Boss 'appalled' at own firm's Falkland advert [Western Mail (Wales)]
(Western Mail (Wales) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) BRITISH businessman Sir Martin Sorrell yesterday condemned his own firm for an Argentinian advert showing an Olympic hopeful training on a British war memorial in the Falklands.
The head of communications giant WPP branded the television clip "totally unacceptable" and professed himself "appalled and embarrassed". The provocative 90-second advert, which says the athlete is preparing for London 2012 on "Argentine soil", was the brainchild of WPP-owned agency Young & Rubicam (Y&R).
In it, Argentina hockey captain Fernando Zylberberg is seen running in the Falklands capital, Port Stanley, and exercising on the island's Great War Memorial, which honours British sailors who died in the First World War.
Y&R said it had asked the Argentinian government to pull the spot, accusing its creators of behaving "in a manner that is unacceptable to our company".
Y&R's global chief executive David Sable said it was impossible for the agency to see everything produced by its branches around the world but stressed that clear guidelines were in place.
"Our guidelines say you're not allowed to do anything political or politicised," he said. "We don't do political campaigns and we never have.
"It's just not acceptable and we condemn it completely, but it's easy to understand the circumstances in which a local branch thinks 'this is cool' and doesn't think what the implications are."
The shot of the war memorial was "unfortunate", he said, and "the whole idea is tasteless".
The creators were reprimanded but the government was yet to respond to the company's request for them to pull the advert, he added.
Foreign Secretary William Hague dismissed it as a "stunt" and accused Argentina of trying to misuse the Games for political purposes.
"Argentina has had some diplomatic setbacks in the last few weeks," he said. "They have failed at a summit of the Americas to get other countries - South and North America - to issue a declaration on the Falkland Islands.
"I think what is happening is they are looking for one or two stunts to try and make up for that or save a bit of pride somehow.
But I don't think trying to misuse the Olympics in some way for political purposes will go down very well with other countries.
"Of course, it doesn't change our position on the Falkland Islands. We will always support the right to self-determination of the people of the Falkland Islands."
The Foreign Office (FCO) also criticised the advert as an attempt to exploit and politicise the Games.
The advert follows months of political bickering between London and Buenos Aires on the issue of the disputed South Atlantic islands.
The Argentine president has been attempting to reassert Argentina's claim to the British overseas territory, but the British Government says it will not discuss the issue without the agreement of the Falkland Islanders.
(c) 2012 ProQuest Information and Learning Company; All Rights Reserved.
[ Back To TMCnet.com's Homepage ]