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The Work That Made Me: Benoît Clavé


Herezie's director of strategy on his US rap phase, the influence of Fred&Farid's Wrangler campaign and the creative project that changed his career

The Work That Made Me: Benoît Clavé

Benoît Clavé is director of strategy at Herezie, where he manages all the agency's French and international clients. 

During his 10-year career, he has accompanied the transformation of major brands (AXA, Club Med, Amazon, Société Générale, FDJ) into renowned creative agencies (Marcel, Fred & Farid, and Romance). 

The ad/music video from my childhood that stays with me…

I had, I think like many kids in the 90s, a big US rap phase. Snoop, Dr Dre, Eminem... In short, the very true cliché of a young French kid from a suburban family who gets carried away by music that takes him far away from his daily life. The Super Bowl 2022 half-time show (one of the best I've ever seen!) allowed me to go back to the most beautiful playlists of my youth. This taste of seeing what's going elsewhere is still very strong, even if today I've changed my musical style. 

The ad/music video/game/web platform that made me want to get into the industry…

The Wrangler campaign, Press Grand Prix in 2009, by Fred&Farid. I had the opportunity to study it in college. I was mesmerized as much by the visual power of these prints as by this film and I remember thinking that later on I wanted to make campaigns like that. It's pretty crazy that I had the opportunity to work with Farid a few years later.  

The creative work that I keep revisiting…

My latest craze: The Get Down. Just for the soundtrack. A Netflix series, probably a bit underrated, which traces the genesis of hip hop and the cultural battle between the new style and disco, which dominated the dance floors at the time. But more broadly, it sheds a positive light on the importance of urban culture in shaping an era. You have to like Baz Luhrmann's style, but for my part, I loved the aesthetic. In short, I recommend it.

My first professional project…

A small display campaign for the launch of a Renault limited series. It was a long time ago when display formats were still considered a surface for creative expression. That was a good time.

The piece of work that made me so angry that I vowed to never make anything like *that*…

More than a specific example, what can disappoint me is when clients spoil the treasure they sometimes have in their hands. Clients who are fortunate enough to inherit a brand that has been built over many years on powerful creative territory and who tear it all down for no apparent reason (except perhaps to leave their own mark).

The piece of work that still makes me jealous…

Fallon's Live Richly campaign for Citibank. A campaign so relevant that it still serves as my compass today. It smartly took an alternative approach to the communication at the time about the performance of financial products and services to talk about what really mattered to Americans in the period just after 9/11 filled with so many new uncertainties. The perfect example of a brand that knows how to express authenticity and relevance in line with the time.

The creative project that changed my career…

The launch of the Echo in France, Italy and Spain. It was a strategic subject for the agency that I was working for at the time. And also for Amazon, which had big goals for the launch, even though the brand was arriving several months after its competitors and wanted to establish itself in countries where it wasn’t viewed that well. The stakes, the timing and the people we were dealing with gave me significant experience and considerable confidence. Especially since the campaign has since been one of the benchmark campaigns for Amazon.

The work that I’m proudest of…

This collaboration with 4MURS, a leading DIY store in a disappearing market: wallpaper. I was very proud of this one because, besides the communication campaign, with (courageous) clients we redefined the brand’s positioning by accelerating their transition from a market in strong decline to a more promising one for home and lifestyle objects.

The recent project I was involved in that excited me the most…

A campaign for the Banque Française Mutualiste, a French bank for civil servants. After covid, which put the bank's clients (doctors, policemen, firemen, teachers) on the front line, the subject took on a whole new meaning. More than a campaign for a bank, it was an opportunity to remind all of France about the daily dedication of these people, as well as the bank’s commitment to stand by their side.


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Herezie, Tue, 11 Oct 2022 14:30:32 GMT