VILLAGERS have been angered after Gisburn was mocked in an advertising campaign for a new Renault car.

Renault’s Mégane commercial depicts a sunshine-drenched Côte d’Azur, in stark contrast to a dismal portrayal of the Ribble Valley village.

The company said they chose Gisburn because it had a quiet social scene.

The French company’s campaign, which was created by advertising agency Publicis London, asks ‘Can a car change a town?’

The first advert contrasts a swimming pool in Menton, Côte d’Azur, to a puddle in Gisburn; a French couple eating in a restaurant to an old couple on a picnic bench; and a designer heels with slippers.

The teaser ad consists of newspaper ads and a 30-second TV spot running for 10 days.

The main campaign in August will follow the journey of Menton resident Claude as he drives to Gisburn from France aiming to bring ‘Joie de vivre’ to Gisburn.

Renault visited Gisburn for four days earlier this month, filming and hosting a party at The White Bull, which was transformed into Le Boeuf Blanc for a night offering free French lager, and a fête on the village playing fields with free entertainment, rides and a hog-roast.

The company raffled off a Mégane and donated £6,000 to the village’s playing fields association and festival hall committee.

A Renault spokesman said it was a ‘lighthearted cultural exchange’.

“Gisburn was chosen for having no new Méganes, being quintessentially British, and for having a relatively quiet social scene.

"This is the first phase of a light-hearted comparison of two villages. Once you’ve seen the rest of the campaign, we hope you’ll agree."

What Gisburn villagers think

Robert Giles, 43, said: “We live in Gisburn and they are taking the mickey out of us. I think it is disgusting. I hope by the end of the advert they can make some sort of recompense.”

Barry Jones, joint-landlord of The White Bull with Alexandra Jardine, said: “It’s a humorous campaign. As it develops the idea is to ‘Frenchify’ the village. It’s a bit of mockery, dealing with nobody liking the French but having a test-drive in the car, and deciding it may be French but it’s okay, and that they are alright really.”

Malcom Robinson, 68 said: "It was a good weekend when they were filming and everything was free."

Jessica Lingard, 33, said: "I think it’s quite funny, but a lot of people find it offensive."

Zivana Hodson, shopkeeper, said: It’s not right, I’m sorry. It paints a bad picture of Gisburn.