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Agency Slams Olympic Falklands TV Advert

A controversial Argentinian TV advert showing an Olympic hopeful training on a British war memorial in the Falklands has been condemned by the agency behind it.

Young & Rubicam said it had asked the government in Buenos Aires to pull the commercial, accusing its creators of behaving "in a manner that is unacceptable to our company".

President Cristina Fernandez Kirchner's government released the advert linking the London 2012 Games to its demand to rule the South Atlantic islands.

The 90-second clip says the athlete is preparing for the Olympics on "Argentinian soil".

It shows Argentina hockey captain Fernando Zylberberg 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.

The advert calls the islands by their Argentinian name, the Malvinas, and carries the tagline: "To compete on British soil, we train on Argentinian soil."

A spokesman for Young & Rubicam, owned by advertising giant WPP, said: "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."

It added: "While we don't believe it was ever the intention of the ad's creators to desecrate a war memorial, 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."

Foreign Secretary William Hague dismissed the advert as a "stunt". He accused Argentina of trying to misuse the Games for political purposes and said the move would not affect Britain's position on the islands.

He told Sky News: "Argentina has had some diplomatic setbacks in the last few weeks.

"They have failed at summit of the Americas to get other countries - South and North America - to issue a declaration on the Falkland Islands.

"I think what is happening is they are looking for one or two stunts to try and make up for that or save a bit of pride somehow. But I don't think trying to misuse the Olympics in some way for political purposes will go down very well with other countries.

"Of course, it doesn't change our position on the Falkland Islands. We will always support the right to self-determination of the people of the Falkland Islands."

The commercial was filmed with a handheld camera and shows the 35-year-old player training outside a typical pub, the Globe Tavern.

The footage also shows Zylberberg running past the offices of the local newspaper, the Penguin News, and an iconic red British telephone box.

It was shot early in the morning and no islanders can be seen in the footage. The glossy advert, filmed beneath rolling grey clouds, also uses rousing music for dramatic effect.

It ends with the words: "Homage to the fallen and the veterans of the Malvinas. Presidency of the Nation."

The commercial also said it was a "tribute to the fallen and ex-combatants" of the 1982 Falklands War.

The advert was screened on several Argentinian TV stations on Wednesday night to coincide with the the 30th anniversary of the torpedo attack on the cruiser General Belgrano by a British nuclear-powered submarine during the conflict.