Renault's New Clio Is 30 Years in the Making… Just Like This Relationship

A sweet story, but is it a relevant one?

Some things take time to ripen. Isn't that what they say? 

Created by Publicis Poke in London, Renault's "The French Exchange" makes perfectly adequate use of a woman-driven cover of "Wonderwall" to waltz us through the kind of love story we idealize onscreen but only wonder at, bemusedly, in real life. 

30 years in the making | The All-New Renault CLIO

Childhood lovers! These ones meet through a foreign exchange program. The modern twist is that it's between women. 

If we're being honest, the "30 years in the making" bit feels easy; what relevance does a culturally and socially complex relationship, fraught with melancholy, distance, rejection and divorce before its long-awaited denouement, have with the latest iteration of Renault's Clio? It's the best-selling French car of all time, with over 15 million sold as of this writing—quite the opposite of a person who's spent years pining for unrequited affection in an unjust world. 

Renault and its agency would perhaps say the Clio's popularity has spanned cultural shift and evolution, making the model a witness to the kind of social upheaval that gives this story its happy ending. Fair enough. But the Oasis cover is probably doing about 60 percent of the work. 

Lastly, it smacks of social karma pandering, relying more on lazy heuristics—like the drama of the homophobe dad—than on how real families have always been more diverse than our projections of them … and not only in terms of what kinds of couples get to form an ideal nuclear unit. 

Otherwise, this would have been brave work exactly two decades ago, which is incidentally when France first introduced civil unions for gay partners.

An associated out-of-home campaign will support the launch of the ad. It will focus on the product features of the Clio over various eras of its existence.


Client: Renault U.K.
Advertising Agency: Publicis Poke
Executive Creative Director: Dave Monk
Group Creative Director: Colin Byrne
Creative Directors: Rob Butcher, Tom Genower
Strategists: Miranda Ross, Calvin Lyon
Business Director: Stuart Pond
Account Management: Abby Fox, Luke Cox, Fraser Thomson
Head Of Film Production: Colin Hickson
Assistant Agency Producer: Joss Haynes
Media Buying Agency: MG OMD
Media Planners: Laura Henderson, Rach Murray
Production Company: Academy Films
Director: Frederic Planchon
Director of Photography: Stéphane Fontaine
Producers: Dulcie Kellett & Simon Cooper
Editors: Assembly Rooms
Editor: Sam Rice-Edwards
Post-Production Company: MPC
Colorist: Jean-Clemant Soret
Vfx: Timo Huber
Audio Post-Production Company: Wave Studios
Sound Designer: Parv Thind
Music: Soundtree
Music Composer: Luis Almau
Music Producer: Jay James

Angela Natividad
Angela Natividad is the European markets editor at Muse by Clio. She also writes about gaming and fashion, and whatever else she's interested in, really. She's based in Paris and North Italy, so if you're local, say hi. She might eat all your food.

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