A massive nationwide campaign for Scoot.fr, the new French-language online classified directory from Vivendi Universal, has provoked outrage among members of the nation’s scouting youth movement.

Indignant scout leaders have slammed the campaign (by FCB Netbrand, Paris), alleging unauthorized commercial use of their widely recognized image and uniforms.

The campaign, which has a deal of fun with scouting motto ‘Always Prepared’, depicts scouts and scout masters bungling a range of outdoor activities, including grilling a frog and spilling boiling milk all over a camping stove. These scenes are intercut with plugs for Scoot’s directory service, illustrated by listings for restaurants, health clubs and plumbers.

The ads also capitalize on the fact that pronunciation of ‘scout’ in French is identical to ‘Scoot’. All of which is too much for the indignant scouters who threaten legal action both against Vivendi and FCB Netbrand for mocking the movement’s underlying ideals.

Meantime, Vivendi expects Scoot to generate thirteen million information requests in 2001, on the back of which around $10 million in ad sales and commissions is likely to follow. In 2002-3, at least 45 million contacts are forecast, generating $100 million in ad sales and other revenues.

News source: AdAge Global