Henry returns to star in Clio TV ad

The footballer Thierry Henry turns jazz drummer in a new TV ad to build the Renault Clio's masculine appeal.

The new 40-second spot, produced by Publicis, makes its debut on Monday.

In it Henry is seen jamming with Animal, the drumming Muppet, in a new take on the "va va voom" theme.

@radical.media's Tarsem directed the latest ad, which concentrates on the emotional and technical benefits of the Clio Renaultsport 182. It also employs the talents of Kuntzer and Deygas, the team that designed the award-winning opening sequence for the movie Catch Me If You Can.

The ad intersperses shots of Henry playing in a jazz combo with his obvious delight at the wheel of a Clio. He points out that a car's good performance, like good music, is all about timing.

The film was written by Ira Joseph and art directed by Jackie Steers and features original music written by Jack Altman at Jeff Wayne Music.

Carat is handling media planning and buying for the campaign, which will appear on the web before extending to national TV and cinemas.

It is the second ad to feature Henry, who was signed by Renault last year to front a series of commercials for the Clio in the UK, following on from the "size matters" campaign and the Papa and Nicole films that began in 1991.

Grant Duncan, the Publicis chief executive, said: "Henry has worked brilliantly for the Clio because he has given the model a better balance of sales between men and women."

He added that Henry would be the Clio spokesperson for the "forseeable future".

The Clio has been a major success story for Renault since its launch a decade ago. In the UK, the model is currently sixth in the list of best-selling cars, having clocked up sales of more than 11,700 in September 2003. The list is headed by the Vauxhall Corsa with sales of 18,283, followed by the Ford Focus with 17,009.