Now Y&R Argentina rebuts calls from WPP to withdraw controversial ‘Malvinas’ ad

The controversial London Olympics ad by Y&R Argentina claiming the UK-owned Falkland Islands are actually the Argentine Malvinas (the cause of a shooting war between the two countries 30 year ago) is still running on Argentine TV (and all over the internet) despite demands from an increasingly panic-stricken WPP (Y&R’s owner) to pull it.

The Argentine government must be delighted with all the publicity (and embarrassment on the UK side of the Atlantic). Besides, it’s their ad not WPP’s, which is why clients get their name on awards.

The mood of WPP boss Sir Martin Sorrell won’t have been improved by some comments from Y&R Argentina creative director Martin Mercado (pictured), who seems to take the same view as the Argentine government.

“I can’t tell the (Argentine) government what to take off or put in the air. I believe the request has been direct from head offices (WPP in New York) to the government,” Mercado says.

“This is a very particular case and the piece belongs to the client,” he adds helpfully. “It was not meant for the outside. We have autonomy and we are an emblematic agency in Argentina in spite of the fact we are also international.

“We have always been recognized for our creative capacity and the truth is that we don’t send our adverts made in Argentina overseas.”

At some stage the Argentine Martin is probably due for some political re-education, this is not supposed to be how things work in big powerful agency networks. It’s highly unlikely that WPP boss Sorrell regards even an ’emblematic’ agency in such a light.

This is all turning into advertising’s version of Passport to Pimlico, the iconic old English comedy that had a tiny area of London declaring independence.

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About Stephen Foster

Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.

One comment

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    I fully expect the Poisoned Dwarf (Sir Martin) to do the Honorable thing… Immediately move WPP’s registered office from Dublin to Stanley and begin paying full UK company taxes. Then, jump in one of his “Rollers,” drive to the Palace, and hand the Queen back his Knighthood as a sign of his deeply felt remorse. Or.. As Zippy the Pinhead would say… Nah!!! Can you imagine WPP Board meetings in the Falklands in January?
    Cheers/George “AdScam” Parker