Behind The Work

HOLIDAY HUMOUR

Senior Writer and Editor
Patricia Murphy joined Havas Group in October 2019 as a Senior Editor and Writer. She has a background in digital journalism and content creation.

BETC’S MARIE DONNEDIEU AND THOMAS PRÉCHAC EXPLORE THE AGENCY’S FESTIVE CAMPAIGN FOR BOUYGUES TELECOM WHICH FOCUSES ON A MASSIVE PHONE FAUX-PAS.

The festive campaign “The Van,” focuses on a family who unfortunately discover what their holiday host REALLY thinks of them, after she fails to hang up the phone correctly.

Marie, Artistic Director, and Thomas, Copywriter at BETC, explain the creative behind the campaign and why humour was the right choice after a long and difficult year.

Tell us a little about this campaign and why the creative message connects with Bouygues Telecom’s customers?

We wanted to create a campaign that would be a bit different from the traditional emotional Christmas adverts, especially after this year! After this difficult 2020, we wanted to make a comedy that would raise a smile and that people could relate to. The film opens with a failed video call hang-up (something that we all fear) which allowed us to create this moment where the character, Marie, unaware she could still be heard, says what she really thinks about each member of her family as they drive to spend Christmas with her. She describes everyone’s little flaws, the kind that are a bit annoying but also endearing, and that make our family Christmases so memorable. It was important for us to create something identifiable and real without falling into meanness or nastiness. We wanted the film to feel wholesome and to reflect the pleasure we have in getting together as a family at Christmas — values held by Bouygues Telecom.

What has been the reaction to the campaign?

Overall, the film was well received. However, contrary to our expectations, one profession felt negatively targeted: oyster farmers. This was in reference to a joke in the film about the “not fresh” oysters brought by the cousin. Our goal was not to say that oysters make you sick, on the contrary! Our aim was to portray the character as having his head in the clouds, who leaves the oysters somewhere and doesn’t preserve them properly. 

In consideration of the difficult economic climate, where traders and producers are under strain, their reaction was understandable. In response, we immediately changed the joke; we certainly did not intend to hurt or upset anyone. As we said, our goal was to make people smile during this difficult time. 

We went a step further in our response by offering oyster farmers from Lorient to come and sell their oysters in front of the city’s Bouygues Telecom store (they had previously expressed their dissatisfaction at this shop). For the occasion, the store’s brand was renamed “Bhuîtres Telecom” (B-Oysters Telecom), a humorous nod to ensure this story had a happy ending. So, we can confirm that oysters do not make you sick, even when you eat a dozen at 10 in the morning! 

Are Christmas campaigns a little daunting? Is it a challenge to stand out among the sameness?

We wouldn’t go as far to say that it’s intimidating, but it’s true that it’s always rewarding for creatives to work on a Christmas campaign. The result is eagerly anticipated and then highly viewed. 

As it’s currently a complicated time for everyone, we thought making a comedy was the right thing to do. It allowed us to stand out in the market and raise people’s spirits; so the idea of ending up having the same kind of Christmas campaign as another advertiser did not cross our minds. If you can entertain an audience and make them smile, then that’s already a great victory! 

Are Christmas campaigns a little daunting? Is it a challenge to stand out among the sameness?

We wouldn’t go as far to say that it’s intimidating, but it’s true that it’s always rewarding for creatives to work on a Christmas campaign. The result is eagerly anticipated and then highly viewed. 

As it’s currently a complicated time for everyone, we thought making a comedy was the right thing to do. It allowed us to stand out in the market and raise people’s spirits; so the idea of ending up having the same kind of Christmas campaign as another advertiser did not cross our minds. If you can entertain an audience and make them smile, then that’s already a great victory! 

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