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Up until My Last Breath: Intermarché’s advertisement that annoys me

Last week, a friend of mine (the excellent Hugues Rey, CEO of Havas) posted on his blog an ad for Intermarché entitled “Intermarché, Up until My Last Breath”. This ad annoyed me and made me question the authenticity of the Intermarché brand and how they communicate.

I will explain why and, of course, you have the right to disagree with me. In this case, remember to put a comment at the bottom of the article.

Intermarché, Up until My Last Breath

In this very moving clip, it is only at the very end that we discover that Intermarché initiates this communication. I remind you that Intermarché is a French retailer.
So, I watched this clip and found it very beautiful too, even if I regret the excess of pathos. And then the end screen came in, like a knife. First a message “Christmas, it’s time to say thank you” and then the Intermarché logo. So, it was an advertisement.

And then I asked myself. This advertisement sounded false, terribly false. Would the Covid crisis justify all the excessive pathos?

Recovery from the Covid crisis

While I don’t deny the intrinsic qualities of this advertisement (the beautiful, moving music, the beautiful images, the paths of 2 families that cross), I can’t help thinking that it was “made” for a specific purpose: that of associating positive emotions with the brand. So, of course, it is the aim of any ad to produce this association in the minds of consumers. And this is legitimate. But what bothers me here is the method. You recover from a crisis (the Covid crisis) to inspire a strong emotional reaction. Besides, it works because GQ magazine, in a clickbait title, says “The latest Intermarché ad makes everyone cry”.

Let’s be honest. Intermarché is not the first brand to talk about the Covid crisis in its ads and “say thank you”. The inventory of advertising creations we spoke about in our feature article on the impact of the crisis on the advertising sector had shown an abundance of similar examples. But at the time, in the middle of the first wave, when everything was closed, and we applauded the nursing staff in our windows every evening, the messages were in line with the general atmosphere. This type of advertising was the only “acceptable” one in such circumstances.

But in the case of Intermarché, we have to agree that it’s a slightly different story.

The authenticity of the brand disappears under the deceptions of communication.

Some thoughts on authenticity

What bothers me is the authenticity of Intermarché’s advertising message. If you can find it logical to “say thank you” in times of crisis and with the festive season approaching, why “make a big deal” of it and only reveal the name of the brand at the end? If we wanted to make people talk about Intermarché, we would have acted otherwise (and it works since you’re reading this post).

But make no mistake about it. An advertisement that speaks to people is also an authentic advertisement. And I think that in this case, the sobriety of the message is a fundamental virtue in order not to fall into recuperation.

Deep down, despite the pre-and post-tests, the consumer is not fooled. Allow me to be naive enough to believe this. I hope he will have the lucidity to see behind this “false advertising” the attempt to play on his feelings. I hope he will detect the lack of authenticity because that is the problem. By exploiting a crisis and emotions for communication purposes, Intermarché does not appear to me to be an authentic brand.

The “storytelling” turn that has been taken since 2017 with Katia Lewkowicz’s ad telling us about the budding love of two young people in the supermarket (above). At least the link with the supermarket was clear and the message “we are also producers” at the end in connection with Intermarché’s business. It was proof that one could be creative (Bravo Katia Lewkowicz) and play on positive emotions without losing track. The DNA of the brand was very much present.

But with its latest ad, Intermarché keeps the emotions and forgets its DNA. And that’s what bothers me because by doing so, the authenticity of the brand disappears under the deceptions of communication. 


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