Aurélie Bertrand and Xavier Delvaux: humour translates well
Photo: Luc Deflorenne
Marketing: How advertisers use humour to reach the Grand Duchy’s diverse audiences.
It’s tough trying to communicate in a multilingual, multicultural country. The recent Media Awards ceremony was a celebration of those who have taken up this challenge, and with three gold awards and a bronze, Mikado Publicis made a big impression. Delano spoke with the agency’s Aurélie Bertrand and Xavier Delvaux about the art of getting your message across in the Grand Duchy.
“The most effective advertising tells a story and this is playing an increased role in Luxembourg,” explains Delvaux. Universally understandable, slightly irreverent humour was at the heart of their award-winning campaigns for telecom firm Orange and the “Tunnel campaign” for the infrastructure ministry and Sécurité Routière.
“For both these clients we were able to use humour to add to the brand and to make the messages accessible to a wide audience,” says Bertrand. This method was used for both these clients, despite their differing sizes and images.
Orange is a brand known across Europe, but the client needed a local touch to increase their local connection. “We had a degree of flexibility to introduce our own creativity, using the cheeky humour that is part of their brand,” notes Bertrand. Mikado won three of their awards related to campaigns for Orange in the press, on radio and for TV/cinema advertising.
There is quite a contrast with the way they approached the “Tunnel” project. Here the client’s original idea was to use the radio to advertise their highway-tunnel driving-safety campaign. They persuaded the client to go for a series of amusing 10 to 15 second mimed YouTube clips. Thus the important warnings against U-turns in highway tunnels, the 90 km/h speed limit and so on are fun to watch and easy to understand, thus making them memorable.
“It is important to keep the human element in communication,” insists Delvaux. By presenting the message in an accessible fashion it is more liable to be accepted and understood. The ideal is for advertising to be circulated via email and social media, as people are very open to accepting friends’ recommendations. That goal is made more complicated in this country with the diffuse nature of the population. Immigrants and non-resident commuters are often more engaged with their own communities than with Luxembourg as a whole.
Cinema and bus shelter display ads remain the central way to reach the entire population. Here French remains the main communication language, as it is still the most widely understood by most communities. This is despite original version English language movies dominating our cinema screens.
It is generally the case that advertising spending exaggerates the business cycle: booming strongly in the good years and being stripped back during the downturns. So how are things looking now? For Mikado, a strong upswing has been in evidence recently, with Delvaux reporting that “the first few weeks of this year have been very promising.”