Carte Noire, by Work Club

On a personal level, I don’t really like the Carte Noire TV ads, but I guess that’s the point – however, my wife, and every other girl I’ve spoken to about them, does.
Carte Noire has made the bold move many brands don’t dare to and risked alienating part of the population (in this case 50% of them) in order to build a meaningful relationship with a target audience.
Four TV executions, devised by Work Club, each feature a different guy talking straight down the camera. Each guy invites the viewer to enjoy a sensuous coffee while he promises to be the kind of bloke that every woman dreams of – one offers to go off and clean the house, the other to sit down and talk about celebrity gossip. There’s Mr Cool, Mr Confident, Mr Romantic and Mr Continental, so every girl can pick her favourite (and every bloke can decide which sycophantic smooth-talking smarmy creep he dislikes most).
Well shot, well cast, and well in tune with their target audience, they are clearly well executed. But, regardless of the creative, what stands out is the freshness of seeing a digital strategy in a broadcast medium.
On 4OD, viewers are offered a choice of which execution they want to watch. There’s a Facebook page that clearly has people interacting with it. And there’s a ‘touring man café’ – the four stars of the commercials serving coffee on some sort of roadshow – that has got people sampling the product in a way just offering free coffee in a shopping centre never would have.
While they could still push the digital side of things further, it sits clearly at the centre of an integrated campaign. A sharp contrast to a lot of other stuff that passes for ‘integration’.
For many, integration still means coming up with a broadcast idea and then sending it downstairs to the digital creatives to take it through the line. Campaigns for the digital world need to work back from the action you want people to take.
The future, and actually the present, is in integrated ideas that start with ‘social’ at their core. A few of the more traditional ad agencies have still to wake up and smell the coffee.

Robin Garton is creative director at MBA

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