Sarkozy, Bruni take Ryanair to court over ad campaign
President Nicolas Sarkozy and his girlfriend Carla Bruni taking budget airline to court over a photo of the couple featured ad campaign
PARIS, January 31, 2008 - President Nicolas Sarkozy and his girlfriend
Carla Bruni are taking budget airline Ryanair to court over a photo of the
couple featured in a recent ad campaign, their lawyer said Wednesday.
The photograph showed the couple smiling dreamily while a caption next to
Bruni reads "With Ryanair, my whole family can come to my wedding".
Lawyer Thierry Herzog said the photo was used without the couple's consent
and a Paris court is to hear the complaint on Thursday.
Sarkozy is seeking a symbolic sum of one euro in damages while Bruni is
demanding 500,000 euros (740,500 dollars) from Ryanair for violation of their
right to privacy.
Sarkozy, 53, told a news conference this month that his relationship with
the 40-year-old former model was "serious" and suggested they planned to marry.
The ad was featured in the popular Le Parisien newspaper on Monday,
prompting the Elysee spokesman to complain that it was "unacceptable" to use
the couple to promote cheap air fares to France.
In the complaint, the lawyer argued that Bruni had "never spoken of a
future wedding" taking place before January 31 when the Ryanair seat sale
ends, nor had she suggested that the ceremony "could take place in one of the
destinations offered by Ryanair."
Ryanair's market director for France, Matthieu Glasson, earlier this week
apologised for offending the president and defended the advertisement, saying
it portrayed the couple "in a positive light."
"You could even say that it helps the president by showing him as close to
the people, living a similar life, using the same brands," said Glasson.
In October, Sarkozy became the first French president to divorce while in
office when he ended his stormy 11-year marriage to his second wife Cecilia.
He met Bruni in November and the couple have since travelled to Egypt and
Jordan on vacation together.
Last month, Ryanair reached an out-of-court settlement with Sweden's former
prime minister Goeran Persson for using his picture in an ad campaign without