Papa and Nicole

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Papa and Nicole
Overview
Production 1991–1998

"Papa" and "Nicole" were fictional characters created to advertise the Renault Clio in the United Kingdom between 1991 and 1998. The "Papa!" "Nicole" and "Nicole!" "Papa" verbal exchanges between Nicole and her father during the advertisements were adapted from an original exchange between Nicole Bonnet (played by Audrey Hepburn) and her father (played by Hugh Griffith) in the film How to Steal a Million from 1966.

Surveys by Channel 4 and ITV revealed the series as the most popular car advertisements ever aired in Britain. In 1996, one survey found that Nicole was recognised by more Britons than the Prime Minister John Major, Bob Hoskins or Chris Evans.[1] Renault was found to be the most persuasive advertiser in five European countries in 1994. The advert was designed by the Publicis agency.

Cast[edit]

Skornik had not passed her driving test when the first Clio advertisements were made. Professional driver Penny Mallory[2] drove in place of both Nicole and Papa.

Episodes[edit]

  1. Très intéressant (Interesting), 1991
  2. Le rendez-vous (The Meeting), 1992
  3. Le ski (Skiing), 1993
  4. Transformation (Transformation), 1994
  5. Maman (Mum), 1995
  6. Le changement (Moved On), 1996
  7. Vies parallèles (Parallel Lives), 1997
  8. Le mariage (The Wedding), 1998

Finalé[edit]

An all new second generation Renault Clio was launched in 1998, and with it came the finalé of Nicole's Provençale story.

Much publicity and speculation surrounded the question of whom Nicole would marry. Socialite and It girl Tara Palmer-Tomkinson noted, "I can't understand what she is doing getting married. I mean, she is giving up everything. She is one of the most beautiful, stunning, eligible girls around. She must be off her rocker. I mean, she had everything going for her, driving around the country in her Renault Clio, all at Daddy's, or rather Papa's, expense. I should be so lucky."[1]

The finalé was itself a spoof of the film The Graduate. Wearing a dress by Deborah Milner and a hairstyle by Nicky Clarke, with her ring designed by Stephen Webster, Nicole was led down the aisle to the as yet unseen groom. Played during the advertising break for Coronation Street on 29 May 1998, an estimated 23 million viewers watched Nicole leave Vic Reeves at the altar, and start a new life with Bob Mortimer in his new Renault Clio.

Soundtrack[edit]

All but one of the advertisements used Renault's 1980s to 1990s signature tune, Robert Palmer's Johnny And Mary. Each used a variation of the song, including Martin Taylor's acoustic interpretation, an alternative version of which he released on his album Spirit of Django and Renault's promotional compilation, Miles More Music.[3][4] The advert to not use Johnny And Mary was Le Changement (Moved On) from 1996, where Soul II Soul song Keep On Movin' was used.

In popular culture[edit]

  • The £350 dress worn in the first advertisement inspired a £37.99 copy at Selfridges.[5]
  • The comedy duo Alas Smith and Jones parodied the advertisements in a sketch showing "Papa" kerb crawling looking for a prostitute, and accidentally attempting to hire the services of a girl who turns out to be "Nicole". The sketch was written by Martin Curtis. (Brown)
  • A mid 1990s British Rail advertisement for Intercity trains used lookalikes of Nicole and Papa in a humorous pastiche. "Papa's" train traveling companion wonders who the young lady is and remarks, "I thought you weren't married."
  • In pre publicity for Series 8 of the BBC One science fiction series Doctor Who, Peter Capaldi, newly cast as the latest incarnation of The Doctor, and at 56 the oldest incumbent to the role, indicated that there were no plans for his version of the Doctor to flirt with the Doctor's 27-year-old companion Clara Oswald, unlike what had occurred during the tenure of the previous Doctor actor, Matt Smith. In explaining the rationale in interviews and press conferences, Capaldi said he wished to avoid any "Papa and Nicole moments".[6]

Sources[edit]

  1. ^ a b Fog, Klaus; Christian Budtz; Baris Yakaboylu (2005). "ch7". Storytelling: Branding In Practice. Springer. p. 156. ISBN 3-540-23501-9. Retrieved 2007-12-20. 
  2. ^ http://www.pennymallory.co.uk/tv-presenter
  3. ^ [1] Miles More Music track listing
  4. ^ [2] Spirit of Django at Allmusic
  5. ^ [3] Google Books - Persuasion in Advertising
  6. ^ "Peter Capaldi promises 'no flirting' with sidekick Clara in new Doctor Who series". Independent. 28 July 2014. Retrieved 1 September 2014.