Lacoste's Lively New Ads Were Fueled by Chance Encounters
So much distinguishes us from other people, but sometimes it's the little things that bring us together. Isn't it cool when those same things also say something unique about who we are?
This is the insight behind Lacoste's latest campaign, a celebration of unexpected encounters by BETC Paris. Per the pressie, Lacoste's own defining feature is that it is "worn by people from all walks of life, each sporting the crocodile in their own way." When those walks of life meet, magic can happen.
Above is "Tennis Court."
It feels like gleeful generational transcendence; meanwhile, "Socks and Sandals"—below—is more quirky. (We have to say, though, that since Birkenstock was acquired by LVMH, this look is getting way more play than it used to.)
Each video is punctuated by the Sugarhill Gang's "Apache (Jump On It)," bringing bubble-gum auditory brightness to a crisp, vivid and deliciously diverse production. As one person put it on Twitter, "Lacoste FINALLY sort their art direction out. These are great."
While we don't know what that refers to specifically, it's hard—for us, at least—not to think of last year's "Crocodiles Play Collective" campaign, which felt tokeny from a diversity perspective, and sort of elitist, given that it followed groups of friends from hype cities all over the world, living it up while most people were still rolling through Covid-19 lockdowns.
This work may be brighter, but it's also more pleasing. The saturation of color, combined with the contagious serendipity of these encounters, leaves you feeling something akin to that moment in The Wizard of Oz when everything suddenly goes full-color.
The people who star in these ads were street-cast. French director Laure Atanasyan helmed the videos, and Irish photographer Ronan Gallagher did the stills, neatly capturing a sense of spontaneity that feels real, but also fashionable in a chill way.
Below is "Pink Polo." We like the double-break here between age as well as gender. Fun fact about pink: It used to be a "boy color"! (Actually, through the 1800s and 1900s, pink and blue were used fairly interchangeably between children … until manufacturers began color-coding babies to sell more stuff. Who says advertising can't make a difference?)
The objective of this work is to freshen Lacoste's tone of voice: The crocodile unites across various crossroads of culture, generation and styles, even as it enables people to express their differences.
Here's "Banana Bag," which kinda has a "Gift of the Magi" thing going on. (Did you have to read that growing up? We did.) Weird little detail about why this is called "Banana Bag": In France, a fanny pack is called a "banane."
The work went live on April 27, and appears on billboards, TV and social media. Below, we've got a QA with BETC associate creative director Agnès Cavard. But before diving in, here's "Bucket Hat."
Muse: There is so much joy in these unexpected encounters. Tell us about the brief and your journey to the insight.
Agnès Cavard: The brief was to capture a cross-cultural idea. We wanted to do a campaign that would convey the DNA of the brand. Different types of people love and wear Lacoste. [Copywriter] Antoine Gauquelin and I thought it would be funny if these people, who are so different and contrasting, came across each other by chance and discovered that they were wearing the same Lacoste piece.
Did any research back up your insight?
Lacoste is not just a trans-generational brand. It is one of those rare brands that crosses cultures and styles from the most classic to the most fashionable, all over the world.
What inspired you along the way?
Lacoste is an iconic brand. We wanted to make a campaign that sounded right, a fashion campaign, too. We started with iconic pieces like the polo shirt, the bob, the belt bag ... and the profiles of the people who wear them. We made them meet in a very live and spontaneous way so everyone behaved naturally: with astonishment, amusement or perplexity.
Particular attention was also paid to the meeting places and their credibility. We also wanted the colorful Lacoste pieces to match the colors of each set. More broadly, we wanted to tell the story of what unites us beyond our differences, with sincerity and levity.
The creative mix involved here is incredible—Florence Bellisson's iconic Evian work comes to mind, but we've also got playful directorial work from Laure Atanasyan and photography from Ronan Gallagher. Everyone's styles seem to come together in such a cool way. From the perspective of various creatives, what previous learnings came into play here, and what compass did you use to bring this collab together harmoniously?
We were all very happy to participate in this adventure. Meeting Ronan Gallagher was a beautiful experience. His sensitivity, the quality of his vision, the precision of his image—he knew how to gracefully capture the truth and authenticity of stolen moments. Laure gave substance to the meetings. She brought efficiency and lightness, the touch of freshness that we wanted. I have known and respected Florence for a long time, it was a pleasure to do this campaign with her. 😊
How did you go about recruiting your actors, who've never acted before? What mattered to you in terms of selection, and did any initial beliefs change along the way?
We wanted real encounters with real people. We naturally opted for street casting. We chose people based on their natural confidence and to feel right in each situation—80 percent of our cast had never posed or acted in front of a camera, so they were magical. The rest of the [professional] cast were great, too.
Did anything surprising happen in production?
We loved the fitting session the day before the shoot, when we met all these people we had chosen from photos and videos. We really enjoyed seeing how cool and natural they were.
What do you hope people take away from this?
The power of the crocodile to federate and bind people together beyond their differences.
Any last words?
I hope that people that like the brand will also like the campaign.
Click to scroll through the print ads below:
Brand Managers: Catherine Spindler, Nathalie Beguignot, Julien Scheubel, Mylene Atlan, Caroline Geraud
Ad Agency: BETC
Agency Managers: Gaelle Gicqueau, Fanny Buisseret, Suzy Morin, Theophile Geslain
Executive Creative Director: Florence Bellisson
Art Director: Agnes Cavard
Copywriter: Antoine Gauquelin
Assistant Art Director: Joachim Touitou
Traffic Manager: Letizia Felici
Art Buyer: Isabelle Mocq
Creative Music Supervisor: Adam Ghoubali
Music Supervisor: Seril Farran
TV Producer: Caroline Bouillet
Production Company: KITTEN
Director: Laure Atanasyan
Sound Company: GUM
Photographer: Ronan Gallagher