The Evian babies return today with a new ad set in a surfer’s paradise in South Africa. Sweet and funny, the ad is likely to be another massive hit for the brand.
We talk to Agnès Cavard and Valérie Chidlovsky, the creatives who have worked on Evian babies ads stretching back to the late 90s (including Water Babies, Roller Babies, and Baby & Me), about how this one was made, what were the biggest challenges, and how they keep coming up with hit after hit for the brand (spoiler: they make it seem kind of easy).
But first, let’s watch the new one:
Creative Review: What was the inspiration behind this new ad?
Agnès Cavard and Valérie Chidlovsky: We wanted to try something with a more psychological approach. If you’re to be really precise, the Evian babies aren’t real babies but adults in a baby version. They symbolise our inner youth; it’s not you as a baby, it’s you today, with your own style and personality – but in a baby-fied version. So, this time we wanted to see what happens when you replace adults with their baby versions in real life, albeit a cool and less stressful everyday grind…
CR: How was it made? How difficult is it working with the babies and toddlers?
AC & VC: First of all, we never work with toddlers for Evian. They’re too old! They are too aware of themselves and they act already. With the Evian ads we look for that really innocent and unaware personality of really small babies. Ideally, the Evian babies are about six months old.
The Baby Bay film was produced by Wanda Paris studios, in collaboration with Mikros Images for post-production and special effects. Most scenes were filmed on the beach, with babies. Of course, some scenes were also shot in the studio in order to meet post-production needs. Filming lasted for a week and the overall production time was around four months.
When you’re filming with babies, it’s impossible to get a perfect shot of several babies all doing something at once. So what you have to do is a sort of ‘multi-layer’ shoot: each take focuses on a particular baby, then the post-production team will collate these various shots to make it seem as if they were all filmed simultaneously.
On top of that, we were filming babies aged 6-9 months doing things they can’t physically do. They couldn’t even walk! That’s why our technique was to film the babies and get the perfect facial expressions for the video, then rework the body movement using 3D technology.
The casting and the shoot were supervised by a South African agency who specialise in filming with infants. In the casting process they provided advice about the babies’ ‘acting’ ability and how shy or expressive they were in front of the camera. During filming, the same team had a plethora of tricks and techniques to get the babies’ attention, generate facial expressions and find the right body position.
In addition, this team was also responsible for ensuring the babies were properly looked after with a dressing room on set, keeping them under a parasol between takes, hydration, feeding – and regular nap times, of course! It’s always funny to see a team of 80 technicians patiently waiting for a baby to wake up from a nap…
CR: What were the biggest challenges in making the spot?
AC & VC: To make the babies act as if they were adults. To get the right gestures, the right expressions, the right glance. The babies were not ‘added’ in post production, they were filmed directly on the beach.
CR: With such a successful, and long running, campaign, do you feel extra pressure to come up with something new and special each time?
AC & VC: It’s not really a pressure to find something new. It’s funny. If we hadn’t made the previous campaigns, perhaps we could feel more anxious.
CR: Which is your favourite Evian campaign?
AC & VC: Our favourite campaign is always the latest one. Okay, it would be fair to say we love all our babies the same way, but well… the youngest is the cutest!
Agency: BETC Paris
Creative director: Rémi Babinet
Creatives: Agnès Cavard, Valérie Chidlovsky, Félix Falzon
Production company: Wanda Paris
Director: James Rouse
Visual effects: Mikros Images
Music: BETC Pop