US telecom giant AT&T has said it will change its television advertisement depicting the Cayman Islands in a negative light.
The advertisement, titled ‘OK tax professional’ was flagged by the Cayman Islands government, which issued a cease-and-desist letter to the telecom company.
AT&T spokesman Jim Kimberly, in a brief statement to the Cayman Compass on Wednesday night, confirmed action will be taken.
“This ad was intended to be humorous and to remind people that we have America’s best wireless network … We are changing the ad,” he said in his emailed statement.
The Financial Services Ministry, in a statement to the Compass Thursday, welcomed AT&T’s change of heart. However, it said government is awaiting a formal response from AT&T’s legal department.
“It is encouraging to hear that AT&T intends to change the advert,” the ministry said an emailed response.
The ministry acknowledged that the ad was intended to be humorous, but said, “It is not acceptable to inaccurately represent the Cayman Islands and its financial services industry.”
It said Cayman Islands’ financial services “are provided in accordance with international financial standards and the (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) rankings place the Cayman Islands on par with other countries, such as Canada and England, for transparency and tax information sharing. Any insinuation to the contrary is wrong and inaccurate.”
On Tuesday, the ministry told the Compass that government officials had written to AT&T’s legal department, asking the company to stop using the ad on all media platforms; and reserved the government’s right to “legal and appropriate regulatory actions”.
The advertisement is set in an office and the main character, Phil, appears to be a shady tax professional who tells his customer he can get her taxes in an “OK place”. The customer, seeing photos on his desk, observes that he seems to take a lot of trips to “the Caymans” and points to a photo showing Phil with a yacht named ‘Offshore Accounts’ in the background.
Financial Services Minister Tara Rivers vowed last November to embark on a campaign this year to challenge Hollywood over negative connotations concerning Cayman in US films and TV shows.