The Mégane Experiment – Can a car change a town?

The Mégane Experiment, created by Publicis London, is a marketing film for Renault that shows an actor named ‘Claude’ who goes to Gisburn, Lancashire, where there are no Méganes, and tries to convince the local population that a Mégane can change their lifestyle, health and enjoyment of driving by telling everyone he meets that he is a ‘joie de vivre’ expert Menton, Côte d’Azur, France, where there are many Méganes.

The campaign
Our challenge was to raise awareness of the Renault Mégane and position the car as ‘anti-bland’. Statistical research (towns with more Mégane had a higher fertility rate) pointed to a powerful thought: Mégane was a bringer of joy. More Mégane, more Joie de Vivre. And the most powerful way to promote this thought was to test it through a real experiment: could an English town with no Mégane embrace the French way of life and the car that epitomises it?
We approached the experiment like a documentary and produced an entertaining eleven minute film about how a car changed a town. The fully integrated campaign including TV, press, online display, and PR generated £1.8 million of earned media, 417,873 unique microsite visitors and over 313,000 YouTube views.
This is the next generation of advertising. Not just making a bold claim, but taking a product truth and proving it on air with real people.

The success of this campaign rested on directing our audience to to follow the progress of the experiment. Once there, they could witness Claude’s struggle with the Gisburn residents and the Joie de Vivre impact of the car. Media were chosen to build as much noise as possible, earning news and entertainment media coverage.

The teaser phase of TV, online display and national press introduced our spokesperson Claude (and his Facebook page) plus the two towns involved in the experiment (Menton, Côte d’Azur and Gisburn, Lancashire).
Ten days later the campaign launched with PR, TV, national press and online display.

Versions of the documentary film were seeded on Facebook, YouTube and blogs. Following the launch activity, Renault Dealers each hosted their own Festival de Joie test drive weekend, supported by regional press and online display.

Finally we used bus-sides and press wraps to build on the earned media.

Since the launch of the campaign, Mégane market share has not fallen below 5%, and in fact sales increased by 52% across the year! We generated £1.8 million worth of earned media and 417,873 unique microsite visitors. Rich banners achieved 0.28% CTR (double automotive industry norms), YouTube content exceeded 313,000 views and throughout the campaign, Claude conversed with 15,000 Facebook ‘friends’.
Brand tracking measures show prompted ad recall reached 23.6% (compared to 11.5% average).
Focus group attendees told us:
· “That one for the Renault Mégane RS, with the yokels driving. That’s really funny – and the car looks good.”
· “It’s funny, its real people and its personable”
And our client told Campaign Magazine:
“We wanted a campaign which broke from the norm, so a humorous, light-hearted Anglo-French cultural comparison works well for our brand.”
And finally, yes a car really did change a town.

Phil York, Marketing Director, Renault UK, said: “We wanted a campaign which broke from the norm, so a humorous,  lighthearted Anglo-French cultural comparison of two such distinct villages works well for our brand. The Mégane is an iconic symbol of French ‘joie de vivre’ and we’re hopeful that getting more of them on the road over here will not just bring a little more happiness to the residents of Gisburn, but also  the rest of Britain too.”

Advertising Agency: Publicis, London
Executive Creative Directors: Tom Ewart, Adam Kean
Creative Director: Ed Robinson
Art Director: Robert Amstell, Matthew Lancod, Paul Belford
Copywriter: Robert Amstell, Matthew Lancod, Ed Robinson
Designer: Paul Belford
Production Company: Smuggler
Director: Henry-Alex Rubin
Year: 2011
2 Silver Lions (Media & Titanium) 

Daniel Norris – Re-Designed Movie Posters

Daniel Norris is a creative freelance graphic designer with eight years experience in and around London agencies. Daniel created these amazing and single-color print-like movie poster redesigns. It’s fantastic how he turned iconic scenes into graphic icons for the posters.

For more information about him, you can visit his Flickr page

Absolut Vodka/Swedish House Mafia – Greyhound

In the real world, music and cocktails go hand in hand. In an Absolut world, music and cocktails come with racing robotic greyhounds remotely controlled by a trio of DJs, spurred on by a cast of characters that make Lady Gaga look casual.

An evolution of its longstanding tradition of collaborating with artists, Absolut Vodka’s Drinks 2.0 campaign ventures beyond artist-rendered print ads to a collaboration with dance maestros Swedish House Mafia on an original track and music video to promote its Absolut Greyhound cocktail.

“Greyhound”–which is the title of the drink, the video, and the actual music track–is a three-minute visual feast created by TBWA\Chiat\Day that sees three groups of couture-sporting racing enthusiasts converge on the Bonneville Salt Flats to watch some robotic greyhounds speed across the parched plains, all while sipping light pink Absolut Greyhounds. While the fabulous people in the desert give each other the “my team’s going to win” stink-eye, the three members of Swedish House Mafia are off in a desolate bunker remotely controlling the robodogs to a photo-finish while ensconced in holographic orbs. With impeccable direction from RSA’s Carl Erik Rinsch, eye-popping visual effects from Home, gonzo wardrobe styling from Franck Chevalier, and a banging club track from Swedish House Mafia, this is not an exercise in understated elegance.

Maxime Kouchnir, Vice President, Vodkas, Pernod Ricard USA, says that where much of the brand’s previous marketing efforts have focused on print, and its Drinks 1.0 campaign brought together actors and visionary photographers to create worlds around specific cocktails, “Greyhound” was meant to elevate the idea of collaboration to “a multidimensional, multi-sensory experience with drinks and music.”  The goal was also to create something that skewed a bit younger than Absolut’s 25-35 urban influencers (neo-yuppies in marketing speak), which made SHM a good musical match.

With everything we do on Absolut we have the pleasure of looking at things through an Absolut lens, like pushing the limits of what a greyhound dog race could be in an Absolut place,” says TBWA\Chiat\Day creative director Hoj Jomehri. “We said, where do people go to really go fast? The Bonneville Salt Flats. And what if these aren’t just regular greyhound dogs, but are gigantic robotic dogs? And what if the band is actually controlling them in this other setting? We just play creatively and push it as far as we can.”

Not surprisingly, given the name of the cocktail, the greyhound was the creative crux of the idea. “The name Absolut Greyhound was so inspiring because greyhound just sounds so sexy and sleek and fast, and all of the associations you have with the dog seemed to inspire that whole world,” says TBWA\Chiat\Day global creative director Sue Anderson. “Then once we knew who the band was, that inspired a fair amount of the video as well. SHM aren’t traditional musicians who are playing guitars and drums. They are DJs and music producers. That’s where the idea came from that they would be controlling the dogs because that’s so much of what they do: They go and stand in front of crowds and control music and the energy and the vibe. Then, once we had SHM we knew that we would have three dogs.”

This direction left things wide open for director Carl Erik Rinsch to create something fantastical. No stranger to sleek and fast robots (he directed “The Gift” from Philips that featured a renegade roboguard in a dystopian future Russia, which was awarded the first ever Grand Prix for Film Craft at the 2010 Cannes Lions), Rinsch immediately had a vision for the dogs.

“We’d said they had to be bigger than typical dog size, we wanted them to feel robotic and metallic, but also very elegant and sleek,” says Anderson. “Right on that very first call with Carl he was like, ‘I know exactly what these dogs should look like.’ He actually already had a drawing, he sent over an initial sketch and we went, ‘That’s exactly what they should look like.’”

“Carl understood inherently that you should have an emotional attachment to these dogs, so when they got to animating the race you really got a sense that these were three distinct characters and you were rooting for one or the other in the race,” adds Jomehri. “That’s a really difficult thing to do when you’re speaking about robotic dogs.”

Given that “Greyhound” is part music video, part ad, it will be distributed across a number of channels. “When it come to our target, music is their number one passion point and they live in the digital space so the campaign is really going to primarily TV and digital,” says Absolut’s Kouchnir. The track will premiere on Pete Tong’s BBC Radio One, and the full-length music video will be distributed to MTV and VEVO. Shorter versions will air on TV with a Shazam for TV integration, taking viewers to the full video. All of this will also drive to and Facebook where fans can remix the track “with the band” and share it with friends.

Kouchnir also says this is the first step in the vodka maker’s new direction of “creating cocktail worlds through the lens of music.” Upcoming artists include U.K. pop artis Dan Black and Swedish rock band Little Dragon, both of which will create original music tracks based on specific Absolut vodkas.

Watch behind-the-scenes footage below.

Advertising Agency: TBWA/Chiat/Day
Chief Creative Officer: Mark Figliulo
Global Creative Director: Sue Anderson
Creative Director : Hoj Jomehri
Art Director: Hoj Jomehri, Jin Park
Copywriter: Sue Anderson
Production Company: RSA
Director: Carl Erik Rinsch
Year: 2012

Nissan Juke – Built to Thrill (behind the scene)

The new, integrated ad campaign for Nissan, which launches in Europe in March 2012, reflects the adrenaline junkie inside anyone who enjoys getting behind the wheel of the Juke. 

A 60-second television spot heads the extreme sports-themed campaign from TBWA\London, named “Built to Thrill”, which conveys the high-energy of the sporty Nissan model and features a driver’s car built around him as he performs just about every daredevil stunt known to man. The Juke is shown being assembled by a variety of people as it skydives, jumps ramps and scuba dives before emerging out of a tunnel, set to a musical backdrop, composed by ‘The Horrors’.

The spot was shot in South Africa with most of it as live action. “We first had a guy skydive with a fake car seat strapped to his body inside which was his parachute,” explains Alasdhair Macgregor Hastie, European Creative Director, TBWA\G1.

“The guys building the car in mid air were tied to a crane hanging 100 metres above the ground and we model-made the heavier car parts in the art department.  The landing scene was shot outside Cape Town and again, we used a crane to drop the car body onto the ramp, which was all real. We then built the stadium in post. The scene featuring the bikers is also all real and we had stuntmen jumping from bikes and hanging on to the roof of the car. The water scene was shot in a pool, with real divers. Nobody got hurt – although it aged me ten years!”

Alasdhair says the ad was “very” expensive to make, “but worth every cent.”

“Unlike all other car brands Nissan (and Infiniti) has a very talented core Marketing, Advertising team and a central agency to handle all comms for Europe, Russia, and other regions so the budgets are centralised and therefore more efficient. Instead of doing 5 different campaigns to launch a car, we only do one. Which is more cost effective and gives us access to top talent.”

Building a skydiving car looks surprisingly easily in this Nissan Juke TVC directed by Lieven Van Baelen, with visual effects by Mikros Image. At Mikros, Christophe Huchet was VFX producer, with Antoine Carlon and Laurent Creusot acting as VFX shooting supervisors as well as CG lead and 2D/Flame artist, respectively. We talk to the studio about the ad’s main challenges.

The spot begins with an intrepid driver jumping out of a plane and buckled into a car seat. Soon enough, he is positioned into a car body by skydivers, who get to work – mid-air of course – adding a roof, tires, engine and steering wheel. These plates were filmed against bluescreen with the parachutists and car suspended on wires and the action following detailed storyboards.

“There were two cameras on the set (in South Africa),” says Christophe Huchet, VFX producer of Mikros, “one was with a cameraman standing on track or on a cradle and the other one on a remote jointed arm controlled by three operators. There were a lot of wires to clean up as there were up to nine parachutists shot at the same time. Each of them was hung by four wires plus the car. We had to deal with ‘restore’ on their faces and clothes. We completed an urban matte painting behind the clouds for high-angle shots. To add realism to the shot, we had to add cameras shakes and vibrations to simulate a real skydive, inspired by real shots references.”

Mikros also created CG parachutes for the skydivers, before the half-finished vehicle drops safely in a stadium – landing on a ramp as motor-cross riders add panels and spray paint a red finish. The stadium was populated using Golaem Crowd geometry instancing, generating up to 12,000 spectators at a time. Clothes, shaders and motions for the animated digi-double crowd were established in Maya, with a particle system used to place characters in seats. Mikros then built its own procedural rendering plug-in for Arnold based on a beta version of the Golaem Crowd IO library to render the scenes.

The nearly formed Nissan Juke launches out of the stadium via another ramp and splash-lands in water. Here, scuba-divers secure a windscreen and finishing touches before the car enters a tunnel. Filmed in a tank, Mikros graded the car for readability and added digital bubbles.

Finally, the Juke exits a tunnel before continuing into the city. The tunnel did not exist, so a make-shift surrounding for the car was built at street-level and filmed with tracking markers. “That shot was pretty difficult to tune as there were two opposite camera directions,” says Mikros. “The car is coming towards us and the camera is going the other way. We had to do some research to find a speed that suited the director. We also paid attention to light as the crossover is coming out of a tunnel and is going from dark to light. During the shooting, a truck rode along the crossover with many spotlights to light the car properly.”

The campaign also includes an art installation that aims to show off the Juke as it is being assembled using a variety of sports equipment that inspired its design. A dune buggy (originally chosen for its high arched wheel design) and a motorbike (the inspiration for the interior design and console) are combined to build a 3D image of a Juke. The car seat fabric was inspired by neoprene wet suit material, while a canoe and snowboard are also featured to appeal to the Juke’s target excitement-seeking audience.

“We originally planned to have a travelling installation and may well do so,” says Alasdhair. “The campaign is being picked up by countries not originally interested in a Juke flight (Canada airs it at the end of March) because it is so impactful and brings a whole new perspective to Nissan and the way people see the brand. When we showed the TVC to the Nissan board, the head of Design pointed at the screen and said ‘That’s it, that’s my car!’.”

Nissan and TBWA have also released behind the scenes footage showing how the installation was brought together. This film will also be accessible via QR codes on the outdoor and print executions of the campaign.

“The focus on human emotion plays into the new strategy,” says Ewan Veitch, President of TBWA\G1.“Previously, communications have concentrated on the car and how it interacts with its environment. This campaign has been developed to communicate the excitement and thrill that the driver gets from a premium and high performance, yet accessible, model. ‘Built To Thrill’ celebrates both the truth of the car’s design DNA and the resultant excitement from owning and driving one.”

“Built to Thrill” will also be supported by retail, social media, digital and experiential activity.

Advertising Agency: TBWA/G1, London
Creative Director: Alasdhair MacGregor-Hastie
Creatives: Fabio Abram & Braulio Kuwabara
Director: Lieven Van Baelen
FX: Mikros
Composer: The Horrors
Year: 2012

Tooheys Extra Dry Beer – The TED 696 Campaign

Lion Nathan wanted to find more occasions for young adults to drink Tooheys Extra Dry, so it introduced a longneck, TED696ml. However, the longneck market is crowded and not an easy one for “cool” brands like Tooheys Extra Dry.

Longnecks are traditionally sold in brown paper bags, covering the bottle’s branding. The bags represented an inexpensive medium that could be used to engage buyers and establish creativity.

Working with the insight that 18 to 24-year-old drinkers have a desire to express themselves, ZenithOptimedia worked with BMF to bring together the world’s best street artists and TED696’s target market to design brown paper bags around the theme 696.

Local designers were invited to submit designs in a competition that would be judged by the Luca, David Homer and Aaron Hayward at Debaser, Sydney artist Ben Frost, Murray Bell and Andrew Johnston at Design is Kinky, Colin Blake at MTV Sydney, and Tokyo/Sydney painter Numskull, the prize being a 15 ” MacBook, software and a framed set of designs signed by the three celebrity artists. The ten finalists would each receive a case of Tooheys Extra Day 696. The people’s choice, selected online by members of the public, would receive two cases of TED 696.

PR, events, advertorials, online seeding, search and a project website were activated, all with the humble brown paper bag at the core. The campaign created a new advertising medium, sending 700,000 paper bags with 696 designs to bottleshops. In the process, competitor longnecks were wrapped in 696-branded bags too.

The winner of the competition was Mike Watt, a Sydney based illustrator and designer.


In the first 8 weeks, over 500,000 longneck bottles of TED were sold representing $9 in sales for every $1 invested. The website received unique visits from 104 different countries, with each person spending an average of 9.5 minutes at the site.
During the 5-week competition period, we received a cutting edge design every 84 minutes.
MTV held a gala exhibition evening to announce the winning design. The exhibition is now touring nationally.
The bag design promotion was so succesful that it is now an ongoing project, with submissions being printed and distributed throughout liquor stores around the entire country.

Ironically, the brown paper bag that all longneck bottles are sold in, covers the branding of the product inside, yet it has never before been used as an advertising medium.

The 696 campaign won a Silver Pencil at the One Show 2009 for Point of Purchase and In Store Promotion, a Silver Lotus at the AdFest Awards for Direct Marketing, and a Yellow Pencil at the D&AD Awards 2009 for Printed Material in Branding.

Advertising Agency: BMF Sydney
Executive Creative Director: Warren Brown
Creative Director: Simon Langley
Art director: Shane Bradnic
Copywriter: Michael Canning
Year: 2009

C&A/Clothing Retail Stores – Father’s Day

The Brief
For Father’s Day, C&A presented an original idea to its clients – on the purchase of an adult-size garment, an identical child-size item was offered free.

The Creative Execution
We therefore created small bus-shelter posters along with the large ones. In the large format there was a father and, in the small one, his similarly-dressed son. This action took place close to C&A shops.

From the first day, C&A was out of stock on certain articles. The national press was in uproar about this action. For the first time in 10 years, C&A was ahead of H&M in terms of overall reputation.

Advertising Agency: DDB BELGIUM, Brussels
Creative Director: Jean-Charles della Faille
Art Director: Julien Thiry
Copywriter: Bertrand Gascard
Year: 2006
Gold Lion (Best Use of Outdoor)

SunSense – Untoasted

The brief
Shelf space is severely limited in Hong Kong. SunSense, a newcomer to the sunblock market, has a low shelf presence within a very competitive category. What it needed was a way to raise its profile.

The creative solution
With a tight budget and little brand recognition, we had to get creative – SunSense Untoasted.Specially designed metal plates were placed inside toasters – blocking the element and leaving part of the bread untoasted. It dramatically illustrated the selling point of SunSense – keeping your skin burn free this summer. The SunSense toasters were installed at the buffet counters of beachside hotels and resorts – where customers were most likely to hit the beach after breakfast. Customers were then directed to the SunSense sales kiosks next to the resorts. It dramatically illustrated the selling point of SunSense – keeping your skin burn free this summer.

Advertising Agency: Grey Hong Kong
Executive Creative Director: Victor Mangguino
Creative Director: Graeme Brimmer
Copywriter: Wilson Ang
Art Director: Tik Lau, Carmen Wong, Choi King Shan
Year: 2010