Last May, Rémi Babinet was named by Forbes magazine as one of the ten best creative directors in the history of advertising, alongside legends like Bernbach and Ogilvy.
At the request of BFM business, he drew up a annotated list of his favourite campaigns, shown below. Since a picture is worth 1000 words, why not enjoy both:
"I chose to give examples of BETC's work over time. Today it's very effective to be able to offer the client an ongoing project, instead of a "one shot". The most important thing for an agency is the power and relevance of the strategy that it creates for a brand. But even more important is the execution of that strategy. Because the devil is in the details and even the best strategies pass unnoticed if they are carried by mundane executions without audacity or style."
Air France: Passage and Flight
"We wanted to establish that the journey itself is an wonderful destination. So we wanted to create a moment of unaccustomed peace in the usual clamour of advertising. Leaving the smiling hostesses, the softly lit cabins and all the airline advertising clichés to other companies. Music becomes a key element of the idea. It was rather new at that time."
"The Passage marks Michel Gondry's advertising debut. The Flight was directed by Angelin Preljocaj. The dancer is Benjamin Millepied."
"I have almost never had an award for these campaigns, which are among my favourites. No doubt because they deviate from the orthodoxy of good advertising taste…"
"Change of strategy in 2013. Daring to play the card of a France full of promise, in the midst of a climate of intense French bashing and disruptions within the company itself. We wanted to create a new image of a positive and contemporary France. Reach the level of sophistication of a fashion magazine cover, but fresher and more upbeat. Directed by We are from L.A, who had just finished making the pop promo Happy by Pharrell Williams. This new territory is very rich, and a natural fit for Air France, which has always been an ambassador for France."
Lacoste: The Big Leap
"The idea was to build on the French elegance of the founder, his fighting spirit and his audacity. How to turn his life into a " beautiful sport " where sometimes crossing a distance of a few inches can become the most formidable and beautiful of challenges."
Ricard: yellow with a big R
"It's a symbolic brand in French advertising culture. Created by a brilliant founder who "got it" right from the start, with their artistic collaborations, their sports sponsorships … advertising is an integral part of Ricard culture."
Monoprix: "Making a break with the coldness of the sector"
"In the standardized universe of mass-market retail, we are trying to create an original and lively brand character which breaks away from the coldness and facelessness of the sector. A huge programme of conception, design and writing which concerned several thousand products of the brand, with each treated as a unique object. Monoprix is a client of Rosapark, an agency of the BETC group."
Canal Plus: the Bear and The Cupboard
"Strategy: to make advertising a programme in its own right, one that gives an idea of the outstanding quality and the unique style of Canal Plus programming. Canal Plus creative is managed by Stéphane Xiberras."
Evian: 18 years of babies
"Evian, one of the foundational brands for BETC, won by pitch in the year of the agency's creation. The strategy: youthfulness, founded on the brand's mother/baby DNA and on the idea of rejuvenation tied to water itself. The purpose was to attain the level of style and entertainment value of the best short content in the world today, to create a cult brand within an extremely difficult market segment."
"Aired in 1998 and still, 11 years later, at the top of the hit parade of the public's favorite advertisements (Opinion Way/Ballester survey from December 2008 for Libération and the Club des Directeurs Artistique)"
"With this one from 2013, we beat the world record with over 180 million views."
"In print, this idea circled the globe. Evian even started to sell teeshirts ;)"
Petit Bateau: "Miles away from the cliché of impeccably well-behaved children"
"For kids. Real kids. Far from the advertising clichés of the children's clothing sector, characterised by mini fashion victims and little goody two-shoes. The first film, with soundtrack by Dutronc."
"How to stretch a children's brand and turn it into a childhood inspired transgenerational brand? The best ideas are sometimes right under your nose. A label, for example."
Peugeot: "Putting the vroom-vroom back in the car"
"Alongside the major task of redefining the brand in line with Peugeot's impressive renewal, we're working on specific projects, notably GTI, which feeds the sporty and dynamic aspect of the brand. A little bit of "vroom-vroom" in the ever more politically correct car sector is a bold move and that feels good."
Aigle: Reintroducing Man to the wild
"How to place Aigle at the heart of the whole current problematic of the natural world while staying faithful to their territory of protection? The answer: "Campaign for the reintroduction of Man to the wild."
Cillit Bang: "A non-appalling ad for a cleaning product"
"It's just come out. Trying to disprove the idea that washing powder and cleaning product advertising has to be appalling. Stéphane Xiberras at work once again."