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Potable? Potable! Potable.

Potable? Potable! Potable.

Natasha Smith

Natasha Smith

July 30, 2018

Depending on who you talk to, it can mean completely different things.

"We decided to focus on the human part of Veolia."

Words can be tricky. So, art director Benoit Pinon and copywriter Constantin de La Borde of Havas Paris help break down this recent spot for French utility company Veolia.

 

What’s the English translation of “potable?”

When it refers to anything else other than water, “potable” means barely acceptable or not so good.

Why the play on the meaning of the word “potable?”

Drinkable water is precious; it’s the basis of all life. So we saw a paradox in this second meaning that could bring funny situations to the film, with a real message: potable is above everything.

What’s the storyline of this spot?

It’s an àrebours (backwards) love story that portrays the encounter of two employees from Veolia, a utilities company in France. The story is punctuated by this language twist that creates surprising situations.

How’d the team come up with an idea full of fun and levity?

As Veolia is one of France’s biggest industrial brands, we absolutely wanted to avoid using a sterilized corporate tone. Veolia is a truly great brand, and is doing a truly great job all around the world. The brief said: “Your water deserves our best resources,” so we decided to focus on the human part of Veolia. We thought that seeing them at work testing water wasn’t as strong as seeing them in their private lives, but with the same passion for water. It took the form of a rom-com after discussing with David Bertram, the director, the best way to bring emotion to the film.

The couple in this spot is funny and relatable. Any fun bloopers?

The shoot went pretty well, in fact. So thank you, Standard Films. It’s hard to remember any bloopers. All the actors seemed to have a good time together, and this brought a lot of truth to their expressions. The only surprise was the weather, but it was a good surprise in the end. We imagined a full blue sky above the sea, and it was in fact a pretty rainy day. But at some point, the rain stopped, and the clouds in the sky created a poetic Caribbean atmosphere that we instantly fell in love with.

How does this story convey the brand’s message directly to its audience?

Tap water has become something so common that few people really think about all the people and work behind their tap. So we designed this story with the purpose of tickling one’s curiosity in an unexpected way.

Are there other parts of the campaign?

Yes, a print campaign is running alongside the film. The print campaign consists of three visuals with basically the same idea but with other characters, and a last one with a dictionary definition of “potable”—the Veolia way.

"We decided to focus on the human part of Veolia."

Words can be tricky. So, art director Benoit Pinon and copywriter Constantin de La Borde of Havas Paris help break down this recent spot for French utility company Veolia.

 

What’s the English translation of “potable?”

When it refers to anything else other than water, “potable” means barely acceptable or not so good.

Why the play on the meaning of the word “potable?”

Drinkable water is precious; it’s the basis of all life. So we saw a paradox in this second meaning that could bring funny situations to the film, with a real message: potable is above everything.

What’s the storyline of this spot?

It’s an àrebours (backwards) love story that portrays the encounter of two employees from Veolia, a utilities company in France. The story is punctuated by this language twist that creates surprising situations.

How’d the team come up with an idea full of fun and levity?

As Veolia is one of France’s biggest industrial brands, we absolutely wanted to avoid using a sterilized corporate tone. Veolia is a truly great brand, and is doing a truly great job all around the world. The brief said: “Your water deserves our best resources,” so we decided to focus on the human part of Veolia. We thought that seeing them at work testing water wasn’t as strong as seeing them in their private lives, but with the same passion for water. It took the form of a rom-com after discussing with David Bertram, the director, the best way to bring emotion to the film.

The couple in this spot is funny and relatable. Any fun bloopers?

The shoot went pretty well, in fact. So thank you, Standard Films. It’s hard to remember any bloopers. All the actors seemed to have a good time together, and this brought a lot of truth to their expressions. The only surprise was the weather, but it was a good surprise in the end. We imagined a full blue sky above the sea, and it was in fact a pretty rainy day. But at some point, the rain stopped, and the clouds in the sky created a poetic Caribbean atmosphere that we instantly fell in love with.

How does this story convey the brand’s message directly to its audience?

Tap water has become something so common that few people really think about all the people and work behind their tap. So we designed this story with the purpose of tickling one’s curiosity in an unexpected way.

Are there other parts of the campaign?

Yes, a print campaign is running alongside the film. The print campaign consists of three visuals with basically the same idea but with other characters, and a last one with a dictionary definition of “potable”—the Veolia way.

Natasha Smith is the strategic communications manager for Havas Group. She happily represents 404 in the 212.

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