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Spot the Reference

Spot the Reference

Danielle Smith

Danielle Smith

September 2, 2019

BETC Paris creates a scavenger hunt for Netflix references within a spot for Bouygues Telecom

"This spot is about the complex and yet beautiful relationship between a mother and her son."

David Soussan, Mathieu Laugier, Sophie Roberts, and Marie-Eve Schoettl of BETC Paris created a game within an ad. The knowledge, creativity, and attention to detail required to produce this work resulted in simply a 60-second commercial promoting an offer from Bouygues Telecom, for some viewers. For others, a scavenger hunt for 20 hidden references to Netflix original shows ensued, resulting in worldwide buzz. 

 

What was the brief from Bouygues Telecom and their promotion to offer a free year of Netflix?

Bouygues Telecom came to us with a brief to promote an offer where new premium phone and internet subscribers are offered one year of access to HD and multiple screen Netflix. On top of the ambitious business objectives, the challenge was to capitalize on Netflix’s strong appeal but avoid being overshadowed by it. 

 

How did you decide which Netflix references to include in the spot?

We wanted to include as many references as possible to original Netflix shows. While we wanted to make the quest as exciting as possible, we also wanted to make sure that the largest possible audience could play and find at least a few references. Therefore, it was about finding the right balance between popular and more obscure shows, and between obvious and ambiguous references. To be honest, we wanted the whole quest to be hardly achievable. It’s a bit daunting, but we knew that’s how hardcore Netflix fans would want it.

 

Was it a challenge to fit 20 references into a spot that is only 60 seconds long?

The main challenge was to make sure they all fit seamlessly. On the one hand, they had to be invisible to whoever was just watching the ad—after all, it was aired on TV so the audience was way broader than the game’s target—but on the other hand, they had to be intricately included in each shot, so when discovered they would become visible. It was great work that we did along with director Adrien Armanet and his set design team. I think we did quite well, didn’t we?

 

Tell us a little about the storyline between the boy and his mother?

It’s the story of a typical teenage boy and his mom. At age 16, he’s more interested in friends, maybe girlfriends, video games, and sneaking out than talking to his mother. And like most teenagers, our hero spends a lot of time in his bedroom. It’s not that the bond between them doesn’t exist anymore: he’s simply at that age when the sense of privacy peaks. So his loving yet cunning mother (doesn’t she know him so well?) gently tricks him into spending some quality time together. This spot is about the complex and yet beautiful relationship between a mother and her son…and how, somehow, technology and Bouygues Telecom help bring them even closer. 

"It takes more than one hardcore Netflix binge and an eye trained for details to spot all the references."

Any interesting moments while making this campaign?

Everything was very tightly planned to include all the references in the frame, and yet let the live-action unfold. We still found space for improvisation, though. We were not really pleased with what we had done for the reference to Haunting of Hill House, which was initially whitish footsteps appearing while the kid looked under the bed. Then we noticed the closet at the bottom of the stairs and Art Director Julien Vergne said, “We need a ghost in there.” We all turned towards the agency Account Director, Sophie. It had to be her. So we sent her to the makeup and costume departments. She spent two hours in that closet!

 

What do you hope people take away from this campaign?

Beyond the moving storyline and the urge to seize the promotional offer, we hope we’ve made people connect to the brand through the digital experience, and also to people in real life. It takes more than one hardcore Netflix binge and an eye trained for details to spot all the references. 

 

What has been the response to this competition and the campaign overall?

Even better than we hoped! With almost 10 million video views on Twitter and Facebook alone and a completion rate of 92%, the search for references generated a lot of conversation online and gathered more than 62K registered players in the first weeks. 

 

Is there anything else you want to tell us about this campaign?

We noticed there were people engaging in the challenge to find all the hidden references from all over the world so we also launched an English version of the game! You can play too at https://spotthereference.com/

"This spot is about the complex and yet beautiful relationship between a mother and her son."

David Soussan, Mathieu Laugier, Sophie Roberts, and Marie-Eve Schoettl of BETC Paris created a game within an ad. The knowledge, creativity, and attention to detail required to produce this work resulted in simply a 60-second commercial promoting an offer from Bouygues Telecom, for some viewers. For others, a scavenger hunt for 20 hidden references to Netflix original shows ensued, resulting in worldwide buzz. 

 

What was the brief from Bouygues Telecom and their promotion to offer a free year of Netflix?

Bouygues Telecom came to us with a brief to promote an offer where new premium phone and internet subscribers are offered one year of access to HD and multiple screen Netflix. On top of the ambitious business objectives, the challenge was to capitalize on Netflix’s strong appeal but avoid being overshadowed by it. 

 

How did you decide which Netflix references to include in the spot?

We wanted to include as many references as possible to original Netflix shows. While we wanted to make the quest as exciting as possible, we also wanted to make sure that the largest possible audience could play and find at least a few references. Therefore, it was about finding the right balance between popular and more obscure shows, and between obvious and ambiguous references. To be honest, we wanted the whole quest to be hardly achievable. It’s a bit daunting, but we knew that’s how hardcore Netflix fans would want it.

 

Was it a challenge to fit 20 references into a spot that is only 60 seconds long?

The main challenge was to make sure they all fit seamlessly. On the one hand, they had to be invisible to whoever was just watching the ad—after all, it was aired on TV so the audience was way broader than the game’s target—but on the other hand, they had to be intricately included in each shot, so when discovered they would become visible. It was great work that we did along with director Adrien Armanet and his set design team. I think we did quite well, didn’t we?

 

Tell us a little about the storyline between the boy and his mother?

It’s the story of a typical teenage boy and his mom. At age 16, he’s more interested in friends, maybe girlfriends, video games, and sneaking out than talking to his mother. And like most teenagers, our hero spends a lot of time in his bedroom. It’s not that the bond between them doesn’t exist anymore: he’s simply at that age when the sense of privacy peaks. So his loving yet cunning mother (doesn’t she know him so well?) gently tricks him into spending some quality time together. This spot is about the complex and yet beautiful relationship between a mother and her son…and how, somehow, technology and Bouygues Telecom help bring them even closer. 

"It takes more than one hardcore Netflix binge and an eye trained for details to spot all the references."

Any interesting moments while making this campaign?

Everything was very tightly planned to include all the references in the frame, and yet let the live-action unfold. We still found space for improvisation, though. We were not really pleased with what we had done for the reference to Haunting of Hill House, which was initially whitish footsteps appearing while the kid looked under the bed. Then we noticed the closet at the bottom of the stairs and Art Director Julien Vergne said, “We need a ghost in there.” We all turned towards the agency Account Director, Sophie. It had to be her. So we sent her to the makeup and costume departments. She spent two hours in that closet!

 

What do you hope people take away from this campaign?

Beyond the moving storyline and the urge to seize the promotional offer, we hope we’ve made people connect to the brand through the digital experience, and also to people in real life. It takes more than one hardcore Netflix binge and an eye trained for details to spot all the references. 

 

What has been the response to this competition and the campaign overall?

Even better than we hoped! With almost 10 million video views on Twitter and Facebook alone and a completion rate of 92%, the search for references generated a lot of conversation online and gathered more than 62K registered players in the first weeks. 

 

Is there anything else you want to tell us about this campaign?

We noticed there were people engaging in the challenge to find all the hidden references from all over the world so we also launched an English version of the game! You can play too at https://spotthereference.com/

Danielle Smith is the Communications Manager of Havas Group. She’s believes every meal can be tacos if you have tortillas and the heart to try.

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