Whoops. Stock images apparently don’t always save the day.
Particularly if you are heading up an advertising agency who is running a large campaign for a country. Unfortunately, an agency out of Britain called The Line Agency seemed to believe otherwise.
Atout France – France’s tourism board – hired the British ad agency to run their billboard and newspaper campaign to get Brits out of England and into France during the Olympics. The flashy photos capture beautiful coasts and beaches in France.
Except for the fact that the photos aren’t actually of France.
Photo: Daily Mail
At least three of the photos in the campaign are of beaches in other parts of the world, according to the Daily Mail. One photo is of Hawaiian waters with the coast of Corsica photo-shopped in, while another one of friends running on a supposed French beach is actually of Clearwater, FL. A third shot has a family joyfully skipping on a beach that is actually outside of Cape Town, South Africa.
Needless to say, the tourism board is not doing well after this bust, being forced to publicly apologize and undergo an investigation by the French photographers’ and journalists’ union PAJ. Atout says they may take action against the British ad firm.
Besides being extremely bold – and stupid – to steal pictures for a campaign of this magnitude, we’re not exactly sure why they did it. France has beautiful water and beaches, and the campaign cost £600,000. Just goes the show the public is smarter and better traveled than big companies think – shame on the agency for thinking people wouldn’t notice!