Left-leaning French daily Libération got itself a lot of free publicity on its home turf and abroad by launching a campaign against LVMH COE Bernard Arnault’s decision to seek Belgian nationality.
Today’s self-congratulating front page headline, “Bernard if you come back I’ll cancel everything”, a direct reference, as was yesterday’s cover (“Get lost, rich jerk”) to some of Nicolas Sarkozy’s most famous soundbites, is illustrated by a campaign banner of YSL’s latest fragrance, Manifesto. YSL happens to be one of the main three brands of LVMH rival PPR.
I don’t believe there is a link between the two but if I was Libé, I would have pulled the ad to avoid suspicion. And if I was YSL, I would have pulled it to avoid being thrown into a controversy threatening to engulf the whole luxury sector. Yet Libé's finances probably couldn't afford it and YSL (which likely had no idea of the upcoming headline, advertising is booked well ahead of time) is guaranteed a bigger than ever reach, not only in terms of circulation but also in terms of number of times the cover will be reproduced in other media.