LIVING OBJECTS

TitleLIVING OBJECTS
BrandMUSÉE DE LA GRANDE GUERRE
Category E04. Outdoor
Product/ServiceMUSÉE DE LA GRANDE GUERRE
Entrant DDB PARIS, FRANCE
Idea Creation DDB PARIS, FRANCE
Production STUDIO 5 Paris, FRANCE
Credits
Name Company Position
Alexander Kalchev DDB Paris Executive Creative Director
Jean-François Bouchet DDB Paris Senior Copywriter
Emmanuel Courteau DDB Paris Senior Art Director
Paul Ducré DDB Paris Managing Director
Alexandra Lair DDB Paris Account Executive
Marc Da Cunha Lopes - Photographer & Director
Cédric Boit Studio 5 Sound Production
Clément Reynaud Studio 5 Sound Production
Marine Cremer Studio 5 Sound Production
Angélique Laffond Studio 5 Sound Producer
Alexandre Vicart Studio 5 Sound Engineer
Raphaëlle Thibaut - Composer
Aurélie Perreten Musée de la Grande Guerre Director of museum
Elena Le Gall Musée de la Grande Guerre Director of museum

Cultural / Context information for the jury

3 things to know: Studies have proved that in History, nothing is more powerful than a direct testimony, but the last WW1 veteran passed away in 2012. So there were no more witnesses of this tragic era. For 70 years (3 generations), French people have only known peace on the national territory, so today, it is hard for them to understand what war can be. It is hard for them to realize what their own great grandparents endured a century ago. The "Living Objects" campaign was created in that specific context. More over, Paris' Eastern railway station, where we displayed Louise & Auguste's bed, was not any station: in 1914, it was the one where so many French men took the train to the front. And also the one, nowadays, that serves the museum's city in 20 minutes.

Translation. Provide a full English translation of any text.

Louise & Auguste's bed “Big. Seems like people have always seen me that way. From the moment I was brought into this world, by a cabinet maker with hands as knotty as an old tree trunk, I was big. Like the 100-year old oak I was made from. Big. For Auguste and Louise, who had just got married at the chapel. To welcome those two bodies as young as they were impatient. Big. To contain their boundless love. A love that would lead to a series of cradles, then other wedding beds. Big? Yes, I was big. But it seems the heavens had other plans. And no prayers could stop the train that carried Auguste away, like millions of other men torn from their lives on both sides of the Rhine. In spite of the prayers, from the rearguard to the front lines, for four years, the heavens turned a deaf ear. While I stayed with Louise, alone, in the stillness of the endless nights. Soaking up her silent tears. Comforting her as best I could. From dusk to dawn. Counting the minutes, the hours without him. Wondering, with her, what he might be doing at that very moment. If he, too, was spending sleepless nights. If he was still breathing. For four long years, the same questions. Over and over again. And every night got harder and harder. In spite of my gentle embrace, I knew the horror - the stress I caused her. In spite of the warm welcome I gave her at the end of a long day, I was of no comfort to her. Because, without even opening her eyes, she only had to reach out in the darkness to feel the emptiness beside her. Night after night, the only thing touching her skin was the cold, damp sheets. Big? Yes, I was always big. But I guess I never realised just how big. Until I saw the shell-shocked look on Louise’s face when the telegram came. Until I saw her lying there alone that night, pale and beautiful like a cadaver. The way she would every night for the rest of her life. It took seeing her, forever small in the middle of the mattress, for me to understand just how big I was. Desperately big.”

Tell the jury about the copywriting.

French poet Alphonse de Lamartine once asked: "Inanimous objects, do you have a soul?". If they don't, at least, they have a story. What if they could speak and tell it? That said, when you personify objects, beware of some pitfalls: it can easily be ridiculous (and we wanted people to realize how harsh life became in 1914, not to make fun of it). And - because sound was the only personifying element - we had to make clear for the audience that the narrator was the object itself. More over, each story had to be universal enough to create empathy. That is why each copy, in the “Living Objects" campaign, was structured by a clear idea. In Louise & Auguste's bed, it was about size: the bed was big for a reason (it was a wedding bed), but sadly, war finally made it "too big".