Even though Sun King Louis XIV was very unpopular at the time of his reign, he is highly appreciated by French people at the time we speak. They respect his legacy so much that they even created a TV series to honor his image: called “Versailles,” the show puts the spotlight on the King who is embroiled in dangerous intrigues.

Indeed, the TV series is a nice ode to what the King was, but do you know what’s even nicer? Canal+ and BETC Paris‘s ‘poem’ to this historical figure. It got a team of experts and historians more than three centuries to be able to resurrect the famous man. And they were successful in their plan: believe it or not, but France’s most known king, Louis XIV, is brought back to life via his manly voice.

During this week’s #ThrowBrandThursday column you’ll get to actually hear the Sun King’s voice. Why, might you ask? Well, Canal+ just thought that this is a great way to promote the TV series. And judging by the results the campaign had — over 15 million French people heard the voice of their greatest king for the first time and more than 2000 people were able to address him directly by asking him a question on Twitter — we can all agree that the initiative had tremendous success.

You’d think that bringing the voice of a historical figure to life an impossible task. It’s hard, we don’t disagree. But this isn’t the first time when experts succeeded. Remember the voice of Rembrandt? You don’t? Then let us enlighten you. At the beginning of this year, JWT Amsterdam and ING brought the painter’s voice to life, for which a group of experts from the Pittsburgh’s Carnegie Mellon University tracked down the Dutch artist’s painting techniques, personality, language, and lastly, voice. Their discoveries all came together in an audio adventure titled “The Rembrandt Tutorials.”

To contour the king’s voice, the experts used a similar formula. First, BETC conducted a major survey. Then, based on the medical history of the king — such as his skull, lungs, and vocal cord structure — researchers managed to reconstruct his voice, using simulation software. A team of scientists, a company called Voxygen, and Google AI were there to design the cherry on the top which is the Sun King’s voice. Journalists were then able to interview the king by speaking directly to him.

“For the launch of the third season of the Canal+ series Versailles we recreated the voice of King Louis XIV (dead for 300 years) so that he could give his opinion on the series inspired by him, and talk with journalists and fans of the series. The voice of Louis XIV could be heard on different television sets and influencers were able to interview him. Fans of the series could also ask the king questions on Twitter,” said the agency.

Besides talking to journalists, the king was present on social media too, answering directly to people on Twitter through a specific hashtag: #audiencewiththeking. Using his cool spirit, the king answered in an amusing way to internet users. But was he funnier than the Young Pope who successfully trolled people on social media?


Client: Canal+

Agency: BETC Paris