Renault’s original ‘Papa, Nicole’ campaign was a 1990s phenomenon, selling 300,000 Clios in its seven-year run.

A 1990s phenomenon, when Renault’s “Papa and Nicole” hit screens, the Provencal duo soon drove the car manufacturer into popular culture. 

Three hundred thousand cars later, during its seven-year run, the seminal campaign not only encouraged people to buy Renaults, but propelled the name Nicole from outside the top 100 most popular names for new-born girls to the lofty heights of 36th (7,000 baby girls called Nicole were born between 1996-2000). 

In the run up to Father’s Day, Renault and Publicis.Poke had gone for another spin with “Papa, Nicole”, this time focusing on those 7,000 Nicole’s (and their papas) to find out where their roads have led them.

Papa, Nicole: the story lives on” is a moving portrait of modern fatherhood and female independence, told through the eyes of three real-life Nicoles: a singer, a fashion and disability awareness content creator and a photographer.

From overcoming illness to chasing a number one album, their ambition, passion and lust for life are proof Nicole’s irrepressible independent spirit lives on. While their papas have had to roll with the punches just as much as the original ever did.

It was directed by Toby Dye through RSA Films. The creatives were Colin Byrne and Rob Butcher. 

The world has moved on since the original campaign broke, so the all-new Megane E-Tech 100% Electric replaces the classic Clio. 

“Bringing the nostalgic ‘Papa Nicole’ ad into a modern dimension hits the nail on the head,” Louise O’Sullivan, marketing director (UK and Ireland) at Renault, said. 

“We’re adding a modern chapter into the much-loved story as we get to know real-life Papas and Nicole’s. From exploring the ever-adapting dynamic between fathers and daughters to the fact that the campaign will run on social instead of TV: every aspect of this campaign is relevant right now in 2022.”

Adding to this, Dave Monk, executive creative director of Publicis.Poke, said: “In the last 30 years, there’s probably not been a Renault creative brief where someone hasn’t mentioned Papa and Nicole. Why don’t we bring them back? Always a good question, but never really relevant.

“With a new generation of electric vehicles in Renault’s pipeline, it got us thinking about a new generation of Nicole and Papas, and then the creative team came back with the fact that thousands of real-life baby girls in the 90s had been named Nicole during the height of the campaign.”

Monk said the idea felt fresh and fascinating and the spot is a celebration of changing times, the journey of relationships, but most importantly about how daughters and their dads are navigating life 30 years on.

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