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Ad of the Day: W+K Gets Yoplait Back in Touch With Its Adorable French Side


Yoplait taps into its French roots to celebrate that it's now made with 25 percent less sugar—hurray!

Two 30-second spots—Wieden + Kennedy's first work for the General Mills brand—use an unexpected but welcome voiceover with a playful French accent. It's a fitting choice, as Yoplait was founded by two French farmers in the 1960s. It also explains the fun '60s vibe that comes through.

The ads use bright pops of color tied to the yogurt flavor—reds and pinks for strawberry and blues and greens for blueberry. Two more spots, featuring two additional flavors, are forthcoming. "The four work together in harmony—each showcasing a different flavor and aspect of this magical Yoplait world," said Susan Pitt, marketing manager for Yoplait.

The work is delightfully surprising, and that French accent is just downright charming. We caught up with Karl Lieberman, creative director at W+K in Portland, Ore., to hear a little more about what it tooke to find the perfect French accent and more.

Why use a voiceover? And one with a French accent?
As a nod to Yoplait's French heritage, we wanted a real French voice to narrate the work. We didn't want an American pretending to do a funny French voice. We wanted it to be authentic.

We were actually struggling to find this truly authentic French voice that we all loved through the casting agencies, when our ecd Joe Staples saw the rough cuts and said, "I know exactly who would be perfect for this: her name is Julie, she's French, and she owns a sock shop up the street."

We brought Julie in, talked socks, talked yogurt, then she got into the booth and was perfect. Julie's French accent, along with the subtitles, made us feel like we could deliver these very simple and straightforward messages around Yoplait having 25 percent less sugar in a pretty unique way that was true to the brand's history.

How did you find the on-screen talent?
We went down to L.A. and saw a lot of casting with our director Autumn de Wilde. Phoebe Neidhardt was probably the second-to-last person to come in at the very last hour of casting before we had to rush back to Portland.

She was perfect. Completely charming and funny and likeable and had a seemingly endless inventory of energy. Phoebe's an actress, but she also writes and does comedy, so she had a really good grasp of what we were trying to do on the shoot. It's probably the single best shoot I've ever been on.

The spots have a quirky, retro feel to them. How did you land on that direction?
We actually never set out to make anything intentionally quirky or retro. We just wanted the spots to look great and not take themselves too seriously. There's a lot of what I would call "worthy" advertising out there right now, and I think messaging around something as significant as "25 percent less sugar" could have gone that way, but we didn't want it to.

Eating Yoplait is a fun and enjoyable experience, and we just wanted to make spots that elicited those same feelings.

My partner Eric Baldwin and I really liked the tonality of the work the director, Autumn de Wilde, had done for artists like Beck and the Decemberists. There's this eclectic mix of fashion, beauty and humor she brings to the work, and we wanted to see what that might look like for Yoplait.

Client: Yoplait

Agency: Wieden + Kennedy, Portland, Ore.
Creative Directors: Eric Baldwin, Karl Lieberman
Producer: Molly Tait
Strategic Planning: Angela Jones
Media, Communications Planning, TV: Zenith Optimedia
Digital: John Rowan, Jaclyn VanSloten
Account Team: Ken Smith, Kelly Quinn
Business Affairs: Laura Caldwell
Executive Creative Directors: Mark Fitzloff, Joe Staples

Production Company: Anonymous
Director: Autumn de Wilde
Executive Producer: Eric Stern
Line Producer: Paul Ure
Director of Photography: Chris Soos

Editing Company: Joint Editorial
Editor: Steve Sprinkle
Post Producer: Mike Early
Executive Post Producer: Leslie Carthy

Visual Effects Company: The Mill
Visual Effects Supervisor: Kathy Siegel
Flame Artist: Nick Taylor
Visual Effects Producer: Kait Boehm
Color: Adam Scott

Music Supervision: Jon Huck
Artist: Dawn Landes
Tracks: Strawberry, "Picture Show"; Blueberry, "La Vie au Lasso"
Sound Designer: Joint Editorial, Autumn de Wilde

Mix Company: Joint Editorial
Mixer: Noah Woodburn
Producer: Michael Early

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