France – The COVID-19 pandemic has forced brands and agencies to adapt their organizational and communications strategies. Such is the case for Free, who, during the lockdown, launched the TV campaign “The Neighbourhood” with the french agency Herezie. Turning a key marketing moment into a relevant and responsible corporate campaign.
As a telecommunications brand that helps to connect people and bring them closer together, Free decided to turn a key communications opportunity, initially planned as a marketing campaign, into a corporate message, encouraging the French to stay at home, by pointing out what can be gained from lockdown with the help of the Free network and the services it provides.
It took Herezie two days to come up with a creative response to the challenge and the 4 films were produced over the period of a week with the production company Eddy.
Free helps French people to connect together.
During lockdown, we’re all staying at home. And we’re managing to compensate for the lack of human interaction with technology. Free thus helps people to connect. The campaign, made up of four films and directly inspired by current events, is a literal zoom into four French cities : Caen, Bordeaux, Marseille and Paris.
Each film contains a series of dialogues between neighbours, all taking place from their respective windows or balconies. The films address the various uses of telecommunications: gaming, which becomes a pretext for solidarity between generations, an exchange of phone numbers sparks a romance, music brings people closer together and video calls provide news ways of distance teaching.
Paul Marty & Etienne Renaux ECD of Herezie : “A few minutes spent outside on the balcony and then on Twitter observing conversations and we came up with 4 scenes from life, inspired by what we are all going through at the moment. And that is the strength of the concept, everyone can relate to the films from their own experience of lockdown and envi- sion the various characters as they please… just as they do with their own neighbours.”
There are no promotional messages or terms & conditions and even the brand isn’t particularly present. Instead, the campaign emphasizes the lockdown message and the way Free enables people to connect with each other during this period. The well-known tagline was also adapted for the occasion: “Free. they stay home, they stay smart”
The campaign “The Neighbors” was released on TV ( 19 channels) , web and radio on the 9th April 2020.
Marketing Director: Camille Perrin
Head of Advertising: Gwendoline Helary
Assistant Account Executive: Auriane Vianay
CEO: Andrea Stillacci
ECDs: Paul Marty Etienne Renaux
Art Director: Rodolphe Pinta
Copywriter: Théo Castagne
Group Account Director: Dimitri Boudnikoff
Account Director: Marine Chenu
Account Executive: Lisa Duchein
Producer: Tanya Kozlova
PR Officer: Aliou Maro
Production Company: Eddy
Sound Production: Benzene Director: Julien Zenier