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Sarkozy taking notes from Obama

French president monitors U.S. campaign

While Obamamania was raging all over the world, Gallic prez Nicolas Sarkozywas taking notes.

Already prepping his campaign for France’s 2012 presidential elections, Sarkozy sent his political consultant Pierre Giacometti on an “observational” four-day trip with Barack Obama‘s campaign team just prior to the Nov. 4 election to capture the magic recipe of Obama’s popularity. 

The goal, Le Monde pointed out, was to gather insight on how to make Sarkozy’s campaign as entertaining, moving and captivating as Obama’s was. 

Sarkozy has also hired ad exec Christophe Lambert to boost the image of his political party, UMP, and make his campaign a Hollywood-style showcase. A Gallic showbiz insider, Lambert teamed with movie mogul Luc Besson in September to launch Blue, the first advertainment shingle to produce films mixing ads and entertainment.

“Obama applies the rules of cinema to politics,” Lambert told Le Monde. “His campaign was a political superproduction about a hero who embodies the promise of a new America. Obama has understood like Sarkozy that you must make of politics a spectacle.”

The French already know Sarkozy loves the spotlight. A magazine-cover fixture known for publicly sharing and exposing details of his private life, he’s earned the nickname “President Bling Bling.”

In fact, since walking away, offended, from a “60 Minutes” interview during which he was asked about his recent divorce, Sarkozy has played to the media to portray him as a charismatic, young and energetic leader, in a style reminiscent of Bill Clinton. He’s been jogging with the paparazzi, posing for photogs in T-shirt and shorts while on vacation, and talking openly about his relationship with former model and singer Carla Bruni, now his wife.

The main challenge to create a hit campaign for Sarkozy, Lambert says, will be to generate a powerful Sarkozy brand, as Obama did, without the use of TV ads, which are forbidden in France.

Sarkozy’s personal challenge, however, will be to match style with substance.

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