In the driving seat
It took my three go’s to pass my driving test. The first test I had to pull a U-turn back to the test centre because I was deemed ‘a concern’ – left and right has always been a struggle. And then throw Matt, my husband into the mix who, at 42, doesn’t have a driving license (“I’m urban,” he says) and you’ve got quite the line-up for an advertising campaign promoting the new Renault Scenic family set of wheels.
In my mind car advertising was all pencil skirts, dramatic mountainscapes and a deep George Clooney-esque voice penetrating mind and (presumably) wallet. So when we got the call that Renault would like to work with us – the automobile equivalent of The Flintstones but with a less daring wardrobe and more passive aggressiveness – we had a few questions.
Followers, engagement, algorithms and all that aside, Renault wanted to exchange the suited and booted brooding couple for a pair like us who were generally hollering things like, “Matt have you got the wet wipes? We NEED the wet wipes” in yoghurt-embellished threads against a backdrop of Peppa Pig. With the campaign titled ‘Behind Car Doors’, they wanted the audience to get into the car and sit with us as we navigated the open road with the full team and all their relentless needs.
And what needs there were. The first video we shot was when I was 35 weeks pregnant. I remember driving my eldest to nursery as Braxton Hicks contractions – false contractions ahead of birth – kicked in and I edited the video to take my mind off the whole uterine palaver. The next video we shot, we had at 1-week-old baby strapped into the back as we were fielding questions from our eldest that went thus: “why can’t I dress the baby as a dinosaur and keep it in my pencil case?”
From endlessly long journeys and relentless requests for ‘iPad now’ to my eldest communicating solely in canine language, it’s, indeed, been a journey. While many find the advertising on Instagram uncomfortable at times – I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again, no one wants to be a slipped a Wall’s sausage on the sly – I truly believe Renault got it right here. They were the first brand that let me tag a huge ‘AD’ at the beginning of the caption along with geo tagging to ensure it was clear this was an advert and wasn’t going to leave a bad taste in your mouth as you realised halfway through viewing.
They were also one of the first brands we’ve worked with who gave us carte blanche to create what we wanted around our lives. This meant it wasn’t uncomfortable viewing where we had to say things like, “oooh the gear stick on this Renault Scenic is divine” as we drove to school.
More than anything, the car is spot on for the family. I don’t own any pencil skirts and I haven’t tried it on a dramatic mountain road but it has wipe-clean seats, a massage function on the chairs (perfect when waiting at the school gates with an eye twitch), a huge sunroof for the kids to say things like “that cloud looks like Papa’s bottom”, USB portals for the iPad and a really great steering wheel. And according to Matt my driving throughout the campaign was not ‘a concern’. That said, he’s never had a driving lesson.
This blog post was written in association with Renault. AD
Written by: Anna Whitehouse.