INTERNATIONAL: WHAT’S HOT IN FRANCE

Ten years ago, Philippe Michel and his team invented a campaign for an unknown brand of inexpensive clothing featuring a bunch of Lolita-type girls with attitude, claiming that they, not the boys, were running the show. They became famous as the ’Kookaiettes’. Black-and-white photos, off-beat casting and provocative headlines characterised the ads. Ten years later, CLM/BBDO is running a new campaign for Kookai which has the same spirit but expresses it in a radically new way. They’ve gone for flashy colours and no text. Just pictures, even in the press. No time to read? Just look at it coming right out at you: little fellows used as cotton wool between the lady’s toes while she varnishes her nails, or as little chocolate sweets in a candy box. What’s nice is that men aren’t shocked at all by these ads; they find it cool enough to be funny.

Ten years ago, Philippe Michel and his team invented a campaign for

an unknown brand of inexpensive clothing featuring a bunch of

Lolita-type girls with attitude, claiming that they, not the boys, were

running the show. They became famous as the ’Kookaiettes’.

Black-and-white photos, off-beat casting and provocative headlines

characterised the ads. Ten years later, CLM/BBDO is running a new

campaign for Kookai which has the same spirit but expresses it in a

radically new way. They’ve gone for flashy colours and no text. Just

pictures, even in the press. No time to read? Just look at it coming

right out at you: little fellows used as cotton wool between the lady’s

toes while she varnishes her nails, or as little chocolate sweets in a

candy box. What’s nice is that men aren’t shocked at all by these ads;

they find it cool enough to be funny.



They don’t even mind ending up in the bottom of a toilet bowl, as in the

film which won a lion at Cannes this year. This spot was shown on M6 -

the French TV station targeted at youngsters and dedicated to the Spice

Girls. I belong to the Barbie doll generation, I change my clothes

constantly, and scream loud and clear that I have the power (little

girls have always given Ken a hard time). To sum up, an international

French-made campaign, sought after in every country selling Barbie or

her competitors.



No air passenger, surely, has ever wondered about who manufactures the

sick bags slipped discreetly into the racks in front of them. This

highly relevant strategic planning observation is behind TBWA Paris’

campaign for Playstation’s new Rapid Racer, which features an interview

with a sick bag manufacturer who sees his sales boom because of this new

stomach-churning video game. A perfect example of the

’edutainment’-style ad.



After looking at odd objects, why not take a look at odd people? This is

just what FNAC, the largest cultural goods and music retailer (competing

with Virgin), has done in its latest spot. It shows that, if you want a

job in their stores, you have to recognise hit songs from customers’

attempts to hum or whistle what they want. This results in a wonderful

arpeggio of discordant sounds.



These latter two campaigns both use good - and inexpensive - ideas.

Which suggests that the French don’t always hide their lack of ideas

behind good production.



Marie Catherine Dupuy is the creative director and co-founder of BDDP in

Paris.



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