Isavia Offers Explanation

1.7.2011
Words by Paul Fontaine
Isavia, the company that signed a summer-long contract with the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) to run anti-whaling ads at Keflavík International Airport - only to break that contract and pull the ads with little explanation - now says they were effectively tricked by the IFAW. However, e-mails between IFAW and Isavia seem to indicate otherwise.

Initially, the only explanations Isavia gave were from Friðþór Eydal, a public relations officer for Isavia, who said that the company had "reviewed its position" on the ads and decided that they went against "the spirit of the company" with regards to advertising space, and subsequently decided to take them down. As IFAW had a contract for the whole summer to run the ads - which had been up since April - IFAW spokesman Sigursteinn Másson said he is considering suing for breach of contract.

Vísir now reports that the company claims IFAW had made changes to the ads that were not agreed upon in their contract with Isavia.

Hjördís Guðmundsdóttir, another Isavia spokesperson, said that the company would never had agreed to a contract with IFAW if they had known the full content of the ads. She claims the initial ads bore no anti-whaling message, and that IFAW changed them after the contract was signed and before hanging them up. Isavia officials did not get around to seeing the finished product until recently, where they then decided to pull the ads.

When asked why Isavia did not offer this explanation sooner, she said that she did not want to discuss this with the media.

However, Isavia's story contradicts a copy of an 11 March e-mail, from IFAW to Isavia, now in Fréttablaðið's possession. In the e-mail, the main content of the ads is explained. The response from Isavia, dated 15 March, was that the company liked the ad idea and wanted the ads to run. Sigursteinn says he then met with Isavia officials, showing them the ads, which bore the slogan "Meet us, don't eat us" on one side, and an explanation that whales are being killed to sell meat to tourists on the other.

Sigursteinn says Isavia never gave any indications that they had a problem with the content of the ads, until now.

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