Chairman & Global Creative Director, BETC Paris, Rémi Babinet, on bringing the babies back
‘Baby&Me’, BETC Paris’ newest spot for evian has officially passed the ‘Mum Test’. You can tell an ad campaign has made an impact when your own mother is chatting to you about it over Sunday lunch, right? LBB’s Addison Capper chats to BETC Paris’ Rémi Babinet about casting 400 babies for this ad that took six months to produce. And it was totally worth the work.
LBB> ‘Roller Babies' is the most viewed online advertising video ever and over the weekend the internet has gone mad for the new film. Why do you think it's proved to be such a popular concept?
RB> The evian babies are central to the brand’s heritage. In France, evian has always been the babies’ water and what doctors recommend mothers to give their newborns. Cute dancing babies are fun and they appeal to a lot of people. Yet I believe a big part of the success lies in the fact that the evian babies are more than just a gimmick or a fun trick – they are at the very core of the brands DNA and historic values – Live Young.
LBB> The campaign really encourages the audience to become much closer to evian as a brand, by seeing themselves as one of the babies. Was this part of the strategy? What do you hope it will achieve for the brand?
RB> Evian has always been close to its consumers and audience. In 1998 we made ‘Waterbabies’, featuring an Esther Williams-style water ballet performed by babies. In a 2008 survey, the French public ranked it as their favourite TV ad from the last 40 years. In 2003 we made a new campaign, ‘Voices’, with adults singing the universal Queen hit ‘We Will Rock You’ in children’s voices.
Following the huge, popular success of the soundtrack, we produced a 3-minute animated music video called ‘Waterboy’ that ran with ‘We Will Rock You’ on music TV stations. We released it as a single that topped the French and UK charts and it went platinum.
‘Rollerbabies’ in 2009 became the most viewed online ad ever [Guinness World Records] and in 2011 we brought out ‘Baby Inside’ – with the mission to bring the brand even closer to its audience. Dancing in evian baby t-shirts, 50,000 people contributed to produce the world’s longest music video – over 11 hours long!
Baby&Me has already reached 30 million views in just a few days, reaffirming evian as a popular brand close to its consumers.
LBB> From an art direction point of view, what processes did you go through to cast the babies and find the perfect outfits?
RB> The production of the film is built around three big cities. The babies were cast in Paris, and then we went to Los Angeles for the casting of the adult dancers. To shoot the street we decided on Buenos Aires. We then began an enormous post-production process in Paris.
Altogether, from when we first found the directors in November last year, to the release of the film, it was about six months’ worth of work.
Finding the right babies wasn’t easy – we cast over 400 babies for the campaign. The next challenge was to find ‘matching’ adults, especially for the prints that show surprised adults facing a baby version of themselves - the cast had to be perfect.
LBB> What was the shoot like? What were the biggest challenges you faced during conception and how did you overcome them?
RB> We had a lot of fun during the shoot – working with babies is a great thing (even if they are hard to direct!)
To get the dancing right we started filming the babies and then let the adults imitate their moves. They did it first on the street, then in front of a green screen wearing baby costumes (with chubby baby legs and all!), to simulate the babies’ movements. Even for professional dancers it was difficult to reproduce the babies’ moves – it’s a sort of imperfection that we’ve left behind as adults.
LBB> There's a campaign app in line for release soon - can you tell us a bit more about what we've got to look forward to with that?
The app will be released mid-May. It works in the way that the user uploads a photo of his or herself, whereby the app creates a baby version of the user. 38 babies, all very different looking, were selected for the database. The app uses facial recognition software to select 70 parts of the users face and then searches the database for the most similar details in the babies’ faces to create the users ‘own’ baby.
BRAND MANAGEMENT: Michael Aidan, Laurent Houel, Cécile Turkel, Alexis Thobellem