Ogilvy Paris is one of the powerhouses of WPP’s trophy network (the most-awarded at Cannes for the past three years). The agency has recently produced outstanding campaigns for Dove, Netflix and Perrier among others and is one of a select group of French agencies (others include BETC and Fred&Farid) who are, arguably, outperforming their historic rivals in London and New York. We asked ECD Baptiste Clinet to explain why.
1/ Big network agencies like Ogilvy deal with big network clients. Does Ogilvy Paris try to strike a balance between such clients and local advertisers?
Of course, we need to be strong on an international and local level. We’ve got some killer French brands here at the agency such as Perrier. Both types of clients are important for us.
2/ Over the past few years your work has included a lot of reality ads and also stunts, like the moving poster for Netflix (below) and the installation for Allianz. Do you set out to try something different in all your campaigns?
Merci. We are trying to take away “media format specificity” from our brief. What I ask the creative is: “find a killer insight, a killer idea and a killer way to execute it”. So the result can be, a TV show, some design element, an installation, an app, a video game, and digital outdoor campaign or a TVC… could be anything – then it’s my job to make sure we sell it.
3/ There’s an impression that French agencies, and presumably advertisers, are less cautious than, say, their equivalents in London or New York. Do you think this is the case? Do French agencies have to try that bit harder to win big international assignments?
We have to try way harder because we are a small country. But the truth is that at Ogilvy Paris we’ve been lucky enough to succeed a lot on international assignments. From Dove, IBM, Coca-Cola, Nestle and Netflix..we receive a global brief and global project from everywhere. And we have killer French and international creative to make sure the work on those brands is great.
4/ Is there a difference to ‘French creativity’ as opposed to the Anglo-Saxon versions?
Yes a lot! I think we are less funny, and more complex. We use long sentences. We love to think and rethink and over think everything… But that says we are also amazing storytellers, and we have a unique way to look at the world, which makes us, I think, always surprising and unexpected. Most of the time French work is like “you either love it or hate it.”
5/ The awards season is gathering pace, culminating in Cannes. Which Ogilvy Paris campaigns do you have high hopes for?
Hard to say without looking pretentious, but we have 4/5 pieces of work that I really love. Our global outdoor, 100th year anniversary of the coke bottle campaign (below), is for me one of the best piece of work we’ve done this year. But we also have two great pieces of work on Netflix: ‘Netflix Gif’ and Netflix ‘The vicious outdoor campaign’ that are really cool. And a big one on Nestle is coming. . .