Jan. 24 - Love is big business for French advertisers as they jump on the alleged affair between French President Francois Hollande and Julie Gayet to add a touch of spice and humour to their campaigns. And the motorcyle helmet allegedly worn by the president, when he visited the actress on the back of a scooter, has become a sell-out. Ivor Bennett reports.
Sex sells in France, especially, it seems, when it concerns the President. Reports of Francois Hollande's alleged affair have seen sales at this motorbike helmet manufacturer go through the roof. The model supposedly worn on Hollande's illicit visits becoming an unexpected hit. Motoblouz CEO Thomas Thumerelle. (SOUNDBITE) (French) "MOTOBLOUZ.COM" CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER THOMAS THUMERELLE SAYING: "We sold 1,000 helmets in one weekend, when we usually sell 20,000 of them over a whole year. So the sales have shot up." The firm's now running adverts thanking Hollande for his help - commercial viagra others are trying to harness too. This supposed reconstruction of the affair is an advert by an insurance firm selling easy-cancellation policies. The company telling consumers they too can live a life without commitments. Car rental company Sixt is another exploiting the story. Encouraging the President to go for one of their cars with tinted windows next time, instead of the scooter. But despite the perk its brought for some, the French economy remains flaccid. PMIs lagging below 50 in both services and manufacturing sectors. Mike Ingram from BGC partners. SOUNDBITE (English) MIKE INGRAM, MARKET STRATEGIST, BGC PARTNERS, SAYING: "Well, if only Francois Hollande would devote as much energy into transforming and revitalising the French economy as he does in his personal life, France would be a much better place. Yes, it's a distraction. Yes, it's actually improved his horrible approval ratings. But France is still the sick man of Europe." There was no scooter this time though as Hollande arrived in the Vatican - the allegations of infidelity providing an awkward backdrop to his meeting with the Pope. The pair put on a good show for the cameras - reportedly discussing topics including Syria, bioethics and the rights of Christians in the Middle East. But in reality this would've been uncomfortable for both, Hollande unsurprisingly leaving without speaking to the press.