Tuesday, December 14, 2010


This concludes French Media in the E.U.
at University of California in Paris, Fall 2010.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Infamous French Rock Band Noir Désir Splits

by Vasilia Kouskoulas

This news article recently published in France 24 talks about the breaking up of a famous French rock band called “Noir Desir.” The band was formed during the 1980’s in Bordeaux and had been active until recently, having several platinum and gold albums on their record. The article talks about the band splitting up because of the band’s guitarist, Teyssot-Gay, pulling out of the band. The main reason for the guitarist’s decision even though only implied, was because of the lead singer beating to death his actress girlfriend, Marie Trintignant in 2003 and being convicted for it for 8 years.

Even though the article never presents the guitarist’s or the other band members’ opinions on the matter, it is inferred that the murder was the main reason. In my opinion this brought a lot of negative attention to band by the media and the general public and probably stained the band’s reputation. Moreover, I believe there were ethical reasons behind the decision since it is not easy touring, rehearsing and being in a band with someone known to have brutally murdered another person. Of course the question that comes into play is why after so many years? Well the article mentions that the lead singer was serving jail time until he was released in 2007 on parole and the band had not been particularly active these past years so that would explain the delay in the decision.

Finally, it is seen how French “rock stars” often cause as much controversy as American ones, with many often prosecuted for domestic violence, drug abuse etc. However, the one thing I found most upsetting was his sentencing for only eight years from which he only did four. This brings back the question of whether it is acceptable for celebrities to face special treatment and exemptions or whether they should be prosecuted like everyone else. In my view, four or even eight years is a very short sentence for murder and celebrities should be judged exactly as prescribed by law with no special treatment.


WikiLeaks US and Sarkozy by Asha Bell

“US diplomats poke fun at Sarkozy in leaked memos” – France 24

The current WikiLeaks fiasco has proven very entertaining for me. It makes politicians seem like a bunch of bantering high school children even more so than they did in the past. In light of WikiLeaks I say "Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants." In this case, this quote is shockingly relevant. The US WikiLeaks about Sarkozy have shown what some politicians really think of the French president. I believe they help to paint a more honest picture of who Sarkozy is instead of the heavily censored image in the press and media now.

I honestly believe the WikiLeaks scandal has put fear into the minds of those politicians who think they can just say anything judgmental about one another and not have it see the light of day. The crooked politicians who are manipulative, dishonest and overly critical of one another have been the ones most hurt by this leak so in that regard I think it was very beneficial. Do I think it was responsible? No. I think Sarkozy was correct when he called the leak of information irresponsible. The public should have more accurate representation and information about their leaders but it shouldn’t be done in a way that jeopardizes diplomacy.

The Two Misses

by Emily Thorpe

With the changing of times and globalization the values of different cultures and their traditions are being blurred. This remains true with beauty pageants. Ms. de Fontenay, a former Miss France has created a new French National Beauty Pageant which upholds more traditional French values. She is conservative and believes that even a beauty pageant can help maintain a national individual culture. She sees the changes in the old Miss France competition as a representation of Paris and more modern liberal ideals. Her new pageant will represent the “provinces”

Miss France represents France as a nation. I think that it’s very interesting that people will hold so much cultural value in a pageant. Pageants are often thought of as silly and of archaic displays of beauty. Ms. de Fontenay represents French values. She always looks her best, a value that most French people uphold, never leaving the house in a pair of pajamas. It is important for countries to maintain their traditions and individuality. It surprises me that this cultural preservation is also connected with beauty queens.


David Guetta

Dan Rubin

David Guetta is a French DJ and producer. He was born in Paris, France in 1967. In the 1980’s and 1990’s, Guetta worked as a DJ in various nightclubs in Paris. His first set was at age 17 at the Broad Club in Paris. Since the turn of the century, Guetta has established himself as an important figure in the music industry, specifically in the genre of house music. His first major single, “Just a Little More Love” featuring Chris Willis, was released in 2001, and his debut album with the same name was released in 2002 on Virgin records.
In the music video for Guetta’s first single, the song is played in a club setting. The signature feature of Guetta, and a lot of other house artists, the “drop” occurs at the 0:40 mark in the music video. Also, Guetta is in the music video, portrayed as a bartender. Guetta’s music has become extremely popular among younger audiences, and is recognized worldwide for his music.

Since his first single, Guetta has gone on to release 4 albums, and has collaborated with artists such as Flo Rida, Fergie, Black Eyed Peas, Akon, Kid Cudi and LMFAO, among others. At the 2010 World Music Awards, Guetta won Best DJ, Best Producer, Best Selling French Artist, and International Album of the Year.

Works Referenced:

FIFA faces media storm after controversial World Cup Choices

France24 article
French Media Extra Credit
Keven Contreras

The article summarizes the reaction by media outlets from around the world to FIFA’s recent announcement to award the 2018 and 2022 World Cups to Russia and Qatar respectively. Most media outlets from the countries who lost out on their bids are complaining of corruption and fixing of the election process. These countries including England, the United States, Japan and Spain comprise a good portion of global media. There are accusations being made that the only reason Russia and Qatar received the bids was because of their oil money and bribes to voting FIFA members. This goes back to the concept of geopolitical trends that we discussed in class with an Italian media outlet being funded by a Middle Eastern billionaire.

It also shows the role investigative journalism has in world politics and sports. There will be a number of investions launched into this controversial issue which might uncover corruption within the ranks at FIFA. It seems very strange that two countries with little footballing history and strict governments that sometimes oppress freedom would be chosen over countries like Spain/Portugal, the Netherlands/Belgium, Japan/South Korea, England and the United States who have much more to offer. The average temperature in Qatar in the summer is well over the 100’s which would make it a horrible venue for a World Cup. The stadiums would have to be air conditioned which isn’t environmentally friendly. Russian media has also been critical of its own country saying that they do not have the funds to host such an event as it will cost well over $10 billion. This article shows the influence media can have on all aspects of life including sports.

Le Roi du Monde: McDonalds

Derrick Chung

French Media; Extra Credit Assignment

McDonalds and Global Advertisement

Since McDonalds has most evidently taken control of the world as we know it, whether it be the dining world or the advertising world, I decided to choose my topic about McDonalds and their global advertising because of an add I saw in the metro.

McDonalds has become such a widespread chain that has now extended it’s presence into around 119 different countries serving an approximation of 58 MILLION people each day

. This makes it one of the largest chains in the entire world, as well as one of the most recognized icons since the start of its’ existence 70 years ago. I saw an add for McDonalds in the Metro here in Paris, and it’s audience is obviously aimed at the French readers of the add, as it promotes a new product called a “frappe saveur peche”. Of course it would be very difficult to find this product in an American McDonalds, and may not even b

e possible, which shows just how extensive and humongous the McDonalds corporation actually is.

Because McDonalds as a co

rporation is able to fund and make exclusive products respective of where ever they possess chained locations, their wealth and prowess in the entire world is very prominent. The ability to make products on the high demanding scale at such a quick rate for specific buyers [respective of their countries] is not only impressive, but representative of the prestige of McDonalds as a label and a company in the world. Only a company with the such importance and stature around the world has the ability to be able to produce products specific to their locations, while being umbrellaed under the same name.

Coupled with their quick and efficient service [for which they are known for], advertising has actually been a huge part of the success of the McDonalds Corporation. Since their birth in the late 40s, they have advertised their company in many different forms ranging from billboards and signage, as well as sponsorships. However most of their advertising is found nowadays dominating the media such as television, radio, and newspaper, in many different languages and locations across the world. It is easy to see the relationship between the use of media and its’ efficiency in promoting McDonalds products, as well as the company itself. Even those who are already buyers of McDonalds products are targeted, which can be exemplified in the promotion of new products which seem to be endless.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Snowy Days - Jessica Maldonado

It is evident that today's media outlets have become more interactive with their audience. Most important, spectators are being encourage to offer their feedback by producing their own news. Ranging from opinion blogs, twitter posts and photographs, regular folks are given the chance to shine as much as any professional reporter. On the same note, media sources are using these developments as encouragement to enhance their audience input sections. An example can be found in “Le Parisien”, a French daily newspaper that covers international, national and local Parisian news. Nonetheless, its national counterpart: “Aujourd'hui en France,” has been recognized as the largest national newspaper in France. With a reported 530,000 copies sold in 2008, its considered one of France's most influential media sources.

Hence, “Le Parisien's” successful audience engagement can be seen in its December column. Within a matter of four days (December 4th), it received thousands of photographs and videos from their subscribers interacting with early snowfalls.By allowing its readers to share their experiences, they have open the doors to a deeper audience. In addition, pictures are selected based on their genuine reflection of snow engagement in day to day activities. These include Parisians strolling down the Champs Elysee to a crowd of young joggers running in the jardin des tuileries.

All in all, "Le Parisien" promotes itself to is subscribers and other audiences by using snow and elements relating to friendship, family values and the general spirit of winter holidays (without being inclusive of a particular holiday) it makes itself relevant to anyone living in Paris. “Le Parisien”, takes journalistic media to a more personal level. It offers readers a chance to be creative through personal expression in photography while they can all relate to living amongst the snow.

Excellence Proteines - Rachel J

This ad for Excellence Proteines, a fitness store, resides just outside the front gates of my building here in Paris. I see it every day and it always perplexes me. It seems out of place in this quiet little neighborhood near la Bastille, where there are lots of écoles premiers and families. The ad promotes a nutrition- type store that sells vitamins, protein powder, and many other goods that are supposedly supposed to increase your performance and boost your immune system. The ad, therefore, is meant to promote good health and an active lifestyle. It does a good job at this. The ad portrays a sense of physical fitness, of excersize, play, perserverence, and … sex? I guess it’s true that sex has always been intrinsically related to sports and fitness, this ad, however, takes it to another level.

To me, there is something strange about this ad. It is a combination of both sports and sex, at the same time. The woman in the foreground of the picture and in the center of the image has a technically good physique and looks physically fit. What’s odd to me, is that she is wearing next to nothing. The rest of the players in the image are all working, playing, moving. They are all in equally good shape and fully dressed. The center character, however, poses, stagnant, in the middle, clearly separate from the action going on behind her. I imagine it’s quite difficult to play any sports in a thong and cropped T-shirt and nothing else.

That is not, however, what strikes me the most about this ad. From what I’ve seen of French advertising, and American advertising, I would draw the conclusion that an ad like this looks as though it belongs in America. The bright colors, showy nudity, and flashy, out of style, design do not coincide with my other experiences with French media. Furthermore, ideals such as these seem like important American ideals, rather than French ones. For instance, be stronger, be fitter, look better, all in one store. This type of idealistic one stop, perfect body image shopping is a much more American way of life than a Parisian one. What’s more is that there is a surf shop right next door to the store. I can only wonder how many customers stores like these, and the surf shop, get. It is possible that it is just an out of date ad, but I haven’t seen any other ads like this around Paris. I can’t help but wonder if it is a small but mighty sign of American influence in Paris.

Culture and Media-- Susan Kim

Media is reflective of the culture that it comes from. For example, while a British ad would play towards the audience’s sense of humor, a French ad would play towards the viewer’s emotions. However, another way media is reflective of its respective culture is through the reactions that the specific media receives.

An example of this is the running of a certain Mc Donald’s commercial, which advocates and welcomes homosexuality. This commercial has been both greatly popularized and also heavily critiqued and criticized in both France and America, thus revealing the effort that the company directors of Mc Donald’s (an American company) are making to appeal to the French while also drawing the stark differences in values of the two countries. In this particular commercial, which ran in France, to the dismay and harsh criticism of many Americans, a gay boy is featured talking to his boyfriend on the phone, the overall message being “come as you are”. With this message, Mc Donald’s extends its hand to the gay community, as though they are providing them a place of safety where they are free to be themselves without the fear of being judged or persecuted. While this commercial was neither vulgar nor sexually explicit, many Americans were shocked and angry to see that such a commercial had aired on public television. For example, Bill O'Reilly publicly discussed the commercial with great disdain. In stark contrast to the American reaction, the commercial became both famous and widely accepted by the French public. Also, according to Mc Donald's COO, Don Thompson, there were no complaints in France in regards to the commercial (Oneal).

The stark differences to the reactions to this simple yet controversial commercial reflect the societal values of different cultures and countries, thus furthering and demonstrating the idea that different media in different regions and countries are reflective of their respective values and cultures.

Oneal, Michael. "McDonald's on a roll, but still not at top of its game." Chicago Tribune 13 Jun. 2010: n. pag. Web. 6 Dec 2010.

Remember Now, Kate K.

This short film, entitled Remember Now, is an extended advertisement for Karl Lagerfeld’s Chanel Cruise 2011 line. However, the film/advertisement hybrid sells far more than just Chanel to would-be buyers.

The film takes place in St. Tropez, following a group of young socialites during one eventful, and seemingly regular, night in the French hotspot. The advertisement not only promotes Chanel’s clothing and accessories but also the lifestyle of carefree excessiveness exhibited, rich with nods to French icons from the past. The piece evolves by the end to be far more a promotional piece for the tourist location than it is for the clothing. The idea of tradition as well as a sense of the undiscovered is preserved in the characters’ dialogue as a way to represent the spirit of high-end St. Tropez and its loyal vacationers.

The extended shots on the locale support the assertion that the short is equally a promo for the vacation spot as it is for the fashion house's up coming line. Moments of the main character walking or driving through the area spotlight the marinas filled with beautiful, private yachts and lush greenery respectively. Lagerfeld is careful to display St. Tropez as a place where age is of no concern - the youthful party-goers and the older men are all assimilated into the atmosphere, all having positive experiences while on vacation. The St. Tropez being pitched to the audience is one of constant luxury, partying, beauty and love. (Keep an eye out at the very end for a cameo by the director/designer himself, the incredible Karl Lagerfeld).

Remember Now, pt. 1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=spN37R-eUGw&feature=related
Remember Now, pt. 2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=il0n8vWcnXE&NR=1

Chanel No. 5 - Sophia Ochoa

In what has become a conventional way to advertise for perfume, Chanel creates a short, yet long commercial, featuring one of the most well known actresses in France. Audrey Tautou leads the new advertising campaign for Chanel No. 5. A fitting role as it was Audrey Tautou that portrayed the role of Coco Chanel in the film Coco before Chanel. The commercial follows Audrey Tautou's character as she races to catch a train; symbolic of France and Europe. It is on the train that she encounters a handsome male stranger, who catches her wonderful Chanel No. 5 scent and must pause to smell her. Captivated by the smell, the handsome stranger is drawn to Audrey Tautou‘s room in the middle of the train ride, but he fails to knock on her door. At the same time, Tautou’s character is having trouble sleeping and she lays awake in her dark room. The Chanel No. 5 bottle sits in the corner of her dresser and the audience see’s the bottle’s shadow across the room as she lays awake. The next scene consists of Tautou’s character getting of the train and taking a boat ride in which she begins to take picture of the scenery only to discover that the handsome stranger is in the boat next to hers. The last scene is of Audrey Tautou returning to the train station, where she is soon followed by the handsome stranger who returns to smell her scent. The commercial ends as the two characters stand on the iconic Chanel logo.

I found the commercial very interesting for the simple reason that luxury brand companies have now made it the norm to advertise for perfume with a short movie. The commercials for perfume are no longer a simple 30 second spot, but now they range from two to five minutes. The ad must tell a story that captivates the audience. Sometimes these new commercial are more reminiscent of a movie trailers than a commercial. The Audrey Tautou commercial is one of many new commercial that serves as a short movie. Before the Audrey Tautou’s Chanel No. 5 commercial, Nicole Kidman starred in a similar commercial also advertising Chanel No. 5. When I saw this commercial I found it astonishing that the entire commercial was aired. In the US, I remember the Nicole Kidman commercial being cut, so that only certain scenes where shown to insure that the commercial was kept short. The only way to see an entire commercial was to visit a site that would allow you to view the entire commercial.

I believe that the use of movie shorts as commercials will continue to rise and will be used in more than just perfume ads. Youtube will soon be featuring movie commercials that star some of the most famous actors and actresses throughout the world and, especially Hollywood.

Link to Commercial - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uZxDf-_l43g

Garance Doré Interview with French ELLE

Extra Credit by Joann So

Garance Doré’s blog Une Fille Comme Moi is popular and so is she. She started posting illustrations in June of 2006 on her blog and eventually started to incorporate snapshots of stylish people in the fashion world. She is an outsider as she did not start her work in this industry but her blog have made her an essential read, even being called “our daily bread” by a French fashion editor.
What I would like to point out regarding this popular blogger is how her status as a Parisian illustrator who dabbled into fashion (and is now much immersed in it) has brought her an interview that explains her increasing popularity and status as a celebrity. In a November issue (no. 3386) of French Elle, Doré is asked about her beauty and workout regimens to which her answers are very personal: http://www.garancedore.fr/en/2010/11/30/vanity/#more-14354

For example, she mentions how she learned hammam culture from her Moroccan grandmother. People are curious about her inner life, what products she uses, what she eats, her lifestyle. This interview signifies that she is a celebrity and not just a mere artist because readers take interest in her life.
At the same time, there is approachability to her. One comment from a reader: “such great advice. and i love how low maintenance you are!!” (garancedore.fr) Doré says “the recession made clothes wearable and buyable, which is true prêt-à- porter. There are now designs for a real woman who works. I am like that. I am a working woman, and I love that there is a fashion that understands me” (interview with Harper’s Bazaar). Notice her tone in the interview – she is very personal and informative, just like her blog. She not only makes personal connection with her readers but also acts, in a way, as a median between the world of fashion (glitzy, luxurious, and somewhat unattainable) and the average follower.


Effective Media for the French- Erik Ramirez

I found this printed ad against rape and women violence on a building wall on Daumesnil Avenue. The poster says “75,000 women are raped every year” and it asks people to sign a petition online against violence. It shows a young woman being aggressively held from behind by a man whose face you cannot see. This man is holding the woman’s mouth shut with one hand and holding her crotch area with the other. It was hard not to notice this ad because of its very strong visual.

In media it is very important to attract the viewer’s attention and I believe that this ad did that very well but I am not sure that it is very effective in trying to prevent rape. This ad is very aggressive and is out where everyone can see. I definitely cannot see an ad like this one being out in public for people of all ages to see so it must be intended for all audiences. Here we can see the different kinds of media comfort levels that countries have with their people. While this high level of sexual aggressiveness might be normal for French media it just simply is not the same for American media.

This ad succeeds in attracting the attention it wants and it is obvious by the picture alone that the message pertains to sexual violence so in the end it is a good advertisement for the French public because it did its job as a form of media.


India signs multi-billion euro nuclear deal with France


by Andres Gomez

France and India came to an agreement to have two French built nuclear power plants in west India. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh signed a 7 billion euro agreement with the French President Nicolas Sarkozy. These two nuclear power plants are the beginning of the 20 nuclear reactors that India hopes to build to meet the energy demand. Many international markets have been on the lookout for a piece in this market in India, but there are many liability issues that come when it deals with entering India because of turmoil in the country. The French government however, is currently having discussions with India in regards to the regional security, trade, and investment. Not only is the French government trying to get involved in the Indian energy department, but also in the military department. French companies are trying to work out deals that will sell jet fighters and helicopters to the Indian air force.

France is clearly trying to gain an upper-hand in foreign affairs in countries that are not fully advanced in energy and military aspects. France’s and the EU’s economy is not that great at the moment and such new field in a foreign country could easily boost the French and EU economy. Sarkozy has undergone much criticism in the media lately, and having such story in the international news helps his image.

Given that Sarcozy has not made the best headlines lately, I wonder if there is a conflict of interest. Is he doing such deals to make his image look good, or has he actually analyzed how it will help or damage both countries and the world. Spreading military weapons is not the greatest thing to do, and it can encourage wrongful acts. Overall, this article shows how media not only spreads news, but it can strategically shape ones image.


Beaujolais part of French Culture by Daisy Hernandez

Beaujolais wine has become an important factor and even event in French culture. This type of wine has received so much importance and grandeur that it has now even been sold in different parts of the world. Media is a major form of spreading the news that it is the time of year for the Beaujolais wine. The wine actually has a specific date in which it is awaited by not only France but other countries that have learned about this wine and are now consumers. Media such as banners and other forms of advertising are seen all throughout France on the third Thursday of November, simply announcing the arrival of the wine that comes from the North of Lyon in France.

Finding this article on France 24 under the culture section has only enhanced the stereotype or the depiction of France as being “Wine country.” Hence, media in this case plays a crucial role in letting other parts of the world know that the Beaujolais wine has arrived, and that it is a major component of French culture. Something that was strictly a tradition of France, or rather in the region of Beaujolais, has now become a worldwide tradition of waiting for this type of wine to be sold. Not only this, but it has become a phenomenon as well. As mentioned in the article this event is now seen by some as a coup of advertisement to sell the wine, something that before was not the case, and may be regarded by French natives as being advertised and put out in order to sell more of the wine, and not even remember the origins of it all. I totally agree with this because since France is known in part for its wine, the grandeur exposition by its sellers is obviously to sell and make money. Now there is no remembrance that the Beaujolais wine was an eventful event of marking the end of the harvest.


French Popular Culture?

by Jonathan Deniol Rodriguez

What is regarded as popular culture? Some may argue that it's everything that isn't high culture. This assumes that high culture is much more developed. Popular culture can be seen as a mass produced culture, something that is commercial based. I believe that mass culture can create a sort of unifying society. It can bring a subject or topic into a larger spectrum of conversation. One thing is for sure, there is no denying that popular culture is a strong force to be reckoned with. For the purpose of this post, when referring to pop culture, I will be talking specifically about celebrity culture, which I find to be a major part of pop culture.

As Americans, we are very conscious about what goes on in popular culture. It is often part of our news telecasts as well as a prominent part of print media. So what happens when Americans, or anyone for that matter, comes into France and finds themselves in a new realm of celebrity, gossip, and other things affiliated with pop culture?

One thing I've found is that the French do not seem to be as obsessed with celebrity culture. I can honestly say that I don't know much about the lives of French celebrities, let alone who they really are. If I go to a magazine stand, or even when I stand in line at a supermarket, I rarely see magazines that are of the tabloid type or seem to center around celebrities.

As discussed in class, France is one of the major importers of outside media into its country. The French hardly export their culture to other countries. In thinking about France in the European Union, I can't help but compare it to England. I know more about English pop culture than I do French pop culture. To help make a valid comparison I had to compare a popular TV show from all three countries that enjoy grand success: The British X-Factor, The USA's American Idol, and France's Nouvelle Star.

(American Idol's New Judging Panel: Steven Tyler, Jennifer Lopez, Randy Jackson, and host Ryan Seacrest)

(X-Factor Judges: Louis Walsh, Dannii Minogue, Cheryl Cole, Simon Cowell)

(Nouvelle Star host Virginie Guilhaume)

All three shows are singing competitions, though with different formats. I know that in the UK, X-factor has a huge following. The contestants are the focal point, but the judges are also regarded as key elements to the show's success, much like they are in American Idol. I don't live, nor have I lived in the UK, yet I follow this show and find myself wanting to know everything that goes on with it. I follow it more than I've followed American Idol. What is troubling to me is that I know nothing about Nouvelle Star. This brings me to ask the question: Is X-Factor appealing becacuse it is in English? The X-Factor is set to make its debut in America next year. Former American Idol judge Simon Cowell is bringing the show to America and is ready to put it in competition with American Idol. You may know that Idol has signed on Steven Tyler and Jennifer Lopez. Recent reports state that Cowell has managed to sign Britain's sweetheart, Cheryl Cole on to the American X-factor's judging panel. This is an example of the British exporting their talent into the states. I don't really see or hear of France doing that. When in England, I was able to chat up locals about the X-factor and Cheryl Cole and they seemed surprised I knew who they were.

I love popular culture. I am sad I didn't really get to know much about who the French consider celebritites and a bit disappointed that it wasn't such a fun deal here. As we saw from a previous picture shown in class from the Paris Metro, Paris culture does not include many French things. I mean, Justin Bieber surely doesn't think so. Apparently, he is Paris culture.

(X-Factor Judge and major British celebrity Cheryl Cole performing her hit single "Promise This" on the X-Factor).

Dior Homme Commercial - Khanh Tran

In one of the latest media campaigns for its men’s fragrance, French luxury brand Christian Dior clearly showcases its status as being one of the most prestigious labels in the world. Titled “Un Rendez-Vous,” the advertisement for “Dior Homme” is a lengthy five-minute commercial that sets place in the beautiful city of Paris and stars the handsome British actor, Jude Law. The commercial commences as Law’s character mysteriously makes a telephone call to an unheard voice at the other end of the line. He perpetually exclaims threats to this secret other as he dons himself in a dashing black suit with the help of gorgeous blond-haired woman, model Michaela Kocianova. The equivocal tale continues as the young man leaves his decadent hotel room and sets forth to find the person whom he was speaking to. As he drives off in his shiny convertible, the narration switches to the other side of the phone conversation, revealing the seductive voice of a woman. It is then uncovered that this voice belongs to the Kocianova and that she is the person that Law is soon destined to find. Intense and dramatic music begins to play as the characters spray doses of “Dior Homme” on themselves and prepare for their much-anticipated meeting. The commercial reaches its height when the two are shown standing side-by-side in front of a picturesque shot of the Eiffel Tower.

I first saw “Un Rendez-Vous” during the previews of a movie screening at a nearby theater in Paris. At first, I mistakenly thought that the commercial was a trailer for a real upcoming movie starring Jude Law as the protagonist. To my great surprise, I immediately discovered that it is actually an advertisement for men’s cologne. Hollywood celebrities are commonly employed for beauty and fragrance campaigns and therefore, it is no bewilderment that Jude Law was chosen as the muse for the commercial. However, advertisements for products such as “Dior Homme” usually do not have fully-developed and drawn-out story lines that are five-minutes in length. Thus, I was struck by the unconventional tactic that Dior and British director, Guy Richie, have employed for this campaign.

Nonetheless, I think that the commercial is extremely intriguing and appealing to consumers. By setting the advertisement in Paris, Dior equates itself with the glamour, luxury, quality, and excitement that are commonly associated with the fashion capital of the world. Furthermore, consumers are reminded that Dior is an iconic French brand that is idolized around the world, much like the Eiffel Tower itself. The beautiful cinematography and sophisticated utilization of images in the commercial illustrates France’s focus on the aesthetic value of media. Rather than simply focusing solely on the message, French media relies on the use of beauty and physical attractiveness to achieve attention and appeal. Therefore, the employment of two very attractive public figures in “Un Rendez-Vous” definitely fits into the agenda of French advertisements as well. Additionally, the commercial also highlights the sensuality and sexuality that is prominent in French media. This is what famed chief executive of Publicis, Maurice Lévy, calls “porno chic” in an article by Dorian Cummings in The Independent. Kocianova is shown wearing a barely-there trench coat and the mind-game takes place between the two characters crosses the line of sexual seduction.

All in all, I consider this media production by Dior as very successful and appealing. It incorporates much of the aspects that are captivating to French audiences, as well as audiences all around the world. The commercial convinces consumers, both men and women, that “Dior Homme” is essential for attaining the individuals that they desire. Moreover, it encompasses what Dior represents as a brand and as an icon.

Link to commercial: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fZd9mKJcOR0

French Cigarette Ad

by Kevin O'Connell

This ad, paid for by the Campagne anti-tabac de Droits des non-fumeurs, is an anti-smoking ad that portrays young people smoking while simultaneously in a position to give oral sex, with the cigarette symbolizing a penis. According to DR, the ad is meant to show that cigarette use creates dependency and submission in the user. The message, “Fumer, c’est etre l’esclave du tabac” translates to; “Smoking makes you a slave of tobacco”.

I thought that this ad was particularly interesting because I don’t think it would ever appear in the US because of the explicit sexual nature. The main criticism about the ad in France was not that it was too sexual, but that it trivialized sexual abuse. I think this ad is effective because it immediately grabs your attention and also conveys a strong and clear message.

I’m not sure if it was done intentionally or not, but the Onion also made a joke video titled, “New Anti-Smoking Ad Warns Teens it’s Gay to Smoke”. In one of the scenes in the clip, they assume the same position as this ad.


Voyage En Capitale Kate Becker

The Louis Vuitton exhibition now featured at the Musee Carnavalet provides the artistic and functional history of the company’s luggage, and the exhibit includes heritage pieces as well as loans from other museums. The inspiration for the brand's development and designs from when it was first created by Louis Vuitton in 1854 is also clearly explained. The famous emblems of the quatrefoil flowers and the LV monogram that are seen on Louis Vuiton’s products today are exactly the same as when they were created for the brand in the early 1900’s by Georges Vuitton. The design was inspired by Notre Dame and gothic art as well as the simplicity of Japanese prints that had grown into popularity around that time. The original Louis Vuitton trunks that were first fashioned in 1854 did not possess the famous logo though, and the leather was just simply coated with a grey colored canvas. The hardware of iron strips and metal brackets, however, were still identical to trunks manufactured today.

In addition to creating a unique and sophisticated design, Louis Vutitton ensured that the luggage was the most functional for various forms of travel. The luggage was constructed differently whether it was designed for travelers on ships, planes, or cars. Famous figures and celebrities have also been avid consumers of the brand since its early days, and the exhibit at the Carnavalet shows many specially designed pieces requested by particular clients. The functions of the different luggage models vary greatly, from ones that are equipped with vanity sets to a trunk that forms into a bed when opened.

As an admirer of the brand, I enjoyed learning about its origins and the stimulation for the logo. I was not aware that the brand began by strictly manufacturing luggage or that there is such a variety of models tailored to suit any purpose for traveling. Learning the origins of the company also made it clear to me why the old adds often feature classic automobiles pictured with the luggage. After seeing several fashion exhibits in Europe I have also learned that French designers tend to be the most classic, and I like that the simplicity of Louis Vuitton is still as popular today as ever.

French Language Ad--Rachelle

This advertisement for a French Language School can be perceived in multiple ways. While it is written in English (albeit somewhat incorrect English…), suggests learning French, and was made by a Czech advertising agency, it also speaks to a larger audience as well.
The advertisement aims to encourage people to become a student of this particular language school in order to learn another language—which, in this case is French—while humorously criticizing the French for having no interest in any other language but their own. When I first read the ad, and after I understood the hidden meaning, I literally laughed out loud. The French are painted as being so open-minded and liberated, yet the ad suggests a level of smugness among them as they expect everyone else to cater to them by learning how to speak what they know. It also strikes further thought of any other aspects of the French that seem to be arrogant or unaccommodating. Additionally, the ad speaks to nearly every other nationality that does not speak French—nor English—as a first language (judging by the writing in the ad) which gives it a bit of an appeal globally. If the French expect everyone to learn the French language, then there are billions of people around the world who may not all have a common language among them, but they are all common in their quest to learn this language.
While I do not necessarily agree with the underlying tone of this advertisement, as I tend to think that there are some French people who have chosen to be literate in other languages besides their own, I do find it quite humorous. According to the ad the French are not going to learn any other language, which means I would have the responsibility to learn their language, and it is not the easiest new language to take up, I must say. Whether completely accurate or not, the advertisement can be understood by many nationalities (especially if written in other languages throughout the world), which is generally the key point in advertisement, and, it’s funny, too.

A Feat Pour Les Femmes- Sylvie Kauffmann Takes Over Le Monde

By: Alexandria Geisler

Revered French newspaper Le Monde, known for its relatively leftist to moderate viewpoints, named Sylvie Kauffmann Executive Director of the publication earlier this year. Kauffmann’s appointment marks the first time a female has occupied the editorial position of the newspaper, founded in 1944. Kauffmann replaced Alain Frachon, the previous executive editor who held the position for 2 years.

Sylvie Kauffmann began her career at Agence France-Presse, the prominent French news agency, before moving to Le Monde in 1988 as an expert in Eastern European politics. As her career progressed, she became the paper’s correspondent in both Asia and the United States, before finally landing her title as Editor. While insisting her gender was not taken into account in determining her new position, she refers to her succession as, “the final stage in the evolution of the newspaper.”

Kauffmann’s future plans for Le Monde? The Editor detailed in an interview with journalist David Medioni that she hopes to model the paper off of New York’s slogan, “the city that never sleeps,” creating a newspaper “qui ne dort jamais.” She challenges the members of the staff at Le Monde to act as great journalists: “ones who watch, analyze, question, and doubt,” in order to produce effective and empowering news for France’s citizens.

The installment of the new Executive Director coincided with another revolutionary transformation at the newspaper, however. 2010 marked Le Monde’s urgent need for recapitalization, lest they would be unable to pay their staff by mid-year. Kauffmann set out to find investors for the newspaper notorious for its editorial independence. Unlike any other esteemed publication, the staff of Le Monde traditionally held “a controlling stake in the company”, as well as the power to “veto the choice of editor, policy, and strategy.”

The pressure on Sylvie Kauffmann, as well as chairman Eric Fottorino, to maintain independence while obtaining financial support culminated this past June. On June 28, the newspaper accepted the investment offer of Pierre Berge, Xavier Niel, and Matthieu Pigasse (BNP) in a vote of 11 to 9.

As the dust begins to settle this winter and the investors begin to take hold, staff members look to Kauffmann to defend and protect their journalistic independence. She assures that the refinancing will have no effect, given “that everyone remains working to the best of their abilities.” Whether or not Kauffmann is correct remains to be seen; yet her steadfastness and guidance thus far serve as one large step for female journalists everywhere.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Call of Duty: Black Ops

Andrew Taverrite
Due 7 December 2010

The topic I’ve chosen to write about is the facade of a store I saw on the evening that a new video game came out. As the picture I took suggests, this set up was for the release of Call of Duty: Black Ops. While not a huge fan myself, there were hundreds of people, mostly 15-25 year old males, waiting outside.
This release was popular enough to earn a full store release party on the Champs Elysees during the holiday season- I think this alone is surprising. Even more surprising was that most of the scene in front of the store- which included an MC, costumed and heel-clad models, and music you could hear from streets away, was mostly in English. The characters in this game are American during the Cold War- CIA, not French. It was interesting to me that even though the French want to preserve their own culture so much, many value games like this with a very distinctive air of Americanism highly.
I suppose that none of this is all to out of the ordinary- I think what caught my eye was how American the whole thing felt. From the game to the people in attendance, I think it became a bit more clear to me how blurred international lines have become in regards to entertainment and hobbies.