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French Helmet Maker Cashes In Big Bucks On President Hollande's Reported Affair

posted 24 Jan 2014, 06:30 by Mpelembe   [ updated 24 Jan 2014, 06:30 ]

A French helmet manufacturer says sales are soaring after a celebrity magazine published photos of who it claims is French President Francois Hollande wearing a black helmet as he makes his way on the back of a scooter to meet actress Julie Gayet.

PARIS, FRANCE (JANUARY 24, 2014) (REUTERS) - The ongoing saga of an alleged Presidential affair was still hitting the headlines of celebrity magazines on Friday (January 24).

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International media attention first focused on French President Francois Hollande and his official partner First lady Valerie Trierweiler two weeks ago when a celebrity magazine published photos of what it claimed was Hollande in a motorcylist's helmet visiting actress Julie Gayet for nocturnal trysts.

French advertisers were quick to jump in to exploit the story in various advertising campaigns, each telling the tale with a humorous twist.

Insurance company Euro-assurance even went to the extent of reconstructing what it imagines to be the French president's morning routine, with him waking up next to Trierweiler before sneaking out to bring croissants to his alleged mistress Gayet.

The now infamous pictures taken by a French paparazzo and published in the magazine 'Closer' allege to show Hollande on the back of a scooter, driven by one of his bodyguards as he makes frequent trips to a Parisian flat.

This led to Car rental company 'Sixt' using a full-page advert recommending the president use a car with tinted windows for ultimate discretion, instead of his scooter.

In the French daily 'Liberation', an online store for motorcyclists' gear, '', published an open letter thanking Hollande for choosing one of the helmets they manufacture and distribute.

One of the pictures published by Closer shows Hollande wearing a black helmet, his face hidden by a tinted visor.

The publication of this photo had an unprecedented impact on the company, which manufactures the very same helmet model.

Based in Northern received an abnormal number of orders for the helmet the weekend after the photographs were published.

The helmet model, now called 'Dexter President', was out of stock as a result.

"We sold 1,000 helmets in one weekend, when we usually sell 20,000 units over a whole year. So the sales shot up, we usually sell that amount over a period of two weeks and we weren't expecting it. We didn't imagine that such a magazine publication would lead to sales literally taking off, but that is simply what happened and we were very happy," said CEO Thomas Thumerelle, grinning from ear to ear. are now waiting for a fresh delivery to meet the growing demand for the helmet which sells for 200 euros, an average price for a motorcycle helmet.

One thing is for sure, this sudden publicity has had a tremendous impact on the company which only had to pay "a few thousand euros" to publish their message in Liberation.

"Thanks to him (President Hollande), the brand 'Dexter' has had a lot of attention and so we wanted to thank him, therefore we decided to publish an open letter. We wanted to do it in a humorous way in order to create a buzz, but we never imagined for the whole media, radios, televisions, press, to pick up the story, so it's great for Motoblouz," Thumerelle added.

The future of the presidential couple remained unclear on Friday as President Hollande headed, alone, to Vatican city to meet Pope Francis.

The 59-year-old Socialist has neither confirmed nor denied the magazine reports of an affair with Gayet, saying only that he had experienced "difficulties" in his personal life and that he would clarify his relationship with Trierweiler before a scheduled Feb 9-11 trip to Washington.