‘Cantona Swims Channel’ in Ogilvy’s Latest for Kronenbourg 1664

By Erik Oster 

Ogilvy & Mather launched a new spot for Heineken-owned French beer Kronenbourg 1664, featuring former soccer star Eric Cantona, who follows-up on his promise to swim from France to England if enough people in the U.K. agreed with the ridiculous assertion that Kronenbourg 1664 is the “supreme tasting beer in the world.”

The ad opens with Cantona delivering a short speech before making trek, complete with Vangelis-like cheesy 80s synth being played in the background and jumping into the water. It soon becomes clear, however, that he has a trick up his sleeve. While he may technically be swimming for the duration of the journey, it’s not quite as impressive as it may seem. A follow-up ad finds Cantona arriving in Dover, his cheating ways unexposed, met by a news crew and fans. Asked about his journey by a reporter he gives the nonsensical answer, “It’s not where the seagull flies to, it’s how it gets there.”

The ads are entertainingly humorous and tongue-in-cheek. Its mix of humor and celebrity are paired with a celebration of the brand’s popularity across the channel, which make memorable while, the brand hopes at least, convincing some Brits to give Kronenbourg a try. Its sarcastic tone and use of celebrity is not far removed from Droga5’s efforts stateside for Newcastle, but there’s enough variation here to give Kronenbourg a distinct voice of its own and the execution is spot on. More About Advertising went as far as to call it one of the best beer campaigns to date. We’re not sure we’d go that far, but it’s certainly a refreshing effort which swims circles around most of the competition in its category.



Client: Kronenbourg
Title: “Le Big Swim”
Brand Director: Ifeoma Dozie, Mainstream Beers, Heineken
Agency: Ogilvy & Mather
Account Director: Harriet Harrison
Account Manager: Joey Grigg
Creative Director:  Gerry Human
Copywriter: Simon Lotze
Art Director: Miguel Nunes
Planner/CSU director: Tara Austin                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Agency Producer: Ruth Darsow
Media Agency: Starcom Mediavest Group
Media Planner: Clare Street
Production company: Stink
Director: Ivan Zacharias
Audio Post-production: Sound Square
Post-production: Universal Production Partners