LONDON, March 1 (Reuters) - French jeweller Cartier launched its first film on Thursday to set itself apart in an increasingly crowded luxury market by highlighting its 165-year heritage.
L'Odyssee de Cartier, which will be streamed on Facebook on March 2, followed a panther, Cartier's symbol since the 1930s, travelling across Russia, China and India and coming across some of the brand's most famous historical pieces.
"We thought it was time to do it, especially because now everybody wants to be luxury...even a Big Mac is deluxe," Francois Le Troquer, managing director of Cartier UK, said at a preview in a room designed like the inside of a Cartier box above its boutique in London.
The film was made to highlight Cartier's history with the three countries, which are now important luxury markets, although Le Troquer stressed that Europe was the "continent of luxury" and the United States and Japan remained key markets.
The movie showed a bejewelled panther in a Paris shop window springing to life to run through the snow in Russia, where Cartier was jeweller to the tsars, before encountering a dragon at the Great Wall of China.
The panther made a final stop in India and then flew back to Paris with Brazilian aviator Alberto Santos-Dumont, who received one of the first wristwatches for men from Louis Cartier in 1904 when he asked for something more practical than a pocket watch for flying.
"The world is changing, the economy is changing, the geography of luxury is changing. We want to just remind people who we are at Cartier," Le Troquer told Reuters.
The three-and-a-half minute film, which was directed by Bruno Aveillan and features model Shalom Harlow, took two years to make. It will be broadcast on other websites, in cinemas and on television later in the month after its Facebook launch.
"If a brand like Cartier does not do YouTube or Facebook, it's like we're dead," said Le Troquer. (Writing by Clare Kane, editing by Paul Casciato)