Young Parisian agency on entertainment brands and digital activity
Biborg. Somewhere between bebop and cyborg. It’s a neologism that conjures a Dizzy Gillespie-loving Terminator who’s swapped his clothes, boots and motorcycle for a black polo neck and beret. We’re not anticipating some sort of ultra-hip Skynet invasion, though. Well, not yet. LBB have been talking to Bruno Luriot, the 31-year old co-founder and business director of the Parisian digital agency, with a jazz-robot name and vaguely Optimus Prime-y logo.
Luriot formed Biborg in 2009 with François Girardot who he met while working at Supergazol. The pair found that they shared a common vision of advertising and an enthusiasm for all things interactive. “Establishing a company from scratch was a great challenge and we both wanted to get involved in this human adventure,” he explains. “We were among the first French agencies to be 100 per cent dedicated to creating rich media and interactive online campaigns because we thought - and still think - that the future of advertising is definitely interactive.”
Since then, the agency has grown from two to 15, picking up a pair of new partners in the shape of Hedy Magroun (who heads up the creative and production team with Girardot) and Ismaël El-Hakim (who handles the business development and project management with Luriot). However the expanding team has also meant three new offices in as many years – an impressive acceleration no doubt facilitated by steady relationships with clients like Sony, Ubisoft, Disney and Warner Brothers.
After move number three, Biborg has ended up in a cavernous warehouse-like building in the creative 10th arrondissement of the French capital. The team work together on the ground floor – as Luriot puts it “to gather people’s dynamism” – and there’s a game-packed playground on the first floor.
Given Biborg’s enthusiasm for rich media and interactive, they’ve, unsurprisingly, been hugely passionate about HTML5 – in fact, Luriot credits it as the technological development that has most influenced the agency’s work. “We started using this technology to create rich media banners thanks to the Google HTML5 Challenge
in early 2011 and it has opened a new creative window for us. Since this project, we've never stopped improving our skills in this domain and we are always seeking new ideas to create innovative user experiences on mobile. This proactive attitude has allowed us to launch great campaigns using motion sensor, the compass or geo-localisation for brands such as Assassin's Creed III (Ubisoft), Batman - The Dark Knight Rises (Warner Bros) and Book Of Spells (Sony Computer Entertainment).”
Biborg’s work on the pan-European launch of Assassin’s Creed III last summer might be their highest-profile campaign to-date – and its notable that most of their clients hail from the entertainment sector. Having proved themselves with their work on video game titles and movie properties like Batman, brands which naturally mesh with Biborg’s playful and tech-driven approach, they’re now seeing interest spread to less obvious partners, such as VW and the Edmond de Rothschild bank.
“We work well with entertainment brands such as Disney, Ubisoft or Sony Computer Entertainment because they are our historical clients and we have naturally developed a long-term relationship with them over the years. We have a good knowledge of their products and marketing challenges as we've designed many campaigns in this field. Moreover these brands are very active on digital advertising and always look for impactful and innovative concepts to catch the user's attention and create an entertaining experience. So we share the same philosophy!” explains Luriot. “But we are not just focused on entertainment - I think creating entertaining and interactive advertising experiences isn’t something that is only suitable for videogames or movies. Many interactive concepts we've designed with videogame brands have been adopted by more 'serious' brands. That's the reason why we are always looking forward to working in various fields such as automotive, luxury or food...”
As Biborg seek to grow their roster of clients beyond the entertainment sphere, one wonders if the game consoles, dart board, turntables and table tennis table of the top floor of their Canal St. Martin home might end up moving to make space for more desks and bodies. For now, however, the partners are keen to preserve the personable, relaxed atmosphere of the agency and the partners to maintain a hands-on approach to their projects. Looking forward to 2013, Biborg are keen to get stuck into the mobile arena and to use their rich media expertise to take advantage of the ever-growing pool of smartphone and tablet users. But the key challenge they face is to manage their growth in a way that doesn’t compromise their ‘digital craftsman’ philosophy.
“Although the agency and the team are expanding we want to keep the 'family atmosphere' of the beginning and our founding philosophy: creativity is everything, but it’s nothing without production excellence and a solid project management,” muses Luriot. “We define ourselves as craftsmen and that is the reason why partners work personally on conceiving, producing and managing the project.”
In other words, Biborg, the finger-snapping robot needs to stay cool.