Give us an overview of the campaign, what is it about and what was your role in the creation?
A mum gives her daughter an amazing thing before Christmas: Santa’s number. The kid is absolutely thrilled to be able to tell the old man her presents list. Of course, as it’s a secret well kept amongst us adults, it’s her dad on the line, talking from his car in the garage. Happy kid, thoughtful parents, done deal. Except that… nope. She keeps on calling (her) Father Christmas all the time, just to have a chat. And slowly, a wonderful relationship between them, via those phone calls, unfolds in front of our eyes. This is the brilliant story that Julien Vergne (AD) and Alexandre Girod (CW) came up with. And we were instantly charmed by its fun and emotion. We decided to one again work with Martin Werner (Henry), who directed the Unforgettable Christmas last year.
How is this holiday communication different from the usual for this advertiser?
The main difference is that for Christmas, our communication is less commercial and more on an equity level. We don’t promote anything except good Holiday spirit, in which our products are featured but in a very subtle way. Hence, we wanted our Christmas campaign to be in line with the brand equity we have been building year after year: a mix of strong characters, family relationships, humor, emotion and a very organic use of the technology. The classic Bouygues Telecom’s touch, in a way. Julien and Alexandre had already created a cool integrated campaign for Bouygues Telecom and Netflix this year so they knew the brand perfectly.
Last year’s commercial "Unforgettable Christmas" has been very successful. How did that represent a challenge for you this year?
“Unforgettable Christmas” has been viewed by more than 146M people around the world. Not bad for a local brand with an unpronounceable name! The stakes were high, though we don’t believe in miracles happening twice in a row. And, of course, there was the challenge of the music. Last year’s “Come and get your love” was an amazing success (#1 hit on Spotify in France, #1 research on Shazam, #3 on Apple Music), so we needed another tremendous hit. “For once in my life” was the great find of our friends at General Pop. On a personal level, being able to use this amazingly produced 1968 track from Stevie Wonder is just a dream come true.
What’s a “behind the scenes” story that only you know about?
To get the most genuine acting from the little girl (she was only 6!), we wanted her to have real conversations. So, we spent three shooting days actually phoning her. Most of the time it was Martin Werner himself making funny and silly impressions. It was easy, as she is actually the most talkative little person on Earth. This is how we got spontaneous amazing quotes like “unicorns do live outside”.
Christmas for Bouygues Telecom is all about family. Is there any holiday ad tropes that you think should be retired now?
As every brand wants to have a share of the big Christmas cake, it is the trickiest thing to find the campaign that will stand out. There are a lot of traps to fall into. Great advertisers like John Lewis or Harvey Nichols showed us the way, as they were able to go emotional, but not tear-jerker, or humorous yet showing respect to the Christmas institution.
What can we expect for BETC for 2020?
Most certainly great films and more and more integrated campaigns, on great brands—the hardest thing.