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Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Citroën DS4 and the ad campaign's similarities to the DSK affair

It's a tricky one surely.

What do you do when just as you're about to launch a new product after time, money and thought have been spent in preparing an attention-grabbing advertising campaign, along comes an event with the potential to scupper everything?

You go ahead regardless, hoping that it'll not have an adverse effect on image and sales.

Citroën DS4 (screenshot from television spot)

The product is a new model from the French car manufacturer Citroën.

THAT event was the arrest of the former head of the International Monetary Fund, Dominique Strauss-Kahn - or DSK as he's more commonly known in France - on charges of sexual assault.

Citroën launched the advertising campaign for its DS4 just a couple of weeks after DSK's arrest.

And it wasn't just the similarity in pronunciation (in French) of the car's name and the sobriquet of the former frontrunner for the Socialist party's primary for next year's French presidential race - DS4 DSK - that raised a few eyebrows.

The television commercial spot - complete with the slogan "Le pouvoir de dire non" ("The power to say no") had, what the weekly news magazine L'Express said were "echoes of the scandal which had made national and international headlines over the weeks preceding the official launch."

(screenshot from television spot)

From the start of the spot with that perhaps unfortunate and ill-timed tag line, the unintended allusions to the affair that everyone in France has been talking about come thick and fast.

"What do you want? Love, money, power?" runs one line of the voiceover.

"How many times have you said yes?" asks another.

"During your life you say 'Yes' all the time, but have you ever tried to say 'No'?"

The idea is of course - and one that's spelled out towards the end - is to convey that the DS4 is somehow "nonconformist" and doesn't "resemble any other vehicle".

But somehow while you're watching your mind is on something else entirely.

Citroën and its advertising agency H decided against pulling the commercial and even if, as the cultural (focussing on Rock music) weekly Les Inrockuptibles suggests, Internauts become tired of reading so much about DSK - the politician that is - at least nobody can blame Citroën for "not being talked about".

And if sales aren't that good?

Well at least Citroën can take comfort that in January the DS4 was named "The most beautiful car of the year 2010" (even though it was only launched in May 2011 - go figure) by the Festival automobile international.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Gorgeous looking car!

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