French Viral Film 'Worst Breath on Earth' Takes Web by Storm

The online ad for Tic Tac causes an online sensation thanks to live flash mob stunt.

PARIS -- A new viral film for Tic Tac is breathing life into France – and curing halitosis – with “The Worst Breath on Earth” from Ogilvy & Mather taking the web by storm. 

The ad, which runs just under two minutes, features a flash mob dropping like flies to show an unsuspecting stranger his breath is in need of a fresh mint injection à la tic tac. 

Before its official media launch on Wednesday, the live stunt leaked onto the web and garnered 200,000 views on YouTube.

“The simple truth is that it’s always difficult to tell someone they’ve got bad breath, but we knew TicTac could do it in a way no other mint could – playfully,” Ogilvy’s strategic planner Hadi Zabad explained.

Ogilvy’s team shot in Rouen, France with more than a dozen cameras, but, despite meticulous planning, they still weren’t sure it would be a hit. “Doing a live stunt is always a challenge. First, you never know how it’s going to work. Second, it’s all about preparation so it takes a lot of time to get ready. And third, you never know how great it is until you’re at the edit,” creative director Baptiste Clinet said.

Most of the people featured in the skit are real locals from Rouen, including around 60 employees from Rouen’s Ferrero chocolate factory. Ogilvy & Mather Paris’ managing director Benoit de Fleurian was at MIPTV with a branded entertainment keynote on April 2 and the Tic Tac campaign is an example of the growing power of social media and viral web marketing.

“We are living such an exciting time in advertising, when it's all about earned media, and how many people appropriate your ideas and send them on. When the idea launches, it has to break through all the clutter on YouTube, and earn it's worth,” Ogilvy & Mather Paris’ executive creative director Chris Garbutt said.  

Ogilvy will release a “making of” of the film and a case study.