There is a highly impressive advert on TV at the moment for Oxford exercise books. It’s an expensively produced commercial that utilises the latest technology to combine computer generated images with a montage of exciting scenes – as imagined by the young girl featured in the ad. There are explosions, monsters, collapsing buildings and all that kind of caper.
At first viewing you think ‘nice ad’. Then it hits you, how on earth can a manufacturer of note books afford to show possibly one of the most lavishly produced commercials of the year across hundreds of prime time TV slots across the networks? Answer: La rentrée.
The week leading up to the first day back at school is know across France as ‘La rentrée’; literally ‘the re-entry’. It is at this time of year that parents in a near state of panic drag their protesting offspring to the nearest stationers or supermarket to tick off everything on the school shopping list – as provided by the school.
While in the UK it is school uniform that we are blackmailed into buying, in France it is stationery, and with 12 million students returning to school this week, you can see Oxford’s motivation to get their name out there with a hip and sexy commercial, even if their product is duller than party political conference.