Mon, May 20 2013
The first reaction on the advertising spot that describes Bulgarians as having "fingers like large salamis" came from Saatchi&Saatchi Bulgaria on June 27 2008.
A statement signed by Saatchi&Saatchi Bulgaria' executive director Milin Djalaliev called upon Australia's M&C Saatchi who produced the spot to return the Silver Lion award from the Cannes Lions 2008 international advertising festival which the company got for the spot.
The spot, titled "Bulgarians", was made by M&C Saatchi for Australian shirt-maker Herringbone and competed in the clothing, footwear and accessories category.
The spot, part of a print campaign, advertises hand-made shirts and uses Bulgarians as an example of bad tailors. It advises to "never buy a shirt made by a Bulgarian. For the finest detail only buy shirts made by tailors with small hands".
The advert also features a photograph of three muddy and scruffy-looking males, with the caption Bulgarian Haute Couture.
Djalaliev' statement asked for M&C Saatchi and Herringbone to apologise for the offensive advertising spot. "Metaphors, comparisons, exaggeration and even black humour are often used by advertising companies as an original way to underline the main features of the advertised product. However, it is not acceptable an advert to harm the dignity of an entire nation by breaking ethical norms and using untrue facts and visions," the statement read.
Djalaliev said he has sent M&C Saatchi Sydney and Herringbone a fine-quality traditional Bulgarian silk shirt each.
"We want the authors of the spot to apologise for it and return the prize they have won. I guess the whole industry must be puzzled how a prestigious festival such as the Cannes Lions 2008 has reviewed such and advert," the statement said.
It also said that M&C Saatchi Sydney was founded in 1995 and had no relation to Saatchi&Saatchi founded in 1970 in the UK. M&C Saatchi was founded by the Saatchi brothers, the two founders of Saatchi&Saatchi, after the duo were booted out of the agency's board of directors.
Since the day news about the advertising spot broke out on June 25 2008, it has generated heated discussions on Bulgarian forums. Djalaliev statement is the first official reaction to the advert. The Bulgarian Association of Apparel and Textile Producers and Exporters (BAATPE) will issue an official position on the issue next week, BAATPE's Delyana Petrova told The Sofia Echo.
So far, M&C Saatchi's office in Sydney has not replied to The Sofia Echo email asking for comment on their choice of text and photographs for the advert.
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