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We French are pathetic losers, says ad chief
The Telegraph (UK) ^ | 7/31/05 | Kim Willsher

Posted on 07/30/2005 6:32:43 PM PDT by saquin

The President of one of the world's biggest advertising agencies has issued a damning state-of-the-nation assessment that describes France as being in steep decline and his countrymen as "narrowed and stunted".

Maurice Lévy, the head of the media giant Publicis, whose company owns Saatchi and Saatchi and has offices in 100 countries across six continents, said France had failed to get the 2012 Olympics because the world now saw it as a nation of perdants - "losers".

For good measure, he described the 35-hour week as "absurd" and the wails of complaint that followed Paris's loss of the Games to London as "pathetic".

His forthright critique was published in the opinion section on the front page of the respected daily newspaper Le Monde.

It was in stark contrast to the slick advertising campaigns dreamed up by Publicis to promote its international clients, which include BMW, Renault, Coca-Cola, L'Oréal, and Club Med. Such campaigns helped earn the company net profits of €130 million euros (£90 million) for the first six months of this year.

Yet Mr Lévy, 63, told The Sunday Telegraph that he stood by every word of his criticism and had received scores of messages of support.

"What I wrote was hard, but true. France is not in a crisis, it's worse than that. A crisis is usually sudden and short, while we are in an endemic situation," he said. "I've just had enough and wanted to say what I felt."

In the article, Mr Lévy said the French had only themselves to blame for losing the Olympics, and that the country needed a wake-up call. "We have narrowed and stunted ourselves and we paint ourselves as losers, and no one wants to be among the losers. It's time we opened our eyes wide, took an icy shower and looked reality in the face: we are in decline, going down a slippery slope.

"The Ministry of Economy, Finance and Industry has reminded us of our [public] debt and the fact that we are living beyond our means. We knew the figures, yet no government for the last 20 years has wanted to draw a conclusion from them. The figures that attest to our decline are known to all."

He said that unemployment, at more than 10 per cent, was a "cancer that gnawed at our society", complaining that companies had lost their competitiveness and that job creation had broken down.

"In the global economy we give the impression of being a Gaulois village, but unlike those in Astérix, it doesn't make us laugh and it will raise even less of a smile among our children and grandchildren in 20 years' time," he said.

"The general gloom is based on the idea that nothing can be done and nobody seems to have a solution. In fact our politicians have long played fathers of the nation, protecting their flock and hoping to save we the children from crises. It's praiseworthy and generous. Thank you. But it doesn't prepare us for the harsh realities of life.

"Remember the day after the first petrol shock, when the Dutch took to their bicycles to save petrol while our good president explained to us that we could (and deserved to) set off in our cars for our weekends away.

"Later, when it was necessary, alas, to make redundancies, the compensation was set at 90 per cent, therefore allowing those made redundant to earn yet more without working. Why in that case, make any effort to find a job? In doing this, trying to avoid any difficulties for them, we have turned the French into children.

"The final straw has to be the absurd decision to introduce the 35-hour working week when we were told repeatedly that we could work less and earn more. How on earth in this context can we expect the same French people to accept necessary reforms?"

Mr Lévy concluded that it would take a brave person to introduce the necessary changes, someone who would put his country first. "Is there a politician capable of overcoming their own ambitions in the cause of a certain idea of France?"

In an interview last week at his office on the Champs Elysées, he said his article had received acclaim from across the political spectrum. "I've had a lot of calls from politicians, business leaders, economists and journalists from the Left and Right of the political spectrum who support what I wrote," he said.

"I'm optimistic by nature. One day we will have to wake up, and in the end things will have to change."


TOPICS: News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: ads; advertising; france
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1 posted on 07/30/2005 6:32:43 PM PDT by saquin
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To: saquin
We French are pathetic losers, says ad chief

We Americans quite agree, says Marty Fierro.

2 posted on 07/30/2005 6:37:41 PM PDT by martin_fierro (< |:)~)
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To: saquin
It's time we opened our eyes wide, took an icy shower and looked reality in the face: we are in decline, going down a slippery slope.

Never happen

3 posted on 07/30/2005 6:37:51 PM PDT by CzarNicky (The problem with bad ideas is that they seemed like good ideas at the time.)
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To: CzarNicky

Yeah, that was rather non-Eurocentric of him to say.


5 posted on 07/30/2005 6:41:08 PM PDT by PokeyJoe (Knowledge is Power. | Power Corrupts. | Get an education, become evil.)
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To: martin_fierro

"Is there a politician capable of overcoming their own ambitions in the cause of a certain idea of France?"

Osama Bin Laden?


6 posted on 07/30/2005 6:41:27 PM PDT by tet68 ( " We would not die in that man's company, that fears his fellowship to die with us...." Henry V.)
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To: saquin; martin_fierro

7 posted on 07/30/2005 6:45:00 PM PDT by BulletBobCo
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To: saquin

Wow, a French writer where it isn't America's fault...


8 posted on 07/30/2005 6:45:00 PM PDT by DB ()
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To: BulletBobCo

9 posted on 07/30/2005 6:45:43 PM PDT by monkapotamus
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To: saquin

This guy is an idiot. Losing the Olympics is the least of their problems. He is as stupid as the rest of the government. The only reason the Olympics mattered to them is because of the high profile, international publicity aspect. The French problems run much deeper than anything that could be resurrected by some positive PR generated by the Olympics.


10 posted on 07/30/2005 6:48:49 PM PDT by johniegrad
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To: martin_fierro
"We French are pathetic losers, says ad chief"

And it's not like they haven't had any practice.

11 posted on 07/30/2005 6:50:26 PM PDT by HangThemHigh (Entropy is not what it used to be.)
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To: saquin

Damn, even the French don't like the French.


12 posted on 07/30/2005 6:52:01 PM PDT by CWOJackson
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To: DB
There are a few Frenchmen that have understood what Liberty American style means and values it more than the false liberty of the French enlightenment.
13 posted on 07/30/2005 6:52:24 PM PDT by Archon of the East ("universal executive power of the law of nature")
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To: saquin

Maurice Lévy is my new hero.

France hit rock bpttom when in an attempt to boost French Tourism it hired pedophile Wood Allen to do promo spots 'Fall in love again"


14 posted on 07/30/2005 6:54:30 PM PDT by finnman69 (cum puella incedit minore medio corpore sub quo manifestus globus, inflammare animos)
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To: saquin
tant piss...

15 posted on 07/30/2005 6:54:34 PM PDT by Chode (American Hedonist )
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To: johniegrad
The reason they lost the Olympics is because the IOC realizes there will be a lot of social unrest in France coming up in the next few years. Muslims are breeding like rabbits and the local French women can't abort babies fast enough. Abortion and socialism is a recipe for disaster.
16 posted on 07/30/2005 6:56:08 PM PDT by John Lenin (Hillary Clinton: Voted 6th most evil person of the last millennium)
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To: saquin
Mr Lévy concluded that it would take a brave person to introduce the necessary changes, someone who would put his country first

Bush will be lookin for work in 2009. :o)

PS....Take THAT, Krugman!

17 posted on 07/30/2005 6:56:38 PM PDT by eddie willers
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To: Chode

18 posted on 07/30/2005 6:57:19 PM PDT by mewzilla (Property must be secured or liberty cannot exist. John Adams)
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To: saquin
 

 

 
[He said that unemployment, at more than 10 per cent, was a "cancer that gnawed at our society", complaining that companies had lost their competitiveness and that job creation had broken down. ]

This is in direct contradiction to yesterday's editorial by Paul Krugman in the New York Times, where he says the 10% unemployment and wussie 35 hour work are by design and a good thing.  It's nice to see a real Frenchman (didn't know any still exist) slap Krugman across the face the very next day.

For a reading of Krugman (If you can stand it) .... http://www.nytimes.com/2005/07/29/opinion/29krugman.html?
 

!

 

19 posted on 07/30/2005 7:02:44 PM PDT by HawaiianGecko (Doing the same thing over and over again, expecting different results is the definition of insanity.)
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To: eddie willers

Boy, Krugman has the gift of timing, doesn't he? With luck, the Times with get an Op-Ed from this froggy and then give Kruggie a much-deserved heave-ho.


20 posted on 07/30/2005 7:04:54 PM PDT by RedRover
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