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
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
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