French tourism agency apologises for using Florida beach in Northern France ad


By The Drum Team, Editorial

April 6, 2012 | 2 min read

French tourism development agency Atout has been forced to apologise after a poster ad for the Northern France Coast featured a stock picture of Clearwater Beach in Florida.

The "France, Come and Play" ad, part of a £600,000 has already been published in newspapers and online, was created to replace the original image for the ‘Sprint finish on the Northern France Coast’ poster which featured a beach in Cape Town.

The photograph, entitled "multi ethnic friends running on the beach" is available for sale from, a website which specialises in providing stock photographs to the advertising and publishing industries, costing £49 for the hi-res version.

Photographer Johnny Hetfield said: "I shot this in the Tampa FL area beaches about 7-8 months ago [in] Clearwater Beach I believe.”

Steve Turton, managing director of The Line Agency, the British advertising agency which produced the "France, Come and Play" campaign, said on learning that the photograph was of an American beach: "Thank you for pointing this out, the picture was actually only being used as temporary measure while we sourced a real one from Brittany.

"This has now been provided and will be used for the remainder of the campaign."

The campaign was created to persuade Londoners to visit France to escape the Olympic Games.

UPDATED: Turton has told The Drum: "With reference to the recent publicity concerning the use of incorrect pictures for 2 locations in the Atout France campaign, I would like to make it clear that my agency has always taken full responsibility for the errors.

"The mistakes were unfortunate and the incorrect pictures were removed immediately, after we were made aware of the problem. There was never at any time, an intention to mislead or misinform and I also contacted the ASA, notifying them of our error. They asked that we remove the offending pictures, as soon as practical and to date they have received no complaints from the British public.

"Unfortunately much of the publicity has been unfairly directed at our client, but I must reiterate that they are totally blameless in all of this."

Content created with:

The Line Agency

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