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BETC Paris Spills “Laurence’s Secret"

BETC Paris Spills “Laurence’s Secret"

Sulaiman Beg

Sulaiman Beg

February 20, 2018

Is Laurence a vampire? A murderer? An ex-KGB agent?

Part-true crime mystery, part-Escape the Room fantasy, BETC Paris’ follow-up to the much-lauded “Louise Delage” campaign, eschews social media for an immersive, real-life experience.

“Laurence’s Secret,” created for the French addiction support organization, Addict Aide, gave aspiring sleuths a chance to step inside the immaculately recreated Paris apartment of Laurence Cottet, a very much real person.

The twist: Cottet is a recovering alcoholic, now 10 years sober.

The agency recreated her apartment from the time when her alcoholism was at its worst, featuring shattered mirrors, ominous carpet stains, bloody razors, and cryptic notes.

While the execution differed from the Cannes Lions-winning Delage work, the insight was the same: it’s incredibly easy to miss the signs of addiction.

We spoke with BETC Paris Copywriter Rémi Campet and Art Director Rayhaan “Ray” Khodabux, the creative duo also behind the “Louise Delage” campaign, about their follow-up, why it was important to have both an online and offline component, and some of their favorite guesses.

"We were looking for something more emotionally involving."

Tell us a little about how this campaign came together.

The campaign is based on the same insight as Louise Delage – how easy it is to miss the addiction of someone close to you if you don’t have the right tools to spot the signs.

The execution, however, is clearly different. We were looking for something more emotionally involving. The idea came about to let the public dive into the behind the scenes of the everyday life of an alcoholic.

For that effect, we recreated an exact replica of an apartment that used to belong to Laurence Cottet, a former alcoholic.

People had the chance to experience and discover her apartment in real life, as well as virtually, through the online game.

More than just a classic awareness campaign, it was an essential piece that allowed us to give people the necessary tools to help them recognize the signs of alcoholism. For that reason, we also created a website that explains alcoholism through Laurence’s addiction habits.

Your previous campaign for Addict Aide was the Cannes Lions-winning “Louise Delage,” which was a campaign entirely driven on social media. This one is more focused on IRL interactions. What was the reason from going offline to online, and going from a fictitious person to a very real person?

Laurence’s Secret” continues the interactive mystery elements while grounding the audience more in the real world.

Switching from a fictional character to a real one was important for us. Having the exact replica of her previous flat in Paris, with real items belonging to Lawrence- like her wardrobe, her notebook, her smartphone etc- recreating once again all her habits.

We worked alongside Laurence, Addict Aide, and the production company Francine Framboise for several months to make the apartment identical to the original.

At the same time, we wanted to keep the campaign both offline and online – thanks to the online game, we had a larger impact not only in France, but abroad too.

Given the success of the “Louise Delage” campaign, was there any pressure to outdo it when brainstorming ideas?

It’s never easy to imagine a sequel when the first campaign made such an impact.

However, we were able to detach from what was done for the “Louise Delage” campaign, and we started from scratch to have a fresh vision of the topic.

Our objective this time was more pedagogic. We wanted to deliver something that helps people have a better understanding of alcohol addiction and its signs, and to promote the Addict Aide’s daily work.

Of course, our goal was also to deliver a solid piece of work, a campaign we could be proud of.

"Like every disease, the signs of alcoholism are hard to detect when you don’t know how to recognize them."

Were the “investigators” expecting a traditional Escape The Room experience?

We partnered with a famous game factory in Paris, The Escape Lab, which holds several Escape The Room challenges. This allowed us to give the room excellent credibility.

However, people were aware that this one was a bit different from the traditional Escape Games. This one was more focused on the investigation and deduction part.

From shattered mirrors and cryptic notes, to religious texts and strange red stains, the scene contained plenty of clues that amateur detectives could piece together to solve the mystery.

After their investigation, the players had a couple of minutes to give their theories – and there were some crazy ones, such as “Laurence is a vampire,” “a murderer,” “an ex-KGB agent”….

What were their reactions when confronted with the video from Laurence Cottet?

However crazy the player’s theories were, the most shocking part was the reveal.

Most of the players were shocked they had missed something so simple, so basic. Mostly because all the signs were right under their noses the entire game.

And actually knowing that the room was an exact replica of a real ex-alcoholic’s apartment gave an even deeper dimension to the experience.

Were you surprised that not one of the 7,000 people who participated were able to guess the secret?

If we have to be totally honest, three people were extremely close to solving Laurence’s secret.

The reason: all of them had encountered this type of situation before and had dealt with an alcoholic relative.

So it wasn’t a surprise that the other players missed the real story – Laurence’s addiction.

Like every disease, the signs of alcoholism are hard to detect when you don’t know how to recognize them.

Part-true crime mystery, part-Escape the Room fantasy, BETC Paris’ follow-up to the much-lauded “Louise Delage” campaign, eschews social media for an immersive, real-life experience.

“Laurence’s Secret,” created for the French addiction support organization, Addict Aide, gave aspiring sleuths a chance to step inside the immaculately recreated Paris apartment of Laurence Cottet, a very much real person.

The twist: Cottet is a recovering alcoholic, now 10 years sober.

The agency recreated her apartment from the time when her alcoholism was at its worst, featuring shattered mirrors, ominous carpet stains, bloody razors, and cryptic notes.

While the execution differed from the Cannes Lions-winning Delage work, the insight was the same: it’s incredibly easy to miss the signs of addiction.

We spoke with BETC Paris Copywriter Rémi Campet and Art Director Rayhaan “Ray” Khodabux, the creative duo also behind the “Louise Delage” campaign, about their follow-up, why it was important to have both an online and offline component, and some of their favorite guesses.

"We were looking for something more emotionally involving."

Tell us a little about how this campaign came together.

The campaign is based on the same insight as Louise Delage – how easy it is to miss the addiction of someone close to you if you don’t have the right tools to spot the signs.

The execution, however, is clearly different. We were looking for something more emotionally involving. The idea came about to let the public dive into the behind the scenes of the everyday life of an alcoholic.

For that effect, we recreated an exact replica of an apartment that used to belong to Laurence Cottet, a former alcoholic.

People had the chance to experience and discover her apartment in real life, as well as virtually, through the online game.

More than just a classic awareness campaign, it was an essential piece that allowed us to give people the necessary tools to help them recognize the signs of alcoholism. For that reason, we also created a website that explains alcoholism through Laurence’s addiction habits.

Your previous campaign for Addict Aide was the Cannes Lions-winning “Louise Delage,” which was a campaign entirely driven on social media. This one is more focused on IRL interactions. What was the reason from going offline to online, and going from a fictitious person to a very real person?

Laurence’s Secret” continues the interactive mystery elements while grounding the audience more in the real world.

Switching from a fictional character to a real one was important for us. Having the exact replica of her previous flat in Paris, with real items belonging to Lawrence- like her wardrobe, her notebook, her smartphone etc- recreating once again all her habits.

We worked alongside Laurence, Addict Aide, and the production company Francine Framboise for several months to make the apartment identical to the original.

At the same time, we wanted to keep the campaign both offline and online – thanks to the online game, we had a larger impact not only in France, but abroad too.

Given the success of the “Louise Delage” campaign, was there any pressure to outdo it when brainstorming ideas?

It’s never easy to imagine a sequel when the first campaign made such an impact.

However, we were able to detach from what was done for the “Louise Delage” campaign, and we started from scratch to have a fresh vision of the topic.

Our objective this time was more pedagogic. We wanted to deliver something that helps people have a better understanding of alcohol addiction and its signs, and to promote the Addict Aide’s daily work.

Of course, our goal was also to deliver a solid piece of work, a campaign we could be proud of.

"Like every disease, the signs of alcoholism are hard to detect when you don’t know how to recognize them."

Were the “investigators” expecting a traditional Escape The Room experience?

We partnered with a famous game factory in Paris, The Escape Lab, which holds several Escape The Room challenges. This allowed us to give the room excellent credibility.

However, people were aware that this one was a bit different from the traditional Escape Games. This one was more focused on the investigation and deduction part.

From shattered mirrors and cryptic notes, to religious texts and strange red stains, the scene contained plenty of clues that amateur detectives could piece together to solve the mystery.

After their investigation, the players had a couple of minutes to give their theories – and there were some crazy ones, such as “Laurence is a vampire,” “a murderer,” “an ex-KGB agent”….

What were their reactions when confronted with the video from Laurence Cottet?

However crazy the player’s theories were, the most shocking part was the reveal.

Most of the players were shocked they had missed something so simple, so basic. Mostly because all the signs were right under their noses the entire game.

And actually knowing that the room was an exact replica of a real ex-alcoholic’s apartment gave an even deeper dimension to the experience.

Were you surprised that not one of the 7,000 people who participated were able to guess the secret?

If we have to be totally honest, three people were extremely close to solving Laurence’s secret.

The reason: all of them had encountered this type of situation before and had dealt with an alcoholic relative.

So it wasn’t a surprise that the other players missed the real story – Laurence’s addiction.

Like every disease, the signs of alcoholism are hard to detect when you don’t know how to recognize them.

Sulaiman Beg is Havas' Director of Global Internal Communications. He has never eaten canned tuna fish.

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