Friday, September 17, 2004

UPDATE El Pais Ad Scandal: El Pais Apologizes!

Little Green Footballs, Powerline, get ready for Pequeños Balones Verdes and Cuerda De Corriente or whatever, the Spanish blogosphere rocks! El Pais today, in both its printed version and its online version, printed an apology for the sick ad they used in an email campaign to win a few new subscribers.

the El Pais apology this morning

The text of the apology, translated by myself into English, is as follows:
EL PAÍS apologizes for the use of the images of the terrorist attack against the Twin Towers in New York, which happend on September 11, 2001, for a campaign to aquire subscribers to This regrettable campaign, carried out through emails, supported by two photos of New York, one with the Twin Towers and another one without, under the heading "You can do a lot in one day, imagine what can happen in three months". The promotional campaign started last Monday, September 13, and was sent to more than 50,000 recipients before it was cancelled, on Wednesday 15th.

EL PAÍS, its publisher and the Grupo Prisa profoundly regret the use of a tragedy, which in this case cost the lives of more than 2,700 persons, for publicity purposes. We would like to apologize for it to the victims and their families, to the citizens of New York who experienced that agression from up close, and to those who saw among their email this ominous message, and to all the readers of the newspaper.

Any explanation about the chain of errors which led to the launch of this campaign is insufficient, which some of our readers rightly qualified as repugnant. We share the disgust they have expressed in numerous messages and letters to the management and we are sorry it happened.

The Prisa Group has opened an internal investigation to clarify how it was decided to launch this promotional campaign and to take appropriate measures. Effective inmediately, it has ordered the company used to send out the emails that it mails all recipients of the campaign to apologize.

EL PAIS would like to express once more, like it has done in its 28 years and almost 10,000 editions, its solid solidarity with the victims of terrorism. Like said in EL PAÍS editorial on September 12, 2001, and we repeat it fully here again, those terrorist attacks touch all citizens of good will, without distinction of borders or continents, and constituted an attack "against those with whom we share the same democratic principles which in our country costed so dearly to attain".

The barbarian terrorist attacks which happened later in the rest of the world, among other places like Madrid, did nothing but confirm the necessity to act firmly and democratically before terrorism, which must exclude any irresponsible use of these events.
As apologies go, CBS might want to start taking notes. Apology accepted.

UPDATE: Barcepundit has more. Apparently El Pais received a lot of complaints, and not just them, Spanish embassies around the world too. Barcablog points to a post on and WorldNetDaily who picked up the story as well.

Another blog, Pensamientos Radicalmente Eclécticos (in Spanish) claims I finally got my fifteen minutes of fame because of all this. I'd like to say to JR, thanks, but look around you, we all got a good look at what blogs, even in Spain with its famous 'you can't break through it' attitude, can do. Mind you, mentioning Investor Relations contact persons does help too. I'd like to say to all Spanish bloggers, the time of ranting is over, now starts a new chapter of blogging in Spain.

MORE UPDATES: Darleen was worried seeing the ad that Spain would fall into the Dar Al-Islam column before France would. I commented on her site with a couple of reasons why I think France will go first.

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