Coca-Cola ad in ETA controversy

Image of Pervis Estupiñan. Credit: Wikipedia - By Agencia de Noticias ANDES - LDU vs AUCAS, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=45301133

Coca-Cola has announced it is withdrawing its latest ad campaign in Spain after receiving a complaint from a terrorism victims’ association.

 

The company’s advert features a Basque actor named Gotzon Sánchez who has reportedly publicly and manifestly expressed sympathy for Herrira.

Herrira, a support group for ETA convicts, was shut down by the Spanish High Court last September for funding and glorifying terrorism.

In a letter to the global company, the victims’ association Dignidad y Justicia asked the multinational corporation to pull the commercials.

They referred to the fact that Herrira members are currently being investigated for association with a terrorist organization.

Born in the Basque town of Rentería (Gipuzkoa), Sánchez has featured in other television ads for well-known brands like Mahou beer.

The drinks manufacturer said in a statement: “We were not aware of the actor’s resume and personal details.

This is a matter that the producer deals with, and in which Coca-Cola is not involved.”

Coca-Cola apologized to the victims of terrorism and “anyone who felt offended after watching the ads. They’ve been pulled and we apologize.”

Coca-Cola’s decision comes a day after Spanish daily El Mundo published the letter that was sent by the offended group to the head of Coca-Cola Spain.

In the letter, President of the association Daniel Portero says: “it pains me to see that the image and public representation of the real fans of Real Madrid or Atlético de Madrid can be assigned to people like Gotzon Sánchez, who supports organizations investigated for their ties to ETA, and who wants terrorists with multiple blood crimes to their name to walk out of jail without serving the 30 years established by the penal code.”

Coca-Cola has denied that the advert was pulled due to the ETA-sympathy controversy. The company has said that the ad is being shelved due to inadequate results.

Speaking in Bilbao, Gonzalo Márquez, the company’s Communications Manager for northern Spain, said:

“We have seen ourselves caught up in a controversy that we neither looked for nor provoked.”

Márquez has argued that the “basis” of the story that has circulated about Coca-Cola pulling the ads was “fictitious, not true.”

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