Renault axes Thierry Henry for new Clio TV campaign

Arsenal footballer Thierry Henry has been ditched as the face of the Renault Clio ads, after a three-year hunt for the meaning of “Va Va Voom”.

The latest campaign for the Clio, which breaks tomorrow (Thursday), will feature new characters Sophie and Ben, and introduces the idea of “Twice the Va Va Voom”.

The campaign will promote the launch of the Clio Mark 3. UK marketing director Olivier Généreux says: “It is always difficult to take the decision to end a campaign the public like, but each new version of the Clio has been marked with a new campaign and we didn’t want to break from that precedent. We hope the public will take to Sophie and Ben as much as they did our previous characters.”

French father and daughter Nicole and “Papa” launched the first Clio in 1991 and featured in eight ads over a period of seven years. Nicole’s wedding attracted 23 million viewers in 1998.

French actress H̩l̬ne Mahieu replaced the pair and introduced the Va Va Voom theme, but it was Henry who made the phrase famous Рto the extent that it was included in the Oxford English Dictionary this year.

In the new ad, created by Publicis, Englishman Ben and Sophie, who is French, tease each other about the best things about their respective countries.

In the final scene, Sophie declares from the front seat of her new Clio: “French car”; to which Ben replies: “British designers”.

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