Normandy bids to lure business across the channel

In an attempt to attract businesses to France, the Normandy Regional Council have launched an advertising campaign, which has been banned from the London underground by Transport for London.

Entrance to the London underground in Piccadilly Circus
A French advertising campaign is being launched this week in a bid to get British businesses to “vote with their feet” over Brexit and relocate across the Channel.However, the campaign by the Normandy Development Agency got off to a rocky start when London’s public transport authority, Transport for London (TfL), banned the posters from the capital’s underground stations.

Advertising relocation to UK businesses

However, the ads urging UK businesses to relocate so that they can “leave their post-Brexit fears behind” will still be seen in newspapers such as The Times, Guardian and Daily Telegraph, and on the side of a specially-chartered bus touring Birmingham, Bristol, Cambridge, Manchester and London.TfL said it had decided to ban the adverts because they contained “images or messages that may cause public controversy or sensitivity” adding that the posters “did not fully comply” with its advertising guidelines.  The campaign features a fictional newspaper, The Normandy Times, with the headline: ‘British business owners can now vote with their feet and leave post-Brexit fears behind’.Copy in the ad says, “If you didn’t vote for Brexit or it’s not right for your business, why not vote with your feet and open an office, or settle a production unit, in Normandy. There is still no sign of what a trade agreement with the UK might look like. Now is the time to act.”The mock newspaper features a map of Britain and Normandy with a plane and a boat heading from the UK to France, though the rail link through the Channel Tunnel – which emerges not in Normandy but in the neighbouring French region of Hauts-de-France - is not included in the drawing.
An advert from the fictitious news site The Normandy Times
Photo: Normandy Development Agency
There is also a mock, ‘lonely hearts’ classified advertisement seeking a “hot entrepreneur” who is “allergic to post-Brexit tariffs, legislation and restrictions” and who “must have an appetite for business, beautiful coastal walks long, sun-drenched lunches with wine flowing”.
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Response from advertisers

Herve Morin, president of Normandy Regional Council, said, “We are very keen to get across our invitation to British entrepreneurs who wish to either set up or remain in the euro zone. “Brexit gives Normandy a unique opportunity to welcome British businesses who decide to stay at the heart of the European Union.“The Brexit deal might not happen tomorrow, but British entrepreneurs are given the choice to decide for themselves if they want to expand their companies in Normandy.”

Post-Brexit options

Bloomberg commented in an article on Monday, “TfL’s decision highlights the intensifying rancour in Britain as UK-based companies weigh their post-Brexit options.“With the clock ticking down on the scheduled departure from the European Union at the end of March 2019, the British Chambers of Commerce warned last week that investment decisions could be paused, staff relocated and premises moved because of Britain’s break from the bloc.”
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