Maybe British firms should consider boycotting Young and Rubicam for the New York agency’s role in the provocative 90-second commercial broadcast on the 30th anniversary of the sinking of the Argentine warship, General Belgrano.
The advert was apparently dedicated to the memory of the 649 Argentine servicemen who lost their lives in the 74-day conflict that erupted after the Junta launched an invasion of the Falklands.
There’s nothing wrong in the Argentines honoring their dead. But the advert is menacing, coming as it does at a time when Cristina Kirchner, the Argentine president, has been highly aggressive questioning British sovereignty of the islands. As such the commercial dishonors the lives of the 258 Britons who died in the conflict.
The advert shows Argentine hockey star Fernando Zylberberg running through the streets of Port Stanley in preparation for July’s Olympic Games in London. The commercial’s slogan: “To compete on English soil, we train on Argentine soil.” At the end of the spot Zylberberg is seen running up and down a British war memorial.
The British Foreign Office has responded by saying that “the Olympics is about sport and not politics. We are also dismayed at the insensitivity and disrespect demonstrated by the filmmakers in their use of a war memorial in the Falklands as a prop.”
Remember that the war occurred because of a Fascistic Junta’s decision to invade. That Junta was responsible also for a “dirty war” in Argentina that left thousands of opponents, and those just suspected of opposition, dead, missing or maimed physically and emotionally for life.
Recall, too, that the Falkland Islanders wish to remain British.
So, is this advert something Young and Rubicam should feel proud of? Is it work they should have agreed to do? Would the agency at another time have agreed to produce a similar commercial for German Fascists arguing that they should have, say, sovereignty over the Sudetenland?