At least seven of the 27 quotes used in the “Past and Present” campaign for the Apartheid Museum appear to be fake, the advertising agency behind it said on Friday.
The “Past and Present” campaign drew attention to uncannily similar quotes made by apartheid architect HF Verwoerd and US President Donald Trump, inviting members of the public to visit the Apartheid museum “to learn from the mistakes of our past”.
TBWA Hunt Lascaris CEO Sean Donovan said the agency has already returned the gold Loerie award – a top industry prize – it received for the campaign after an internal investigation confirmed questions about the “true authenticity” of the quotes.
“We always apply in-depth research and fact-checking in all our work and it was certainly never our intention to attribute the wrong quotes to anyone,” Donovan said in a statement.
“For that, we unreservedly apologise. But the lesson is certainly that even trusted sources need to be questioned.” The Advertising Standards Authority of South Africa (ASA) previously told Business Insider South Africa that the advert appears to be misleading and can, therefore, be removed from the air.
But Donovan said the adverts is no longer being broadcast.
“As a proactive measure and to ensure the integrity of the Apartheid Museum, the agency has pulled the campaign," he said.
Donovan said the sources of the questionable quotes were from a falsified speech, a book which is currently in circulation, and a major international newspapers, specifically the New York Times.
The book is called Trumped, published in 1991, which the Washington Post reported is unsubstantiated, and should be viewed with some scepticism.
Donovan said the agency "certainly apologise for taking those sources at face value and had no malicious intent to misrepresent the facts".
“We trusted [the sources] and had no reason to doubt that the sentiments being expressed were not those of either Verwoerd or Trump," he said.
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