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Egyptian ad gives Vodafone credit for revolution

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A three-minute video put out by its advertising agency claims that Vodafone Egypt was the driving force behind the revolution, much to the annoyance of the revolutionaries – and Vodafone.

The operator is desperately trying to distance itself from the video, which was uploaded to YouTube by the operator's advertising agency JWT despite apparently being intended for "internal use" only. The film explains that Vodafone's "Our Power" strapline inspired millions of ordinary Egyptians to rise up.

It's safe for work as long as vomiting at your desk is OK:

Locals are apoplectic that a company which left them without service during the revolution, and even sent out government-mandated text messages, should have the audacity to then lay claim to being the power behind the movement.

"Are you guys seriously planning on leeching something out of this after you cut the phones and internet, after protesters who were being shot at could not call others and warn them about being shot at by snipers because of you?" said one YouTube comment, reproduced by The Guardian.

A tweet from Google man Wael Ghonim, who became such a hero following the revolution is reproduced during the video, apparently endorsing Vodafone Egypt's advertising campaign as an inspiring force, though he's since tweeted his disgust:

"Last @VodafoneEgypt AD by JWT is unethical. It gives the credit to Vodafone for the revolution! And used my name/posts without permission!"

In Vodafone's defence it didn't make, or approve, the advert – the blame should lie firmly with the ad agency JWT, which has removed it from YouTube and its own website, but not before everyone and their brother had made a copy and set up a site to share their hatred of Vodafone.

Vodafone was legally obliged to send government-supplied text messages, and to shut down the network when asked. When that happened we asked the UK operators, and the Cabinet Office, if such a power could be exercised in the UK, but we're still waiting for a satisfactory reply.

Vodafone Egypt might not have been fulsome in its support for the revolution, and neither has it claimed to be, but the operator will certainly suffer for hiring an advertising company who has apparently let such a film get out onto the internet. ®

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