April 11, 2012 15 Comments
Typically, French companies are not the first to jump onto a new social media trend or craze. Not that any of these more traditional, historic brands is averse to social media, but they’re definitely not your average early adopters. And with President Sarkozy not setting the best social media example, we were pleasantly surprised to find a few French brands on up-and-coming social marketing platform, Pinterest. Here’s a look at a few we discovered…and a few who are, well, missing in action.
French cooking and recipes platform, Marmiton.org, is behind one of my all-time favorite Pinterest accounts. The platform owned by Aufeminin.com (yet to have an account) displays tons of images of delicious treats from around the world, with a majority of the photos linking to the actual recipe on their website. It’s a fantastically visual way to get users excited about their content and expand their reach.
With 182 actual followers, my main criticism for Marmiton at this stage is that there is no way of knowing that they are on Pinterest from their homepage. Wouldn’t it be good to include that somewhere?
I’ve always been very pleasantly surprised by film platform Allociné. Their social/innovation efforts have really been a terrific example for numerous French companies to follow. Still, there Pinterest account isn’t as developed as I would have expected. Clearly lots of effort has gone into the boards for cult films like Star Wars and Lord of the Rings but not as much attention is given to indie or even French films. And the “actors” board is completely empty – despite The Artist’s recent Oscar win. Plus, the fact that there is a board dedicated to attractive men (titled “Ils vous font vibrer”) and not the female equivalent makes me wonder if this board is not run by a lovely lady. But all criticisms aside, it’s a great start and has already accumulated a small following.
FNAC, the French equivalent to book and music retailer Borders, has gotten off to a terrific start on Pinterest as well. With fewer boards and pins than both Allociné and Marmiton, FNAC does currently have 2 separate accounts for France and Spain. Just as with Marmiton, all the images link back to the products on their website. However, I have to say that some of the products could be more creatively displayed to attract more social interaction. Take for example the Volume 1 DVD of cult TV series Bref. While the logo is definitely widely-recognized throughout France, Pinterest content that would be more likely to be liked and reposed than the simple DVD case might include actual photos and quotes from the show itself, no?
Like FNAC, Evian currently has 2 accounts on Pinterest – one for the Netherlands and another in English, which I am guessing is not run out of France. Interestingly enough, Evian’s Pinterest seems to have a less commercial focus (no links back to the company website) and is much more about communicating brand and lifestyle messages, as redistributing content created by their community. Check out this incredible work of art. Still, I would encourage Evian to link to the products that are sold on their site and to also include their skincare products that are probably less well-known.
I’ll be totally honest and say that I never expected to find Cirtoen with such a developed Pinterest account – especially since Renault seems to be straggling along with only 1 account for Renault Switzerland and a whopping 0 pins. But funny enough, Citroen’s 17 boards dedicated to various models pull content from Citroen’s different international websites and other content sources, like Flickr. But if there is one thing I have to criticize Citroen for, it’s the large amounts of commercial text they are publishing with each pin. And the worst part is, it’s the exact same text for multiple images (see here for an example)…yikes. What about something a little more subtle that feels less like an advertisement?
If there is one sector that has been really slow to get onto Pinterest, it’s French fashion brands. But it’s not just names like Louis Vuitton that are MIA – it’s also more innovative online companies like Vente-privée. So even if Lacoste isn’t yet rivaling UK designer brand Burberry in terms of its social media presence, I was nonetheless pleased to find that it did have an active Pinterest account. The company appears to be taking somewhat of a similar approach to Citroen, however, placing repetitive text underneath its images. Still, I think in particular the company’s fashion show boards could be a huge hit.
Again, as Chanel and a number of other high-end designer brands were MIA, I was pleasantly surprised to see Dior. And clearly, they’ve capitalized on fashion shows…
Just as with fashion, I was a little disappointed with the beauty brands as well. Even Sephora – who is traditionally the example to turn to in the beauty space when it comes to its online presence – still hasn’t officially launched on Pinterest. That said, French brand L’Occitane has a very impressive Pinterest account being run out of NYC. The account takes a lifestyle approach, like Evian’s account, but has also done a great job repining content from Pinterest and linking it to their online store. See here for an example.
9. L’Oréal Paris.
Another example from the beauty and cosmetics space is L’Oréal Paris. There is another L’Oréal Paris account with only 1 board, making it a little difficult to tell which is the official account until you discover that it is actually the Australian account. The company will clearly have to do a better job of separating their international accounts for users and followers. The French account does have one very nice board for the brands ambassadors, all beautiful black and white photos that link back to the company website.
While some are clearly ahead of others, it’s nice to see French companies jumping on board and not shying away from the occasion to be an early adopter.
Did I forget anyone?
There are definitely more French brands than just these 10 on Pinterest. In fact, La Redoute also recently got a lot of attention for their creative use of leveraging Pinterest to see their most popular products. If you are a French brand with a Pinterest account we should be looking at, feel free to let us know!