One reason people go for over-the-top (OTT) services like Netflix is you don't have to worry about channels anymore. You can just run it and have this broad array of awesome content at your fingertips.
Barring HBO, channels are too dispersed to put up much of a fight against that kind of variety. They're niches, and if you don't fit into theirs, it isn't likely you'll visit the channel all that often.
Then there are bundles. Bundling is one of the things millennials would like to see vanish—you're paying for a few channels you like, and getting a whole bunch you don't care about.
Even so, French network Canal+ has just released an energetic little ad that makes bundles feel a lot like … well, Netflix, frankly.
"Kitchen," created by BETC Paris, takes place in a bustling kitchen. You know something is off when the eggs cracked over a bowl don't drop yolks but shrieking velociraptors, ready for battle. Another cook walks by with a steaming city on a hot plate, while yet another scoops a tin of soccer players out with a spoon, like caviar.
There's more where this came from. A wriggling cartoon character is sliced into colorful pieces, and a car chase ends tragically when one lands in a mound of flour … and the other is snapped up to be grated. Meanwhile, a carton marked "series" is set on the table, revealing warriors on ice waiting to be shelled.
What the hell is cooking here?
"Great channels make great TV," the ad concludes over the satisfying thud of an oven door closing.
"We wanted to show that, with the best content, you can make the best TV. The cooking analogy seemed logical," co-creative director Jean-Christophe Royer tells AdFreak.
"With TV, you have a ton of channels, but none that are actually good," adds co-CD Eric Astorgue. "But with Canal, you've got nothing but good channels. Even if you have just 30, at least they're good."
"The idea is cool, the direction perfect. But conceptually, the angle isn't revolutionary," admits Royer. "We just wanted to find a way to convey all this great stuff. And with the kitchen, you also have that notion of the French Touch"—one of BETC's central tenets.
"Canal+ has always been proud of its role as a French network, even internationally. There's always this quality of assuming your Frenchness—even in the case of 'The Bear.' We're not trying to be Anglo-Saxon, and putting the kitchen in a big restaurant highlights French savoir-faire," Royer says.
If you ever watched Who Framed Roger Rabbit, you'll feel its spirit here—that mix of animated chaos with real-life mundanity. Directed by Antoine Bardou-Jacquet, with effects by Unit Image, "Kitchen" has been shared nearly 70,000 times on Facebook alone.
The music is also meant to capture the attention of French fans: It's Vladimir Cosma's "L'aile ou la cuisse" ("The Wing or the Thigh"), from a 1970s comedy film by the same name, which follows the hijinks of a retired chef's son who inherits his dad's business (but really wants to join the circus).
So, there's a lot here to attract the attention, and not since Canal+'s "The Bear" have we felt this kind of revitalized energy out of the network.
More important, it tells a story about what bundles have to offer: When you order one, you're not just paying for diversity to suit your moods. You're helping to underwrite a lot of content that isn't for you—networks and shows that wouldn't otherwise get the chance to exist.
And while we're not sure that message is particularly resonant for a generation that grew up with YouTube and really just wants to pay for what they want, it's worth hearing anyway, if only so we can reflect on how OTT content bundles—like Amazon Prime and Netflix—won't be all that different from what we're leaving behind.
Still hungry? Check out the making-of below. It's just as fun as the final product.
Brand Managers: Guillaume Boutin, Audrey Brugere, Jordane De Villaret, Eugenie Rodrigues
Agency Managers: Bertille Toledano, Guillaume Espinet, Mathilde Lançon, Elsa Magadoux, Sophie Gustinelli, Marie Chapuis
Executive Creative Director: Stéphane Xiberras
Creative Directors: Jean-Christophe Royer, Eric Astorgue
Strategic Planner: Guillaume Martin
Traffic: Elodie Diana
Music Creative Director: Christophe Caurret
TV Producer: Isabelle Menard
Production Company: Partizan
Sound Production: Schmooze
VFX: Unit Image
Post Production: Royal Post
Director: Antoine Bardou-Jacquet
D.O.P.: Damien Morisot