U.S.-based telecoms giant Verizon Communications Inc. has agreed to withdraw an ad campaign in the U.S. edition of the Financial Times that featured an unlicensed photo of the ancient Parthenon in Athens, Greek authorities said Thursday.
The company apologized for using a picture of the 2,500-year-old temple in a newspaper advertising campaign, a culture ministry statement said. Verizon said it was not aware it had broken Greek law and intended no disrespect to the monument, according to the statement.
Culture Minister George Voulgarakis said the advert "was an insult to a monument that belongs not only to Greek but to global culture."
"We are satisfied with the American company's apology," he said.
Verizon doesn't have a consumer business in Greece, but its Verizon Business unit provides telecommunications services to large corporations.
Under Greek law all commercial use of still and video images depicting ancient monuments requires a substantial fee and must be approved by senior culture ministry officials.
Only once has the ministry granted permission for the use of the Parthenon in a corporate advertisement -- as part of a 2005 deal with the Greek branch of Dutch multinational Royal Philips Electronics NV. The company, which helped light up the temple for the 2004 Athens Olympics, reportedly paid more than 7,000 euros ($9,429) and agreed to light another ancient monument.
So it's part of "global culture" but Verizon can't use the image? We won't mention the irony in calling an ad an insult while permitting other ads on the basis of inflicting unnatural lighting on other monuments ...