Brothers Jean-Christophe and Vincent Lesné have worked together at BETC since 2008. Here, Jean-Christophe, Associate Creative Director, and Vincent, Art Director, tell Dare! how they cope with two creatives in one family and share their proudest moments of their time with the agency.
What inspired your creative career?
Our first ever brainstorming was probably to choose the name of our little brother. As children, we used to play a lot with Lego, which isn’t really that original. But then, when we became teens, we caught the movie bug and got obsessed with feature films. It’s at that time that our parents definitely understood that we weren’t going to pursue careers in law or medicine.
What led you both to BETC?
BETC was the agency we dreamed of joining. We really enjoyed the Evian and Canal+ campaigns, such as “March of the Emperor”, the Village mentality, and the fact that it was one of the coolest ad agencies in France.
But the most important question is why have we stayed here all these years? Ultimately, it is because, when we first joined, we had the chance of working with Creative Director Stephane Xiberras. He helped us, pushed us, and we immediately felt like we had joined a new family.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?
We don’t know if it constitutes the best advice ever, but after getting our very first job, we were told, “Whatever you do, please don’t become big-headed.” We have always tried to follow this advice. By the way, is giving this interview a sign we’ve become big-headed?
What is your proudest career moment?
Our proudest career moment was definitely spending all night talking about movies with Stanley Kubrick’s first assistant director during one of our shoots that took place in South Africa. We were making a Peugeot commercial directed by Antoine Bardou-Jacquet, who was just coming from a movie he did on Kubrick. It was kind of surreal. It seemed as if we had just checked a new item off of the creative’s ultimate bucket list.
What is it like to work with a sibling?
Truth be told, it is not that easy to work with your brother every day. You need to be able to take your mind off work, especially when you are with the rest of the family.
Having two brothers working as creatives in advertising can sometimes create some tension during the holidays. “Are you sure that you want to cut the turkey this way?” “How about we take this direction with the Christmas tree?” “What’s this font you used for the seating plan?”
But the absolute worst thing is that we always seem to get asked the same questions when we meet new people. Here are the top three questions we get asked the most: “Do you live together (we often joke that we do and that we sleep in bunk beds)?” “Which one of you is the art director?” “Which one of you is Vincent and which one is Jean-Christophe?” And we’ll give you a bonus question. “Who is the eldest of the Lesnés (which is said “Qui est l’ainé des Lesné?” in French and apparently sounds really funny).
Do you ever envy one another’s ideas?
We didn’t initially plan to work as a team as we do have quite different characters. But one day, we entered our first competition as a team and we won. Then we won a second one. We then figured that we were better as a team than separately.
Is it ever competitive?
We are really competitive because we feel that we are always defending our family name.
But there is no competition between us. We have a really healthy work relationship and even when we do projects separately, we always ask the other one what he thinks of it.
What is the most meaningful project you’ve worked on in BETC?
As movie fans, we absolutely loved working on the different Canal+ Original Creations campaigns that we were lucky to do including The Returned, Borgia and The Tunnel. It was a really cool era. We had a lot of fun on these projects. We are also proud to have created one of the very last campaigns that was sent by fax in 2008.