Hi, could you introduce yourself quickly?
I am a Franco-British European born in Plymouth, Great Britain. After studying at Cambridge University and the Sorbonne, I started my professional career as a strategic planner at TBWA before joining Publicis Worldwide where I worked on brands such as Renault, SFR-Vodafone, Vivendi or Coca-Cola... From 2003 to 2010, I was a shareholder and managing partner of V Agency (DDB Group), first as head of Strategy and then as a COO.
For 7 years, I worked on campaigns for Volkswagen in France - and abroad - as well as other re-known brands and retailers such as L’Occitane, Auchan, Skoda, SFR (again !) or the launch of The Number 118 218 (the French equivalent of the UK iconic campaign).
In 2010 I left V agency, to start a new entrepreneurial adventure with my friends and business partners Andrea Stillacci and Pierre Callegari.
We decided to call our agency Herezie, because in a conservative French market dominated by 2 tentacular giants, we wanted to offer a new kind of agency to advertizers: more agile, more media agnostic, more heretic.
After starting from scratch in 2010 (just the 3 of us, an outrageously expensive rent to pay near the Champs Elysées and no founding clients to fund it !), Herezie is now a 100% independent and 100% multidisciplinary agency.
Our annual turnover has grown from 0 to 15 millions euros in less than 4 years. We were voted “Best new agency in France in 2012” and "Best French independent agency in France in 2013".
We have won awards like Lions, LIA, Eurobest, Epica, Clio and just about every festival out there.
Being French, Italian, Spanish and of “mixed race” we don’t see ourselves as a “French agency”. We see ourselves as a fully international agency based in Paris.
Paris has always been one of the vibrant multicultural centres of the world and we still see it that way. Herezie’s entrepreneurial success is proof that you can still make things happen in France. We work with 30 or so clients, including a good half of international groups such Coca-Cola Group, Unilever, Essilor, Samsung, LVMH or Nestlé. We also work with some very cool local French brands.
2. What is your favourite Christmas advertising? Why?
British department stores always come out with the goods at Xmas. From the ferociously corrosive insights of Harvey Nichols, to the beautifully charming insights of John Lewis, every year, I look forward to those advertising rendez-vouses (like when I was a kid watching out for the Hamlet cigar ads).
John Lewis succeed in making me feel all the magic of Christmas, like the best Disney and Pixar movies.
I am a big fan of the 2011’s film. The insight is awesome. And in a world full of bland postmodern track covers with no interest whatsoever, this "cover" of the Smiths Is simply perfect.
In France we don’t have such advertising rendez-vous. Xmas isn’t quite such a big thing this side of the channel (or maybe it’s just that our creative energies are more focussed on the wine and the foie gras…).
I would also like to mention "Chris Christmas Rodriguez”, the viral greeting cards by Mother. When these viral films first appeared in the early 2000s, I found them funny but a bit meaningless. Very “What the Fuck” as everyone seems to say these days. Now, I see the sheer insolence, courage and “go for it” attitude that only an independent agency with immense momentum can have.
3. The campaign "Sorry, I Spent It On Myself" is THE multi-awarded campaign in 2014. According to you, what are the reasons for its success?
First, a very strong, human and diabolically honest insight
This has been DDB London's trademark for years and congratulations to the Adam and Eve strategists and creatives that came up with this one. The irony, the self-deprecation, the ability to laugh at our – miserably all too human - shortcomings, are some of the qualities I like the most in advertising.
And it remains one of the strongest legacies of Bill Bernbach’s creative revolution, even today.
A remarkable campaign, whose success relies upon (a) an audacious insight and (b) a creative idea that pushed the boundaries as far as possible, from classical media to the products themselves.
4. For you, Father Christmas is:
A wonderful character for children.
And a wonderful character for adults too.
Humans will always need magic.
5. What are your professional New Year’s resolutions?
Keep the faith. Avoid dogmatic thinking. And continue to burn with enthusiasm.
The Herezie philosophy!
6. What do you see as the next creative trends for 2015?
More and more creativity in the owned media and POS (on and off).
With marketers looking to optimize spending, traditionally neglected areas will become the spearhead of tomorrow’s creativity.
Just look at what Harvey Nichols did last Xmas with the “Sorry, I spent it on myself” gift range. Communication campaigns that generate (rather than spend) money. Campaigns that are so good people actually want to buy them. Literally.
I would buy a Sticky Fingers poster by Andy Warhol, frame it and put in on my wall. Why don’t I want to buy more posters of ads and put them on my wall too?