Lacoste, and Its Timeless Polo, Skip Through the Decades in This Lovely New Ad

Reveling in an iconic staple

Headshot of Angela Natividad

We’ve always been suckers for a timejump spot. Lacoste’s latest, “Timeless,” uses the device beautifully.

Created by BETC Paris and set to the emotional tremors of a violin, the ad casts us backward, recalling Lacoste’s long history—it was founded in 1933 by tennis player René Lacoste and André Gillier—while explaining why its classic polo endures.

In a century where style has evolved enormously, especially for women, a man has always been able to rely on a trusty polo shirt to lend a certain impression. (BETC calls it “class and elegance.” We’ll nod, because that’s true sometimes, but of course any mainstream item burdened with that much symbolism has a dark side.)

A timejump is a clever, emotional way to convey lots of information in a framework that provides enormous pleasure as it reveals itself to viewers. It helps that you feel how much fun it was to make: There’s a lavishness to reconstructing whole eras for mere seconds of shooting. And the story is an old classic: Boy meets girl on a train platform. A pursuit ensues through the cars, from which new decades (or rather, old ones) spring to life.

So there’s plenty to appreciate: Gratuitous nostalgia, star-crossed love, and—in its satisfying (if predictable) conclusion—a flirtation with something deeper. Their first kiss is cleverly framed to bring other ideas to mind, like reincarnation and destiny, suggesting the length of this train is a metaphor for a pursuit many lifetimes long. As a tiny brand bonus, by the time they arrive in our era, the woman is also wearing a polo—a nod to how the garment itself has evolved.

Our only disappointment is that Tilda Swinton does not make a cameo.

“Timeless” was directed by Seb Edwards, with Hoyte Van Hoytema as DOP. The pair previously worked on “The Big Leap,” another BETC-created Lacoste film that’s enjoyed 60 million views and received more than 35 awards. The agency credits that spot with “[elevating] Lacoste from the rank of sports brand to fashion brand,” but let’s give these guys a break—it came out in 2014, and the polo’s been a preppy wardrobe staple for decades. That’s just a fact.

Lacoste’s battle has never been about beating back the tendency to associate polos with sports; quite the opposite, actually—it’s had to fight the polo’s popularity. Few things are worse for an icon than ubiquity, which perhaps explains why the brand’s been spoiling us with pretty adverts.

Back to “Timeless.” In addition to solid directing, it benefits from serious star talent. Music is credited to Max Richter (Black Mirror), and costume design was done by Madeline Fontaine, whose recent projects include Jackie.

By and large, it’s lovely work. And if you’re thirsty for more timejumps, which have a way of making one feel pleasantly nostalgic, we can recommend a few—the playful and sexy “Dangerous Liaison” from Levi’s, Bacardi Mojito’s “Eras,” whose catchy Matt and Kim track Daylight was offered as a free MP3 at the time of launch (still one of our Spotify staples), Lynx’s “Soulmates” (thanks, David Felton!), HSBC’s “Lift,” and “Replace Every 8,” a mattress ad that will make you love bedtime more than you already do.

Don’t forget to come up for air.

Brand : Lacoste
Ad Agency : BETC Paris
Executive Creative Director : Remi Babinet
Creative Director: Antoine Choque
Art Director: Aurelie Scalabre
Copywriter: Olivier Aumard
Agency TV Producer: Fabrice Brovelli
Director: Seb Edwards
Production Company: Wanda/Academy
Post Production: Whitehouse Post
Editor: Russell Icke
VFX: Mikros Image

@luckthelady Angela Natividad is a frequent contributor to Adweek's creativity blog, AdFreak. She is also the author of Generation Creation and co-founder of Hurrah, an esports agency. She lives in Paris and when she isn't writing, she can be found picking food off your plate.