LE PARISIEN, LE NOUVEL OBSERVATEUR, LE FIGARO (France)
PARIS - Parisians strolling along the chic Place de l’Alma and the Bastille are running straight into a huge new billboard (3 by 6-meter, or almost 10 by 20-feet) featuring saucy photos of four presidents of France: François Hollande, the current head of state, and predecessors Nicolas Sarkozy, Jacques Chirac and François Mitterrand. Each of their faces has a large lipstick print.
Underneath, the ad says, “What do they have in common?” and declares that the men would have been better off using Ashley Madison, a Canada-based website for discreet adulterous encounters, for their supposedly famous extramarital affairs.
The ad is “totally illegal,” says a lawyer interviewed by French weekly Le Nouvel Observateur, because in France you are not allowed to use anyone’s image without their agreement, except in the case of the public’s right to information.
The ad, according to Le Parisien daily, was turned down “everywhere.” The company did not receive the requisite permission from the city to put up the ads, either, reports Le Figaro, but Noel Biderman, the founder, simply believes the old advertising adage, “There’s no such thing as bad publicity.”
Le Parisien quoted the company’s local spokesman as saying, “I think it will just make them laugh…There’s a culture of infidelity in France.”