Tuesday, June 24, 2008

5621: Y&R’s Diversity Efforts…?

From The New York Daily News…

Top advertising agency cuts ties to Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe


A New York advertising giant is severing all ties to its Zimbabwe affiliate after discovering links to strongman Robert Mugabe’s bloody election campaign.

Young & Rubicam said Monday it was stunned to hear that the managing director for Imago Y&R created jingles and ads for the brutal dictator.

The move came as opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai sought refuge in the Dutch Embassy from a tide of state-sponsored violence sweeping the African nation. The UN Security Council declared unanimously yesterday that that a free and fair run-off this Friday.

“We find it so abhorrent, and we want nothing to do with this,” said Aviva Ebstein, a spokeswoman for Y&R. “It is awful, and we feel we are taking a stand.”

Y&R is trying to dispose of an ownership stake in the Zimbabwe ad agency after discovering the Mugabe link last week. Zimbabwean newspapers say Imago Y&R made millions from Mugabe’s ruling party to create the feel-good campaign, even as militants went on a rampage to intimidate the opposition.

Dutch officials said Tsvangirai had taken refuge in the embassy in the capital of Harare on Sunday after pulling out of the election because of the deadly attacks.

Tsvangirai beat Mugabe in a controversial election on Mar. 29, but officials said he fell short of an absolute majority, forcing a runoff. Mugabe, who has ruled Zimbabwe with an iron fist since independence in 1980, insists the vote will go ahead as planned on Friday.

Independent human rights groups say 85 people have died and tens of thousands have been displaced from their homes, most of them opposition supporters, by the recent weeks of violence.

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