Farms near the town of Loué in Sarthe department, Pays de la Loire
, France are famed throughout France for the quality of their chickens. Chickens carrying the ‘Fermiers de Loué
’ brand require to be raised under humane conditions both in relation to their diet and quality of life. Not for Loué any battery farming. Chickens raised there are brought up for the most part in the open air, retiring only at night to large chicken sheds where they are free to walk, strut around or doss down as they please.
The reason feathers are ruffled amongst French police is a new advertising campaign which revisits an earlier ad campaign run in 2010. The 2010 campaign also set the fox amongst the chickens.
In 2010, advertising posters extolling the quality of Loué chickens created controversy amongst French police with their slogan, "Un bon poulet est un poulet libre
", translating as “A good chicken is a free chicken.”
English readers might well wonder why feathers should fly at this. The reason is that, in French, as well as ‘un poulet
’ meaning a chicken, it is also a slang, and, some French police would argue, a pejorative term for a French policeman. The 2010 campaign depicted a smiling 'free' French gendarme standing alone outside a police van packed full of his colleagues, described in the ad as 'other chickens'. At the time the campaign was criticized by French police unions who felt "insulted, ridiculed and injured.”
Now, two years on, the Fermiers de Loué
look to have repeated the trick of gaining acres of free publicity, courtesy of French police sensitivities. The latest advertising campaign for Loué chickens uses the same slogan as previous ads. The brand again uses a play on the pun "poulet
= police" and retains the theme of freedom. One of the posters on this new campaign portrays a uniformed police officer comfortably seated on a tractor, smiling with the (English translation) text: "Authentic free range chicken."
But, as in 2010, some French police are not best pleased. Joseph Cilluffo, departmental secretary of the Police Union GSP, according to French daily Sud-Ouest
, expressed regret that "to make a bit of profit, our profession is ridiculed,” lamenting, “Our job is becoming harder and we find it increasingly difficult to garner respect.”
Meanwhile, on France Info, Yves Fouchardière
, general manager of the Loué farmers chicken cooperative, has defended the latest advertising campaign pointing out that far from being insulting to French police, many of the Loué posters had become collectors’ items, not least amongst French police officers!
For their next campaign the Fermiers de Loué
might consider the slogan: “ Poulet fermier, le sensible
.” - Sensitive free range chicken.