Y&R Argentina in line for a wigging and a half from WPP for producing ‘Malvinas’ Olympics spot

When we first saw this ad by the Argentina government labouring its grievance over the Falklands/Malvinas we kind of assumed it hadn’t been produced by a big agency network. That way madness (and loss of jobs) lies.

But in fact it was produced by Y&R Argentina, which has had the top bods at Y&R and WPP boss Sir Martin Sorrell spitting tacks.

Y&R says: “It has come to our attention that our agency in Argentina created an ad for the Argentine government that has deeply offended many people in the UK and around the world. We strongly condemn this work and have asked the Argentine government to pull the spot.

“While we don’t believe it was ever the intention of the ad’s creators to desecrate a war memorial (see our earlier story), they behaved in a manner that is unacceptable to our company.

“Furthermore it is against our policy to be involved in anything that is politically motivated. In addition, this spot was also offensive to the Olympics spirit. Whatever it was the creators set out to highlight, what they produced is contrary to everything that we as a company stand for.

“We are deeply regretful for the pain this ad has caused and apologize to the many who have been rightly disturbed by it, as have we.”

Sorrell has confined himself to saying he’s “appalled,” which means lost for words, a rare instance.

You can argue until the cows come home about the rights and wrongs of the Falklands Islands/Malvinas dispute. Is it about sovereignty or oil?

But the ad, brilliant in its own way, is maybe a demonstration that you shouldn’t unleash creativos on big issues of national importance without an imposition of common sense. Which is a problem for Y&R owner WPP of course. That’s (one of the things) it’s supposed to be there for.

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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.

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