The advert which caused a sensation in France making a French
minister's hair stand on end - the 220 kph turbo publicity campaign.
The message reached a far larger public than envisaged. The RSCG agency
commissioned Jean-Paul Goude to design a poster of the CX GTi Turbo for
the Paris Motor Show. He took Grace Jones as his model and photographed
her with a “CX" hairstyle, discreetly outlined with a laser beam. As a
result of recent laws passed in France, constructors can no longer base
their campaigns on the performance figures of cars. The Minister of
Transport considered that the neatly-printed "220 kph” figure
contravenes those laws and alerted the press. He couldn’t have done
better - it was all over the papers and the CX Turbo got the kind of
launching that publicists and their clients usually only dream about.
How can one explain the fact that practically the whole of the
mass-media was behind CitroŽn with regard to the Turbo-poster affair?
The reason can almost undoubtedly be attributed to the fact that, this
time, the French authorities went a little too far. They have initiated
such a great number of laws in order to convince the public that fast
cars have gone out of style, that in fact, they are asserting the
contrary. The categorical reasoning of a prosaic Administration has a
hard time standing up to the harsh realities: there were 26.56% fewer
road accidents in France between 1972 and 1982, which was the decade of
the government anti-speed campaign. However, the road accident figures
in Germany, for the same period, were reduced by 38.88% - in spite of
the fact that there were no enforced speed restrictions in that
country. The principle of ruling out the use of speed figures, at a
time when constructors are having to strive hard to compete, does not
justify the ban - far from it. The Administration emphasises its
supremacy by not only limiting speed, but also by limiting freedom of
expression. In this advertising campaign, the words of Lord Byron come
to mind: “For freedom’s battle once begun, I Bequeathed by bleeding Sire to Son, Though baffled oft is ever won.” A noble cause and meaningful word - freedom.