‘A meeting without any decision, whose sessions are empty, whose declarations are insignificant enough to be accepted by all, where the best in the manipulation of media appears as the winner.’ Such was the impression of Jacques Attali, adviser to the French president, François Mitterrand, of the G7 meeting of July 1981. He concluded that the next G7 gathering, which was to be organised in France in 1982, should give as much importance to the public image as to the substance of the discussions. 1 The institutionalisation of the G7 had transformed it into a highly mediatised event, which while still necessary, appeared too formal compared to the initial summit of Rambouillet. 2 Beyond the growing number of participants – national delegations, organisational staff, security and press teams – and observers (journalists, spectators and private personalities invited to official receptions), Attali’s statement stressed the dual nature of these summits: between secret and public diplomacy, 3 formal and informal talks, democratic values and restricted participation. 4 They were designed to be informal gatherings among the main Western leaders, but they were also meant to be a show of their unity for the sake of public opinion. Indeed, media coverage quickly became one of the main concerns of the G7 summits.