Sarkozy just doesn't get airline humour
While Nicolas Sarkozy is almost a caricature in championing the French reputation for romance -- in the humour rankings, he is well down the charts.
Monsieur Le President is taking legal action against Ryanair for using a picture of him and girlfriend, Carla Bruni, in an advert, with his office claiming the ad is "an improper use of the president's image".
The ad, published in 'Le Parisien', shows the smiling couple with a comic book speech bubble coming from Ms Bruni's head -- "With Ryanair, all my family can come to my wedding,'' it says.
Mr Sarkozy's adviser, Franck Louvrier, said the French leader is requesting the immediate removal of the ad, although it was not immediately clear if he would also seek damages.
The romance between the recently-divorced president and the supermodel-turned-singer has captured headlines since they went public with it in December. Mr Sarkozy (52) has hinted that marriage is on the cards with Ms Bruni (40), though he has not revealed a date.
Both the German Chancellor Angela Merkel and former British prime minister Tony Blair starred in previous promotions and did not make any fuss.
A Ryanair spokesman said last night: "It was a humorous comment on a matter of great public interest in France. We apologise sincerely for any offence caused."
Matthieu Glasson, Ryanair's marketing manager for France, also apologised for offending the president, but said: "We are surprised because, if you look at the ad, the photo shows both of them in quite a positive light: they are smiling, we aren't making them say anything stupid."
If Mr Sarkozy does sue, he will not be the first.
The airline last year reportedly settled out of court a lawsuit brought by Sweden's ex-prime minister, Goran Persson.
And a Polish lawmaker also publicly declared she was suing Ryanair for an advertisement which she said suggested she was having a romance with national Prime Minister, Jaroslaw Kaczynski.