films inspired by the Cartier Love bracelet. The project was conceived by The:Hours, a record label and music marketing agency owned by Euro RSCG Worldwide. The short film will debut on Cartier's Facebook page Nov. 9, premiere on Vevo Nov. 11 and launch globally Nov. 16. A download of the song will arrive on iTunes later this month, in partnership with Air's global publisher EMI and U.S. label Astralwerks.

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A New York premiere at the Thompson Hotel on Nov. 1 introduced the project to an eclectic media crowd spanning the music and fashion communities, including Ken Scurdato from Blackbook, Carrie Rosten from Bullett, Robin Demarco from Wired and even Spotify's new business development head Gerrit Meier (formerly of Clear Channel.) Several Astralwerks execs were seen sipping Cartier's custom champagne as well, including Nick Clift, Lawrence Lui and Mark Mueller, as well as The:Hours co-founders Leslie Dubest, Alexandre Sap and Fabien Moreau.

Cartier
The:Hours co-founder Leslie Dubest and Waverly Films' Ben Dickinson (not pictured) explain the genesis of Cartier's "Painted Love" short film and Air's original composition.

"Painted Love" is the latest song to emerge from Cartier's music-based Love campaign, which began in 2008 with an original song from actress Marion Cotillard ("The Strong Ones") and has gone on to include contributions from artists like Lou Reed and Phoenix. A year in the making, "Painted Love" was ostensibly a collaboration between Air's Dunckel and Godin and Waverly Films' Ben Dickinson, the director. The four-minute film is based on the myths of Pygmalion and Galatea and follows a young male artist in downtown Manhattan who paints his muse, who eventually comes to life via animation from music video animator Irina Dakera. As the painter chases his muse across the city, Air's song evolves from a moody, lounge piece that would fit on the band's 2009 album "Love 2" to a more dramatic, string-drenched piano suite, the tempo rising as the chase intensifies.

Dickinson began working on the project over a year ago in New York, and would send various footage throughout the editing process to the band in Paris to help shape the song. Unlike other commercial projects, where artists either compose original music based on the finished edit or just license an existing song, the storyline was a constant source of collaboration for Waverly and Air. "It was all about that character and that space. We all responded to that story," Dickinson told Billboard.biz.

Cartier
The:Hours' co-founders Alexandre Sap, Fabien Moreau and Leslie Dubest took a break from Air for some air during Cartier's "Painted Love" premiere party at New York's Thompson Hotel.

For The:Hours, "Painted Love" is the first of several upcoming campaigns that will put the company's record label duties on hold for the moment. The label's breakout star, Dan Black (a 2010 MTV VMA nominee for his "Symphonies" video with Kid Cudi) recently moved to Paris and will be the subject of a "massive" spring 2012 ad campaign The:Hours is currently producing. And Cartier's Love campaign will partner with two artists, tentatively in March and June 2012, for upcoming installments similar to "Painted Love." "At some point we will return to the label work, but we don't want to lose our connection to the artist world," The:Hours' Dubest told Billboard.biz.