Intersport takes up French advertising tradition of storytelling and romance, then adds sweat

Perhaps it’s because we only see the crème of the crop, but it seems like French agencies have a particular talent for romantic, uncomplicated storytelling.

This feelgood spot for global retailer Intersport is no exception. It stars a young woman who wants to impress a handsome runner she sees on her way to work, and decides to take up the sport.

Her first attempt ends in failure as she falls behind him and his group of running buddies, collapsing breathless after only a few minutes. So she throws away her old trainers, buys the proper gear at Intersport, embarks on a rigorous training programme, catches her man – and then overtakes him.

Intersport hasn’t done a TV ad in its home market (it was founded in France in 1968) for seven years. Interesting that they chose a new boutique agency called Marystone for their comeback.

The ad is like a grown up answer to Intermarché’s recent spot, where a schoolgirl eats a lot of wholesome soup in order to gain height and impress a tall boy who isn’t afraid of vegetables. That was also by a small agency, appropriately called Romance.

Big gun BETC has also come up with a romantic storyline this week, this one for Pathé Gaumont’s Ciné-Pass subscription service. A man and a woman keep going to the same movies and although they never talk, their story is told in lines from the cult movies they both watch.

With no Brexit to tear them apart and a stable leadership in place, it seems that the French have more faith in charming stories and happy endings than us Brits.

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About Emma Hall

Emma Hall
Emma Hall is the former London Editor of Ad Age, where she covered European marketing advertising, digital and media stories. She has written for newspapers including the Financial Times, The Guardian, The Times and the Telegraph, and was previously a section editor at Campaign. Emma started her career in New York as a researcher for a biography of Keith Richards.
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