Ad of the Day: Evian’s Babies Try Surfing, and Chilling With Gigi Hadid, in Global Campaign

The supermodel tell us why she loves the 'Live Young' work

Headshot of Tim Nudd

Whether you find them adorable, hilarious, creepy—or maybe all of the above—Evian's famous advertising babies aren't going anywhere. And they return today with a splash in a new campaign from BETC Paris that includes a surfing-themed global commercial and North American outdoor ads starring Gigi Hadid.

The new spot, "Baby Bay," rolled out moments ago online. It features the babies—whose prior amusingly adult-like physical exploits famously included rollerblading—grabbing surfboards and catching some waves, much to the surprise of the one grownup on the beach. (Everyone else has been drinking Evian and reverted to a childlike state, you see, while our confused hero still needs his refreshment, which awaits him at the bar down the beach.)

The tagline remains, "Live Young."

Check out the 90-second spot here: 

Olivia Sanchez-Castro, vp of marketing for Danone Waters of America, spoke to Adweek exclusively about the babies and the secret of their staying power.

"We're just not tired of them," she said. "The babies are the embodiment of youth, and that's always been a part of Evian's DNA. We don't feel it's over yet. It's about entertainment and the embodiment of youth for us." 

Sanchez-Castro said the surfing theme was a perfect evolution of the campaign. "It's all about nature, and we felt like it went really well with Evian's vision of youth," she said. "It's this carefree, very relaxed style, and that's the embodiment of what 'Live Young' is for us. We felt this natural setting really brought forth what Evian is, which is this pure water from the Alps." 

BETC creatives Agnes Cavard and Valérie Chidlovsky said in a email that the new commercial is less about the sight gags of showing babies doing grownup things, and more about just telling a fun story.

"The film isn't made to be a new choreographic feature, where the surf replaces rollers or street dance," they said. "On the contrary, we wanted to change the style into something more psychological and storytelling-based. Less music video and more realistic. The brief from the client was to reintroduce the Evian bottle, put the product at the heart of the film and to talk more about the Evian effect." 

Having said that, "we really like the surf universe," they added, "not just for the spectacular physical thrills, but also for the healthy lifestyle, the philosophy and the cool spirit. Very 'Live Young!' "

The spot is running globally online and on TV in select markets, including France, the U.K. and Japan. The U.S. won't have the commercial on TV but is getting another major piece of the campaign—outdoor ads starring Gigi Hadid and her surf-baby doppelgänger.

Check out those ads here:

Adweek spoke with the 20-year-old supermodel, who insisted she really uses the product.

"To me, a bottle of Evian is just as much an essential accessory as a great pair of sneakers or sunglasses. It's so important to keep a bottle with you, especially when you travel like I do. I grew up a serious athlete, so I learned the importance of staying hydrated all day," she said. "Today, when I'm on the road or at shoots, I always make sure I'm hydrating every break I get. [This campaign] was a natural fit since I love the brand. I also feel strongly about always keeping a youthful spirit, which is what Evian is all about." 

Hadid says she loves how the ads turned out. 

"I enjoyed getting to re-enact the faces of my surfer-baby look-alike," she said. "I loved that they took a beachy-sporty route with the creative, because I'm from Malibu and I know that surfing is more than just a sport—it's a way of life. It's so connected to nature that it brings to life Evian's vision of living young as a state of mind." 

For BETC, which has worked on Evian for 22 years, the trick is to keep the babies evolving and relevant. The infants were introduced in 1998 with the beloved French spot "Water Babies" and made famous a decade later by the global "Roller Babies" ad (one of the most-watched ads ever on YouTube).

They're not purely an advertising gimmick, either. Evian was recommended by doctors as the perfect water for babies way back in 1935, thanks to its pH-neutral mineral composition. From that product-based connection sprang the fanciful idea that a baby could also represent an adult's inner child.

"The babies are part of the DNA of the brand. The water was originally known as the babies' water in France, handed out in the maternities," BETC's Cavard and Chidlovsky said. "The babies are a fun, cute and spectacular way of symbolizing Evian's promise of youth. But of course it's important that the babies keep surprising us. We can't let them become boring and expected but just keep them as a constant source of inspiration."



Client: Evian

Client Management: Véronique Penchienati, Céline Barral, Dorothée Sénard

Media Responsible: Benoit Radenne

Agency: BETC

Agency Management: Marielle Durandet, Gaelle Gicqueau, Charlotte Bals, Fanny Buisseret

Creative Directors: Rémi Babinet

Art Director: Agnès Cavard

AD Assistant: Félix Falzon

Copywriter: Valérie Chidlovsky

Traffic: Alexandra Chini, Elise Herfort

Media Strategy Director: Martine Picard (BETC)

TV Producer: Fabrice Brovelli

Assistant TV Producer: Marine Monbeig

Production Compagny: WANDA Paris

Director: James Rouse

Visual Effects: Mikros Images


Music Director: Christophe Caurret

Sound Production: Green United Music

Song & Artists: Kokomo, Lilly Wood and The Prick

First Broadcast: 20th april 2016

Media Agency: GroupM

Media Plan: Digital, TV, Cinema

(France, Belgium, Switzerland, United Kingdom, Russia, USA, Canada, Israel, Hong-Kong, Singapore, China, Émirates, New Caledonia):

Available Formats: 90'', 60'', 30''


Client: Evian

Client Management: Véronique Penchienati, Céline Barral, Dorothée Sénard

Agency: BETC

Agency Management: Marielle Durandet, Gaelle Gicqueau, Charlotte Bals, Fanny Buisseret

Creative Director: Rémi Babinet

Art Director: Agnès Cavard

Ad Assistant: Félix Falzon

Copywriter: Valérie Chidlovsky

Photographer: Benni Valsson

Art Purchase: Isabelle Mocq-Orain

Production: Rita Prod

First Publication: 11th april

Media Plan: Pack, POS, Outdoor

Hub & Community Management:

Client: Evian

Client Management: Véronique Penchienati, Céline Barral, Dorothée Sénard

Agency: BETC

Agency Management: Gaelle Gicqueau, Charlotte Bals, Fanny Buisseret, Adeline Belin, Sophie Lourdelle

Creative Directors: Agnès Cavard, Valérie Chidlovsky

Art Director: Mathilde Fallot, Gabrielle Debeuret

Copywriter: Gullit Baku

Development: Versus fully tailored creation

Strategic Planning: Tom Aguilar

@nudd Tim Nudd is a former creative editor of Adweek.