Argentina is once again using advertising to push its agenda to regain control of the Falkland Islands from the UK.
The Argentine government placed an open-letter ad in two UK newspapers today, including The Guardian and The Independent, “inviting” the UK to participate in negotiations concerning the Islands’ future sovereignty.
Today’s print ad follows a controversial TV spot that Argentina created in the lead-up to the London Olympics last May. It featured an Argentinian athlete training on the Falklands. In that ad, the athlete is seen frowning at certain British landmarks; the spot ends with a tagline: “to compete on British soil, we train on Argentine soil.”
Y&R Buenos Aires produced the TV spot for Argentina, much to the dismay and chagrin of WPP CEO Martin Sorrell. He said at the time he was appalled and embarrassed by the spot, widely seen as an effort to politicize the games. Sorrell said an investigation was undertaken to learn how the agency came to produce the ad.
It was not clear what, if anything, came of the investigation, or if Y&R was involved in the making or placing of the print ads. A rep for the agency did not immediately respond to an email query.
The ad, in the form of an open letter addressed to UK Prime Minister David Cameron, began with the charge that the UK had “forcibly stripped” Argentina of the islands on Jan. 3, 1833 in a “blatant exercise of 19th-century colonialism.”
The countries went to war over the islands in 1982, with the UK prevailing. But Argentina has persistently demanded the return of the islands. “The Question of the Malvinas Islands [the Argentinian name for the Falklands] is also a cause embraced by Latin America and by a vast majority of peoples and governments around the world that reject colonialism,” the ad stated. It was signed by Argentina President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner.
The UK’s position has been that the inhabitants of the Falklands should determine their own sovereignty, a position that was restated today by Cameron’s press office. The largely pro-British Falkland Islanders are scheduled to vote on a sovereignty referendum in March.