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Dave Dibble, CEO Blanco Digital & AdFeeder

Having set up his own agency in 1992, Dave has been involved in digital marketing for over 25 years. In addition to his role as Managing Director, Dave is also the architect responsible for Blanco’s innovative automation platform, AdFeeder, and is widely regarded as an authority on Paid Search and PPC in particular. 


If you say the Name “Nicole” in a french accent to anyone over the age of 30 the chances are they’ll respond with a simple “Papa”.

Such was the power of the “verbally viral” Renault Clio ad of the early 90’s. 

It might not have a six figure price tag, nor a head-spinning lap record around the Nurburgring, but this plucky little hatchback was the car during the 90’s in the UK and throughout Europe. The Renault Clio might not be the best car ever made, but AdFeeder’s CEO Dave Dibble thinks its advertising campaigns were up there with the very best.

The basic storyline was “inspired” the film “How to steal a million” with Audrey Hepburn and Huw Griffith (who might we add is Welsh, just like AdFeeder!).

Created by the French agency Publicis, the success of the advert seems to show no bounds. An estimated 23 million viewers watched Nicole leave none other than Vic Reeves at the altar and start a new life with Bob Mortimer in his shiny new Renault Clio – twit twoo!

However, the original plan was to allow one of the new eager A-list celebrities be the lover who sweeps Nicole away at the alter. Huge, and we mean huge names during the 90’s were desperate to get some screen time, such as Hugh Grant and Eric Cantona!

“You might have expected people to have been tired of them by this time, but they have become part of the popular culture.”

Douglas Thursby-Pelham, Renault Board director at Publicis, 1997

The advert also generated a whole bunch of spoofs including one from Hale and Pace and from Mel Smith & Griff Rhys-Jones!

What made this ad so iconic and so memorable for me was that it was a classic example of viral marketing long before Facebook, twitter and TikTok were ever thought of. At the time you could barely go a day without hearing someone doing a pretty awful “Nicole.. Papa” impression. What’s more it’s still relevant today.  Fans of Derry Girls may have spotted the  reference to meeting Nicole in Paris and the ensuing line “Nicole isn’t real and neither is Papa” .

One last thing…  find someone over 35, walk up to them and say “Nicole” in a thick French accent and I bet you’ll get the “Papa” response!

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