Curious when I read yesterdays news I had to go and ask them, "So boys, what's this about you starting a new shop?"
Fred&Farid "We're launching a new international creative agency, based in Paris. The name of the agency is "Marcel". It belongs to the Publicis Group, but is totally independent in its functioning. We will be the Presidents of the agency, and will report to Maurice Levy. This agency is an "integrated agency" treating all media (advertising, design, web design, direct marketing...)"
The name Marcel is very symbolic as Publicis' founder was Marcel Bleustein-Blanchet. Read on for the story of where they've been, what they've done and where they are going with this new agency.
Photo of Fred&Farid taken yesterday in the offices of Marcel, Paris.
When Frederic Raillard first met Farid Mokart sparks flew. Not the good kind either, they hated each other. Frederic was born in Paris in 1971. He graduated from a design school in Paris (Creapole), where he specialized in Concept Research & Creativity, Fred was passionate about Dada and Conceptual Art. After graduating, he decided to work in advertising, which he found more concept-orientated compared to the design industry. He started as a strategic planner, working for Euro RSCG for four years. This is where he met Farid Mokart who was born in Paris in 1966. He graduated from the “Institut des Etudes politiques de Paris”, and obtained a DEA in Cultural Industry, a Maitrise in International Economy and International Business, and a Licence in Political Economy. After graduating, he started his career in a bank, but soon wanted to change career. He decided to work in advertising as an account exec, working for Euro RSCG for two years.
Fred was put on an assignment for a pitch, and had to choose an account manager to team up with, out ofthe blue he asked for Farid. That’s where their story begins: just one week after starting working together, they decided to resign and become creatives.
The rest you probably know, they hop-scotched between agencies like Euro RSCG, TBWA, BDDP, Publicis and Leo Burnett, creating campaigns for Galeries Lafayette, Canal+, PlayStation and Renault, collecting awards every year. At CLM/BBDO they became the youngest creative directors in France, then they met Robbie Williams and concepted and produced the video for "Rock DJ". That's when BBH got a whiff of them and called. There they did the XBOX-Champagne and XBOX-Mosquito ads, champagne went viral and won more awards at Cannes Lions. Jeff Goodby was the chairman of the Jury that year.
Xbox "Suck less, Play more"
Jeff convinced the duo to move to California and work at Goodby Silverstein & Partners, where they reigned over the Netflix account and won the Worldwide Pony account.
Pony #1, Pony #2, Pony #3. Netflix #1, Baby walk, #2 Wake and #3 Grandma.
Their philosophy is based on the fact that we are all consumers, and we all have had enough of boring commercials. "Advertising has to become as entertaining as any other program on TV. It’s an element of Pop-culture." They hate the word "Creatives" and prefer to be considered "storytellers" for the brands. They have a mantra: "advertising is boring" and do everything in their power to make their ads, not so.
"Hollywood makes better commercials than us. Hollywood is becoming slowly but surely the best advertising agency. Look at the film Cast Away with Tom Hanks; it’s a 90 minutes Fedex commercial. And we all paid to see it. "
"We are the worst storytellers of all storytellers. Take the last Super Bowl for instance: It’s obvious that Janet Jackson’s nipple was a bigger story than any of the commercials that competed this year. Janet’s nipple won the Super Ad Bowl. It was even bigger than the score of the game!"
"Well, knowing this it’s obvious that we failed. In advertising we have a lot more money than anyone else to produce stories, and despite this our stories are the weakest in the media. It's time to redefine the way we work. We should stop labializing ourselves as "Creative", "Copywriter", "Art Director" or "Creative Director". Those terms are not only obsolete, they are also dangerous because they take us away from the real meaning of our job: We are storytellers for the brands. Our job consists in producing the strongest story featuring the brand that pays us.
Even a print ad is a story. It's just an ultra short story, a one second one. But still, it remains a story."
This attracted the attention of Maurice Levy who approached the dream team to start their own agency under the Publicis group umbrella. Marcel is the only agency in the whole group which is run by the creative team as president. Marcel will hire international profiles and specialize in international brands, in all media.
Global briefs do not lead us to the lowest common denominator. It's the opposite. Global briefs lead us to the deepest and most fundamental human denominators. Global briefs lead us to a better understanding of ourselves as human beings. Bill Bernbach wrote: "A communication must be concerned with unchanging man, with his obsessive drive to survive, to be admired, to succeed, to love, to take care of his own".
So why move back to Paris?
-"We strongly believe that Marcel can bring something different in the advertising market, as it will be the first real international agency based in Paris, and Paris has a lot to offer to the advertising world.
Paris has a huge cinema industry, compared to London and the rest of Europe. It's one of the four movie capitals with Los Angeles, Bombay and Hong Kong. We intend to develop partnership with major producers and artists of this industry. Paris is the worldwide capital of Art, Architecture and Culture. There is an unbelievable concentration of unknown talents in France (artist and writers) who deserve to be promoted. We want to give a chance to all these talents at Marcel. Paris has a really strong and creative TV industry. It's one of the most energetic markets in terms of creating new TV channels and TV show innovation, with a high cultural level. Paris is one of the worldwide leaders of Animation, Digital Images and Video-Game's industries. Paris is a major scene for the Electronic Music. French Design is a reference in the whole world, with Philippe Stark at its head. And of course, we can't forget the fashion industry, which is the soul of Paris; no need to talk about it, as it's already a cliché for everyone.
It's obvious that there has always been a kind of "French Touch", to quote our British friends. It's a fact to say that we have a certain way of doing things, which is unique to our culture and our way of life. No one really understands the logic of it, not even the French people. But it seems to work, especially when we talk about creation. But the problem is that most of the French agencies are way too French orientated. None of the French managers, today, have had a professional experience outside of France. We want to take the best of our culture, and mix it with other cultures, especially the Anglo-Saxon which is almost the opposite of ours in terms of methodology. Marcel intends to become a mix of the French culture, and the culture of all the international profiles we're going to hire.
We will be different than anything else on the market, and we will for sure offer a different approach to the brands. It can only be interesting for the international brands to at least give us our chance in competition.