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PAPA? THIERRY!; EXCLUSIVE Arsenal striker's pounds 1m deal to star in new Renault ad.

Byline: JON CLEMENTS

FOOTBALL star Thierry Henry has landed a pounds 1million payday as the new face of the Renault Clio adverts.

But Frenchman Thierry, 24, will have his work cut out to match the popularity of the much-loved Nicole and Papa - and more recently Helene Mahieu's Size Matters - campaigns.

Arsenal striker Thierry said: "I am delighted to be working with Renault.

"Especially when I realised I would be continuing one of the best-loved ad campaigns."

Thierry is also a member of the French national squad for the World Cup in Japan and Korea.

Jonathan Wignall of Renault UK said: "Thierry represents a modern man who is skilled, intelligent and stylish and is therefore a perfect fit for us."

Gerry Moira of agency Publicis, behind the new ads, said: "Thierry embodies a new dynamic, multicultural France."

Thierry was visited on set by the former stars of the ads. He said: "Estelle Skornik - Nicole - and Helene wished me luck on the film set."

The World Cup medal winner from France 1998 added: "I hope my advert is just as popular."

The phenomenally successful Nicole and Papa and Size Matters campaigns have been running since the original Clio's UK launch in 1991.

And the "Nicole? Papa!" campaign was voted the top car ad of all time by 10,000 people in a Channel 4 poll two years ago.

The last series in 1998, when Nicole had to chose between marrying comedian Vic Reeves or running off with partner in crime Bob Mortimer, was watched by 23 million viewers.

The new start on Friday during the latest Big Brother series.

The Clio has been a consistent top 10 UK best-seller every year since 1993, selling 80,000 in 2001.

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AD STARS: Thierry with Estelle Skornik (right) and Helene Mahieu
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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:May 22, 2002
Words:298
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