Ad of the Day: France’s Kronenbourg Crosses the Channel and Gorgeously Trolls the U.K.

A tasty, bitter campaign

The England-France rivalry lives on, and this week's fuel to a long-simmering feud is a charmingly duplicitous campaign from French brewer Kronenbourg 1664.

Back in June, French national and former Manchester United soccer star Eric Cantona—who quit in his prime to become an actor of sorts—promised to swim the English Channel, if 10,000 U.K. consumers agreed that Kronenbourg is the "supreme tasting beer in the world."

(Although owned by Heineken, the beer is based in the northeastern French city of Strasbourg.)

Now Ogilvy & Mather has created an ad to capture exactly how Cantona followed through on his promise, though the payoff might leave Brits feeling bamboozled. Campaign U.K. describes it as a "damp squib"—which is apparently British for "that guy is full of shit."

Nonetheless, it's a slick and charming production, directed by Stink's Ivan Zacharias. It evokes the hyper-saturated, faux-grandiosity of Wes Anderson; the absurd humor of Monty Python; and the surreal 1980s synth vibes of David Lynch. In similar ways, it's also reminiscent of Tom Kuntz's work, like the 2011 masterpiece for Australian beer brand Hahn's Superdry. (The first creepy keyboardist, though, brings exceptional Addams Family-style pomp and circumstance to the proceedings).

A second spot, meanwhile, shows Cantona arriving in Dover to a handful of fawning British rubes, none-the-wiser to his deception, applauding as he puffs out some indecipherable aphorism about cigarette prices or seagulls or something (One journalist, to her credit, remains confused).

In other words, the whole thing the perfect excuse for the English to keep hating the French, even if they like their beer.


Client: Kronenbourg
Title: "Le Big Swim"
Brand Director: Ifeoma Dozie, Mainstream Beers, Heineken
Agency: Ogilvy & Mather
Account Director: Harriet Harrison
Agency Manager: Joey Grigg
Creative director:  Gerry Human
Copywriter: Simon Lotze
Art director: Miguel Nunes
Planner/CSU director: Tara Austin
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