Penelope and Francois Fillon during a meeting of the campaign at La Villette on January 29, 2017 at Paris – PDN/SIPA
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For this election year, French prime minister François Fillon warned the media during his vows on 10 January : “you’ll have to do with my reserve and my bushy eyebrows “. A cautionary humourous that, since a week, and the revelations of the Duck chained about a possible employment in fictional Penelope Fillon, shatters. For the presidential candidate, now is the time for crisis communications, while a preliminary investigation by the prosecutor’s office financial is open and that the information regarding the remuneration of his wife and his children succeed.

Three personalities from the world of communication grapple for months with the image and the word of the candidate : Anne Méaux, at the head of the agency Image 7, who worked for Eric Woerth, during the Bettencourt affair, Muriel, Reus, former president of Euro RSCG partner corporate and Publicis events, and Myriam Lévy, former journalist and councillor communication in François Fillon at Matignon. But the trio fails today to contain the controversy, “which is in the process of becoming an industrial accident for the nomination of François Fillon,” said Arnaud Mercier, a professor of information science and communication at the University Panthéon-Assas. The image of the pretender to the Elysee, who has built his candidacy on the rigour and probity, appears to break with the image of a man reserving supposedly privileges to his followers.

Errors and confusion

First error in the management of the communication of the candidate, with a “confessional” ill-prepared : as discussed in Jacky Isabello, co-founder of the agency Coriolink, ” the step of the confessional is to spend the whole life of the candidate for the fine-tooth comb. It is essential because in the countryside there will always be balls stink. But this step was not done because no one expected the attacks on this part of the life of the candidate, ” says the communication.

>> also read: Fillon would fight “until the end” in the face of the “forces” that “want to silence”

After the first charges of Duck chained, the candidate’s response is good according to the head of the Agency Release Johann Fourmond. “François Fillon reacts by going the next day on the set of a 20h, which represents a rite of passage. He takes the hand “. But the victimization and denunciation of the “balls stink” -a classic of crisis communication – are overshadowed by an error of the candidate about these children, ” lawyers “, as they were not yet. “Stress, or unpreparedness of the candidate?…. Provide a rapid response should not turn to the precipitation which can be disastrous, ” said the communicator.

” Pandora “

Another error : François Fillon opens a “Pandora’s box” during this newscast, according to the specialist in political communication Arnaud Mercier. François Fillon says it on the plateau of TF1 that a review in this “Penelopegate” would be a ground for non-candidate for the presidential election. “This statement is incredible on the part of a candidate, the winner of the primary on the right. It opens up a perspective [of a waiver] that even his opponents did not dare to imagine, ” continues the professor at the French press Institute. And the word of the candidate who had to clarify the situation opens up new questions. Sunday in a meeting in Paris, French prime minister François Fillon speaks of” a single bank account opened with his wife, to Farm Credit of Sablé-sur-Sarthe. An assertion immediately denied by an elected official who recalls that the Parliament requires two bank accounts…

>> read also: Two children Fillon paid as parliamentary assistant to 84,000 euro gross

instead of containing the fire, taking each word of the candidate seems to stir up the fire. “Now, the candidate and his team suffer instead of be at the initiative of a communication pro-active,” said Jacky Isabello of Coriolink. “The feuilletonnage revelations becomes extremely worrying. The pressure of the media is extreme, and it is now impossible to contain the information. The small things picorées here and there, such as the absence of a badge of Penelope Fillon at the national Assembly [unveiled on Tuesday by the Le Parisien] have a devastating effect, ” added the communicator.

Cacophony of declarations

the errors of The French prime minister François Fillon -renamed “imprecision of language” by the entourage of the candidate, in addition to explanations tarabiscotées support. The mp of the Bouches-du-Rhone Valerie Boyer explains the 25 January on France 5 that it has well paid his son as an assistant : “Yes. But for activities carried out “, she says, implying the reality of ‘ghost’ employees. On the same day, the former president UMP of the national Assembly, Bernard Accoyer explained on France Inter, have “often seen” Penelope Fillon at the national Assembly, when the spokesperson Florence Portelli said on France info radio that ” if we haven’t seen madame Fillon at the palais Bourbon, is that madame Fillon was in the Sarthe. “

>> 5 arguments, the more catastrophic the clan Fillon in the #Penelopegate

” there is an effect of the court “, judge Johann Fourmond of the Agency Release. “The spokesperson of the campaign are to 200 % for their candidate, but talk too much and poorly. This goes against the principles of crisis communication, which reserves the word to a few trusted individuals, and not allowed to spread in the media that elements of language have been carefully prepared, ” says the communication.

Nomination charred?

this cacophony adds up a solidarity in bern within the right. “Rightly or wrongly, the team of the candidate who believes that the attacks come from the inside [of the party The Republicans]. This makes the problem much more difficult to treat that there is not total solidarity in the ranks “, says the professor Arnaud Mercier. “The family reunion of the right delay and the lack of cohesion is an emollient [softening] as was said by Philippe Seguin. The best defense of Fillon, today comes… by Alain Juppé, who has cut short any possibility of an appeal to the winner of the primary, ” reports the communicating Jacky Isabello.

>> also read: another case could she worry Fillon?

French prime minister François Fillon carbonized, disposed of, soon to be replaced ? Communication professionals refuse any scenario. “We are three months of the presidential election, and this will happen in the last 15 days to three weeks. François Fillon is today marked in iron red, but it could face if it brings elements of his sincerity, ” says Johann Fourmond. Sign of the voltage that adds to the candidate and his troops, French prime minister François Fillon convened emergency parliamentary Republicans Wednesday morning, according to The World. The opportunity to exchange on the difficulties related to this case and ” remobilize the troops, while a number of elected members of the right are concerned about the outcome of the campaign of the candidate “…

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