|The Renault Megane|
Residents of a quiet Lancashire village have reacted furiously to a Renault advertising campaign which pokes fun at their area by comparing it unfavourably to the South of France. The first in a series of adverts for the French carmaker's Megane model contrasts a sun-drenched swimming pool in Menton, Cote d'Azur, with a puddle in the village of Gisburn, Lancs. Then, a French couple are seen eating at an upmarket restaurant and are compared to an elderly English couple on a picnic bench, and a pair of designer heels are shown alongside a pair of slippers.
Renault and its advertising company said it had selected the village in the Ribble Valley, which has a population of 500, because it had a quiet social scene. The campaign slogan asks: "Can a car change a town?"
Robert Giles, a 43-year-old Gisburn resident, said the advert was "disgusting".
Olivia Lord, 26, said: "It could put people who see the advert off coming to Gisburn, which will damage trade. Renault should have considered the possible after affects on the village more carefully.
But Barry Jones, joint-landlord of the local White Bull pub, said: "It's a humorous campaign. It's a bit of mockery. It deals with the fact that nobody likes the French but by having a test-drive and deciding that despite the fact that it may be French, it is actually quite a good car."
The campaign, which consisted of newspaper adverts and a 30-second TV slot running for 10 days, follows the journey of Claude, who lives in Menton, as he drives to Gisburn, ostensibly bringing "joie de vivre" to the Lancashire village.
Now, I have to admit that I have yet to visit Gisburn but I have been to Menton many times and I’m pretty sure which town I would prefer to spend some time in. Menton is called the ‘Pearl of France’ which is quite a compliment when you consider the many beautiful towns and cities in this adopted country of mine and whilst I have yet to discover why it managed to get that nickname, there is no doubt that Menton is a lovely spot on the Med.
It’s the last town before the Italian border, sits on a double bay split by a promontory and has the attraction of a large old town on one bay, with a new, modern part on the other bay. It’s just a nice place to spend time. There’s not the hustle and bustle of Nice, nor the overbearing ‘ego’ of Cannes and you can actually park your car which is quite a consideration on the Côte d’Azur.
|Gisburn - Lancashire|
And of course, it’s only a 5 minute hop into Italy to get great pasta, cheaper wine and ciggies and that more relaxed lifestyle.
Have a look at the advert below then compare Menton and good old Gisburn. It’s no contest really!