As if relations between England and Argentina weren’t strained enough already, a new Carlsberg promotional video, aimed at the English market ahead of Euro 2012, is adding smoke to the fire.
The 90-second advert (http://bit.ly/carlsad
), which has since gone viral, shows three English fans on a tour of the ‘Carlsberg Fan Academy’. As they end their tour, it is a two-second appearance of a Diego Maradona lookalike, washing floors, that has sparked anger on social networks, and in Argentina.
Clarin, Argentina’s biggest newspaper, has blasted the clip, as have some of its readers. “This advertisement is a provocation, an insult and a humiliation for all Argentines,” one of them wrote. “Argentina doesn’t sweep the floor of the invader, pirate and English thief.”
Another took a more light-hearted approach. “Boys, Maradona’s not cleaning,” he wrote. “He’s drying the tears shed by the British in 1986.”
The commercial follows a recently-made 2012 Olympics advertisement for the Argentine market, which was filmed on the disputed Falkland Islands and featured an Argentinian hockey player, Fernando Zylberberg, doing exercises on a British war memorial.
The advert’s tagline in particular, “To compete on English soil, we are training on Argentine soil,” sparked off outrage in Britain, where many headed to social media sites to vent their anger.“Maradona and his ‘Hand of God’ can speak for himself,” wrote one commenter on the Daily Mail’s website. “The dead, whose sacrifice is commemorated by the Port Stanley war memorial, cannot.”
However, while it is not believed the Olympic ad will result in any boycotts, there is a risk that the Carlsberg advert may adversely affect the Danish brewer. Although English creative agency Fold7 was responsible for the marketing campaign, some Argentines have chosen to direct their anger towards Carlsberg, which is also an official sponsor of England and Euro 2012. Some Clarin readers have even been encouraging disgruntled fans to contact the Danish headquarters.
Carlsberg has downplayed the hysteria. A company spokesperson claimed the Maradona scene was “a funny moment”, while the advert as a whole “reflects the unique sense of humour of English football”.
Whether Argentine consumers will have the last laugh remains to be seen.