Yoplait flower inspires 50-year celebration in Paris
To mark the 50th anniversary of Yoplait, the General Mills team in France just held a four-day extravaganza in Paris.
A series of events featured the work of world-renowned installation artist Gad Weil. He transformed the foot of the Eiffel Tower into a garden complete with a half million flowers and eight interactive sculptures. More than 500,000 people visited the site before things wrapped up on Sunday.
Known as “Petite Fleur Folies” (The Little Flower Folies), Weil’s creation was inspired by Yoplait, which is known in France as “la petite fleur” (the little flower). Weil described the work as “an invitation to garden, an invitation to play, an invitation to believe in our common future.”
“Gad Weil designed an event that fit perfectly with the values held by Yoplait: pleasure, naturalness, authenticity and family,” says Olivier Faujour, president of Yoplait International. “It was the best way for us to celebrate our 50 years.”
Enlisting such a well-known artist for such a large project on such an iconic public space is a sign of the reverence the French have for Yoplait, which was born in Paris on Sept. 25, 1965.
Weil created a temporary garden spread over 4,000 square meters (nearly an acre) along the River Seine, covering both sides of the Pont d’Iéna – the bridge that links the Eiffel Tower to Paris’ Trocadero district.
Walking through the garden filled with 100 species of flowers from daisies and lavender to poppies, there were eight metallic and mechanical game-sculptures of giant flowers, cows and insects known as “créatiles.”
The public was encouraged to play with these origami-inspired sculptures and see them come alive. Sculptures include “Marguerite, the Standing Cow” and “Flower the World.”
In creating the eight sculptures, Weil says, “I had in mind the themes that I found in Yoplait values – generosity, openness to the world, naturalness, relationships with others and the preservation of biodiversity.”
Petite Fleur Folies included educational and recreational activities for children and families in the garden, and music performances by six international marching bands from France, Spain and the UK.
The sculptures will be moved, serving as public art in French communities where Yoplait has a presence, including Vienne, Le Mans, Boulogne-Billancourt, Moneteau and Auxerre.
Yoplait began with the merger of six French dairy cooperatives more than 50 years ago and has grown into a global brand, in 53 countries. The name Yoplait comes from the contraction of the names of two of the most recognizable member co-ops – Yola and Coplait.
The brand continues to grow. Earlier this month, Yoplait launched in China.
Yoplait’s core markets are in France and the UK. But it also has strong market positions in Australia, Canada, Mexico and the U.S., where General Mills began licensing the brand in 1977. We assumed a controlling interest in Yoplait in 2011.
Yoplait’s French heritage is often celebrated in advertising. The newest U.S. Yoplait ads pay tribute to French culture – as does the marketing in China, where the Eiffel Tower and Arc de Triomphe in Paris are featured.
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