Thierry Henry is go-go-gone from new Renault Clio campaign
LONDON - Renault UK has dropped French footballer Thierry Henry from its advertising and replaced him with a couple called Ben and Sophie, who will deliver 'twice the va-va-voom'.
Renault's advertising is handled by Publicis, which introduced the question about the meaning of the phrase "va va voom" back in 2001.
In the new television campaign, Frenchwoman Sophie and Englishman Ben tease each other about their countries. It finishes with Sophie sitting in the Clio saying: "French car." Ben answers: "British designers".
The ad promotes the new Mark 3 model and goes out on Thursday evening for the first time on ITV and Channel 4. It is being trailed by a radio campaign along the same lines, telling people to tune in at 8.08pm.
The first ad to feature Henry was a long-running spot in which he asked "what is the French for va va voom?" In subsequent ads, Henry has appeared alongside the Muppet drummer Animal and been filmed in Las Vegas, and the va va voom slogan was entered into the Oxford English Dictionary in 2004.
Before Henry started promoting the car, Renault Clio was backed by a long-running campaign featuring Nicole and Papa. The 1998 finale, which also starred the comedians Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer, drew an audience of 23m. After Papa and Nicole, Clio used a model and the "size matters" strapline.
Losing his role as the face of Renault is unlikely to see Henry struggling to pay his bills, with reports that Premiership club Arsenal has offered him a deal worth £100,000 a week to stay with the club -- even though he is presently sidelined with a groin injury. If he accepts, he will become the highest paid player in Arsenal's history.
Renault said that each new model Clio had been marked with a new campaign.
"We hope the public will take to Sophie and Ben as much as they did our previous characters," said marketing director Olivier Genereux.
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