Bicultural agency led by Feng Huang and Gregoire Chapolin
Five years after its formation, Fred & Farid have begun to expand their communication group internationally. Having obtai¬ned its Chinese business licence and opened bank accounts for its WFOE (Wholly Foreign Owned Enterprise) in Shanghai, just this past week the Fred & Farid Group has announced its official launch in China.
‘Our entire career has been built abroad, first in London and then in the United States. Nowadays, nearly 50% of the group's revenues come from international brands, for international campaigns managed from Paris. So it was rather natu¬ral for us to give thought to expanding the group physically outside France. Our creative director, Feng Huang, has been working with us for the past ten years. We've been working with him to prepare this Chinese project over the past five years.’
This new office, which has been set up in a 1000 m2 warehouse in Shanghai, is a 100% digital agency (mobile and social media).
This office has already started working for ten groups within China: L'Oréal, LVMH, Pernod Ricard, Oxylane, Yves Rocher, Interparfums, Vicomte A, the Chinese digital group Sohu and another, European group that, for strategic reasons, wishes to keep its expansion in China strictly confidential for now.
The reasons for this interest in China are, first and foremost, human: this project follows Feng Huang’s return home (the creative director who has worked with Fred & Farid for nearly ten years). He is managing this new office along with Grégoire Chalopin, who was part of the FF adventure since the early days of Marcel and Fred & Farid Paris before moving to China and joining TBWA\ Shanghai as its creative director.
“Fred & Farid Shanghai is a cultural project that relies primarily on Chinese talent. These days, we're witnessing a fantastic blossoming of creativity in China. This rising generation is full of dreams, desires, talents and ideas. It's brimming with energy. Feng Huang is a key player in this rising generation of creative Chinese professionals representing Mainland China,” said Fred & Farid.
According to Feng Huang, the venture will represent a blend of two highly complementing cultures. “China and France share a lot of similarities: life, art, creativity and fine culinary traditions. The day-to-day collision involving both of these cultures will result in creative fireworks. The ten years I spent in France made me a stronger person. I’m in love with both countries. I’d like to bringto China the tastes and respect for culture that the French have and to bring to France the energy and enthusiasm of China’s rising generation,” he said.
Meanwhile, Feng Huang’s partner in the Shanghai office was full of praise for him. “Feng has become the first creative professional from mainland China to work as a creative director in a Western agency. He has worked with leading filmmakers and photographers on several luxury brands, on international platforms. He has won the most prestigious creative awards and can boast a dual cultural identity that is unique in China, unique for the brands,” said Gregoire Chalopin.
The Shanghai team will consist mainly of Chinese professionals, along with non-Chinese professionals from around the world who love Chinese culture. By bridging the Paris and Shanghai offices, this will allow Fred & Farid to assist western brands wanting to expand in China whilst also helping Chinese brands that would like to become established in the West. For years, the French office has been hiring Chinese professionals for its Paris facilities.
To fully illustrate its biculturalism, the group has opted for a new, Franco-Chinese logo for all its documents, even those used only to the group's business in France. And everyone within the group must now select a Chinese first name, which will be printed on his/her business card in Chinese characters.
‘We especially don't want to end up being scattered in every country on the globe, which is what some groups have done. We just want to be a Franco-Chinese group, and that's it, serving as the best possible bridge between the two cities...and between East and West. It's a bridge that must be able to be crossed in both directions. This project doesn't represent a plan to make a conquest, but rather a plan to foster a dialogue and a sense of openness between the two cultures.’ Fred & Farid
To strengthen its convictions regarding this new wave of Chinese creativity, FRED & FARID GROUP has now launched its new digital medium, CREATIVE CHINA (http://www.creativechina.cn.com/).
“This new medium, Creativev China, should become the primary medium used to discover and promote the rising generation of creative Chinese professionals. For the entire Fred & Farid Group, this represents a true corporate vision, a guideline that will show the whole world that China is indeed a creative nation. Creative China serves as a door that opens up to this least-known facet of China,” explained Feng Huang.
The Fred & Farid group has already been encouraging collaboration between both countries: furthermore, creative professionals at the Shanghai office have access to all of the briefs at the Paris office, and vice versa, and for some projects, teams consisting of members from both offices have been set up.
The office located at 22 Victoire in Paris 9th and the Shanghai office are connected 24/7/365 by means of screens that serve as bridges between both entities.
“We've built a real bridge between Paris and Shanghai; the two entities are really just parts of one single office. They are connected by a 24/7 videoconferencing system set up at various points within each office. People, briefs and ideas are constantly coming and going. This openness and the cultural exchanges are essential for everyone,” said Grégoire Chalopin.