Words by Erin Baker, Editorial Director at Auto-Trader
Renault has made an advert for its new Clio featuring a lesbian couple with a baby. In most other industries this wouldn’t be news, but in the car industry, still dominated by middle-aged, middle-class white heterosexual men, it is truly ground-breaking, and paves the way for some serious marketing disruption, should other manufacturers be bold enough to follow suit.
In terms of challenging taboos in some of the last male bastions, the Clio ad is right up there with Rugby Union’s Gareth Thomas coming out in 2009.
The ad, which you can watch on YouTube, celebrates 30 years of the Clio. It features two schoolgirls who meet on French exchange, back in the days when the first Clio came out (1991). They become best mates, and see each other throughout the years, sharing their first kiss on the next-generation Clio. The years pass, and one of them marries a guy, but they both seem miserable with the decision. They end up together, and we see them in the new Clio arriving at one of their parents’ houses with a baby in the back.
Renault previously made TV history with the original Clio TV ads in the Nineties which featured a pretty French teenager called Nicole and her grumpy French dad, Papa. The ads, which ran for seven years, showed a traditional side of young, French femininity: Nicole grew up into a woman who continued to skip about in floaty floral dresses looking every inch the French, chic icon, and most definitely heterosexual.
The latest ad shows the girls kissing, wet and bedraggled after a sea swim, and no less sexy or feminine. It has been well received by Pink News and the gay Twitterati, and HuffPost Uk said “don’t call it rainbow capitalism; the new Renault ad is the queer story we love”.
A cool 23 million viewers watched the last episode when Nicole got married. Let’s hope Renault gets similar recognition with their new ad.