Three films show that Canal+ says it better than N******

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Three films show that Canal+ says it better than N******

The Background

Since 15 October, French streaming service Canal+ and Netflix have a new partnership. 

To announce the new streaming offer, Canal+ worked with its agency BETC to create a mini saga of three laugh-out-loud videos.

What They Did

The first one has a director trying to explain to a famous French actor that he needs to announce the new streaming offer without saying Netflix. Throughout, you never hear the word ‘Netflix’. It is always beeped out with the subtitles saying ‘N******’, so Netflix is treated like a swear word.

In the second film a family dinner has each person reacting to the strange new Canal+ ‘beep’ ad. This time not only is the Netflix-word beeped out, but a proper, well-placed swear word too.

The third film is the result of Canal+ signing a partnership with Netflix which means Canal+ subscribers now have access to the full Netflix catalogue. 

So in the third film it is fine to mention Netflix in full. However, the actor has not been briefed adequately, and he loses it as he is surrounded by scenery and actors from top Netflix shows.

The Review

This is a five-star review, simply because I wish I’d done this. And that’s possibly the highest praise I can give. 

Here’s why:

I wish I’d done it because it’s wonderfully simple.

This is brutal honesty, and what’s better in this industry? 

Culturally, it’s just so bang-on for 2019.

Three words –‘JUST LIKE NETFLIX’ – that leave me in no doubt about what the sketch is here.

I’m so sold on the product and Canal+.

I wish I’d done it because the writing is perfect. 

The humour translates despite my C-grade GCSE French.

I wish I’d done it because the level of craft in the production, the direction and the finish is quite *checks French spelling* magnifique. 

Martin Werner (director) and Henry Paris (production), I doth my beret.

But, I mostly wish I’d done it because as the CD of BBC Creative, I know this brief is coming our way soon as the Beeb gears up for the changes we face in content consumption.

So, this a five-star review. But that doesn’t surprise me. Tim (my co-CD at BBC Creative and less-French partner) and I watch other broadcasters closely. We have to, we are that competitive.

It is, after all, our ambition to be the best in the world and these are the people to beat.

So obviously the work of 4Creative, Netflix and Amazon is familiar to us all. And it’s almost always envy-inducing.

But, I don’t think anyone does that as consistently as Canal+ and its agency BETC Paris.

In 2009, Canal+ released ‘The Wardrobe’ by Matthijs van Heijningen and I’d rank that as one of my favourite commercials of all time. Matthijs also did 2011’s ‘The Bear’ and 2015’s ‘The Unicorn’ which is the greatest build up to a knob gag I’ve ever seen.

Last year it released ‘Spitfire’ to promote the availability of Dunkirk, again simple genius that probably didn’t cost all that much either. ‘The Fan’ in 2016, by Edouard Deluc, is wonderful, et cetera, et cetera (another French phrase, this one indicating that a list is too tedious or clichéd to give in full).

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James Cross

James Cross

  • Creative director
  • BBC Creative

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