The controversial Argentine government Olympic spot allegedly in support of the delegation that will competing in the coming London games had everybody on the black: public opinion, the athlete who ignored who really paid for his acting, obviously the Falklands where it was filmed and even the Argentine Olympic Committee.
The Buenos Aires media made extensive coverage of what is described as a high-impact publicity stunt which shows Argentine hockey captain Fernando Zylberberg in different captions running past iconic Falklands’ landmarks and ends with a highly political slogan: “to compete in English soil, training in Argentine soil”.
In an attempt to re-edit events La Nacion says that last March 18, Zylberberg, sprinter Florencia Lamboglia, long distance runner Franco Diaz and amateur athlete Laureano Andreotti began their training for London 2012 in the Falklands.
The four, it was made to believe, were competing in the Standard Chartered Stanley 42 kilometres Marathon for honour and for the prize of £ 1.100, a race which convened 64 runners. However they were really on a ‘secret’ mission worked up by publicity agents Young & Rubicam, Buenos Aires, which was finally aired unexpectedly in Buenos Aires Wednesday evening with a clear political message as the official homage to the Malvinas War veterans on the 30th anniversary and in support of the Argentine athletes.
“The first thing we did was to test the script with the Malvinas veterans: they were really motivated”, said the Y&R master mind of the spot and considered one of the best in Argentina. Since the agency had had contacts with the Cristina Fernandez communications team during the 2011 presidential campaign, the idea reached Press Officer Alfredo Scocimarro. Fifteen days later it was official, the spot was contracted by the Argentine Executive.
The script as in usual in publicity agencies is part of the creative work ahead of great events, in this case the London Olympic Games next July. In this case Y&R, which belongs to the British holding WPP, has among its clients companies linked to sports which are always underlining the Argentine national spirit in their campaigns.
But once with the approval, Y&R to avoid suspicions and minimize risks contracted two US directors for the filming who arrived March 17 together with the four Argentine athletes with the marathon excuse.
During their week in the Falklands the team filmed different sequences and the final editing only included Zylberberg whose participation in London was confirmed since last October when the Argentine hockey team beat Canada in the final at the Guadalajara Pan-American Games.
Zylberberg confessed that until a day before the (Wednesday) airing of the spot he was unaware that it was for the government. He admits having been paid for his acting, although wouldn’t reveal the sum, nor did he know where the money had come for the Y&R spot.
“No, the President did not call me. I only found out it was going to be a spot for the Presidency the day before it was aired”, said Zylberberg, 34 who has already competed in the Olympic games of Sydney and Athens but missed Beijing because Canada ousted the Argentines.
“I just went to do a job as an athlete with a publicity agency that wanted to send the message of training in Argentine soil to compete in English soil”, admitted the hockey player who added “I don’t know who really paid me. A friend contacted me for the project and until yesterday it was little more I knew”.
Zylberberg said that filming started every day at six in the morning, “I ran all over the Islands so as to have the different sequences. There were many veterans so in my head I felt I was running in a battle field and after that it’s impossible not to have energy to keep running”.
The Argentine athlete said the Islanders were very respectful and some indifferent, “but when we arrived in the Islands the local police gave us a brief chat advising us not to fly the Argentine flag”.
Finally La Nacion called on the Argentine Olympic Committee who preferred not to comment on the video.
“We do not comment on this action or on political actions. Our only concern is to abide the Olympic chart and rules from the International Olympic Committee to allow and ensure the participation of all of our athletes in the Olympic Games”.
However they were not aware that a spot of such characteristics was to be aired.