Home News UK & World News

Company boss condemns Falklands ad

British businessman Sir Martin Sorrell has 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.