Ryanair ad featuring Nicolas Sarkozy and Carla Bruni provokes turbulence from the President of FranceJanuary 28, 2008 // 0 Comments
In Paris on January 28, President Nicolas Sarkozy’s spokesman on Monday complained that an ad campaign for budget airline Ryanair was “unacceptable.” The offending advertisement, appearing in the popular daily Le Parisien, features a photo of the President of France and his latest girlfriend Carla Bruni. In the photo, the lovebirds smile happily.
This in itself would not seem to be a problem—after all, Sarkozy’s busy love life is anything but a secret in France. The problem seems to be a cartoon “thought balloon” floating above Bruni’s head that reads: “With Ryanair’s low fares, my whole family can come to the wedding.”
Sarkozy and Bruni’s relationship has been the target of speculation for months, with some sources in France saying they were already secretly married.
Sarkozy admitted at a news conference earlier this month that his relationship with Carla Bruni was “serious” and hinted at wedding plans. Sarkozy met the 40-year-old model and singer in November. The couple have since been jet-setters, vacationing together in Egypt and Jordan. Only last October, Sarkozy became the only president of France to divorce while in office when his tumultuous 11-year marriage to his second wife Cecilia ended.
All of this is common knowledge in France. So why all the fuss? Some opine that perhaps Sarkozy’s consternation springs from the public’s reaction to the rapidity of his shifting his affections from his wife to Bruni. But then again, the French President has a reputation as a man who works fast.
Elysee spokesman David Martinon sniffed: “We are looking at all possible legal
venues because this is unacceptable.”
This is not the first time Ryanair has thumbed its nose at authority in its advertising. In December 2007, Ryanair settled out of court with former PM of Sweden Georan Persson for using his picture in an ad campaign without permission. The company appears to enjoy the extra free publicity that comes from the inevitable legal conflicts that arise from its advertising ideas.
In that case, by complaining publicly about the ad and threatening legal action, Nicolas Sarkozy may be playing right into Ryanair’s hand. There is no word as to whether the French President will demand payment from Ryanair–either for damages or for rendering publicity services to the airline.
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