Rebranding the French presidency

sarkozybruni French president Nicolas Sarkozy is in the UK on a state visit, the first by a French leader in over a decade.

Watching the BBC News 24 live coverage this morning of his arrival at Windsor Castle for all the pomp and ceremony associated with such occasions – see this 6-minute Qik video I did to get a feeling of that – I was struck by much of the TV commentary.

The usual kind of stuff you’d expect to hear spoken about what you’re seeing on TV at that moment. But mixed in, talk about Sarkozy’s distinctive and unconventional style which has ruffled a few feathers in France in recent months, and earned him the nickname used by some of the French mainstream media of "President Bling-Bling."

Quite a bit of criticism surrounds his open behaviour with his new wife Carla Bruni, who the media constantly describe only as "former supermodel turned singer."

I did like one comment about him in the TV commentary, on his sending text messages from his mobile phone while waiting to meet the Pope last year. Heh! Get that man a Twitter account!

It seems to me that much of the negative focus on Sarkozy bling is being driven by the mainstream media (but maybe that view is being influenced a bit by Flat Earth News which I just started reading). My handful of French friends in France aren’t half as concerned about it as the media seems to be.

Hardly a representative view, of course, but still.

Talk, too, about ‘rebranding the president.’ Indeed, Sarkozy’s own advisers are being quoted widely that a change of style is imminent, to something far more conservative and in keeping with traditional behaviours.

I say, resist that change, Monsieur le Président! My view from across la Manche is that you’re breathing some life into an ancien régime that needs bringing into the 21st century and making connectable to the Génération Bof voters.

So rather than rebrand the president, I suggest rebrand the presidency.

A tough call, but you’re a politician, you can handle it.

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Neville Hobson

Social Strategist, Communicator, Writer, and Podcaster with a curiosity for tech and how people use it. Believer in an Internet for everyone. Early adopter (and leaver) and experimenter with social media. Occasional test pilot of shiny new objects. Avid tea drinker.

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