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What's up with that epic Cartier ad?

The jeweler’s big-budget new ad features diamonds, a panther, and dragons. Here’s how it came together — and what the heck it means

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You may have seen Cartier’s new ad. It’s kind of hard to miss. A three-and-a-half-minute version, which sparked buzz when it aired on March 4 during The Good Wife and other shows, traces the brand’s history via a globe-trotting panther, a golden dragon, and other images associated with Cartier. To pull it off, the company enlisted commercial director Bruno Aveillan, who spent three months shooting in locations like Paris and Prague. The spot cost around $5 million — and that’s not including the price of airtime (a mere 30-second ad during The Good Wife goes for about $137,000, according to Ad Age). Model Shalom Harlow also makes a cameo, though the panther’s the star. ”We didn’t want to just use one girl,” says Cartier International’s director of communications, Corinne Delattre. ”[The cat] symbolizes all the women in one animal.”