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BRAND X: Get a Clue

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Brand: French Connection UK
Agency: TBWA\Worldwide
Creative Director: Trevor Beattie

French Connection UK has learned at least one trick from Monty Python: You can get a lot of attention by making no sense at all -- at least at first. In its new series of print and outdoor ads, the British label pairs photographs of sexy young things with remixed headlines like "sit and snog the on sofa Come and me." Your job, dear consumer, is to do a double take, then sort it all out (it helps that the C in Come is capitalized). It's a tactic that has become the house specialty at the 28-year-old label, which gained notoriety last fall when ads featuring its outrage-provoking initials were banned from taxi tops. The new campaign takes FCUK's mischief-making fetish further yet, even adding a bit of episodic intrigue: One ad with the headline "now but your here. Don't boyfriend's look" shows a guilty-looking guy paired with an oblivious, smiling girl. Of course, one of French Connection's competitors, Armani Exchange, is treading similar turf: Its ads, pairing shots of plaintive nymphets with headlines like "I want you" and "I need you," are also all about not-so-sublimated desire. But FCUK, one-upping A|X, wears its origins on its sleeves by conjuring a semiotician's idea of sexy: wordplay as foreplay. How terribly British!


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