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Swine Flu Puts Brakes on AT&T Shoot, P&G Conference

Marketers, Agencies Cancel Plans in Mexico City

By Published on .

NEW YORK (Adage.com) -- The swine-flu outbreak is already having effects on the advertising industry, leading to the cancellations of a shoot and a conference.

The suspected death toll from swine flu in Mexico rose above 100 on Monday.
The suspected death toll from swine flu in Mexico rose above 100 on Monday. Credit: AP
Shortly after arrival in Mexico on Sunday, AT&T and its U.S. Hispanic agency Dieste canceled a shoot in Mexico City due to the disruption caused by the outbreak.

Dieste President Aldo Quevedo, a small Dieste team that works on AT&T and at least one AT&T executive flew to Mexico City over the weekend, then turned around and flew back to the U.S. on Monday. The cancellation of the shoot was discussed on Twitter.

A source familiar with the incident said the shoot was canceled because the measures the Mexican government has been putting into effect to limit the spread of the virus made it impossible to work in the different locations scheduled for the filming.

In Mexico, schools and museums are closed, activities that draw crowds have been canceled, and the government was considering a complete shutdown of public transportation as the suspected death toll from swine flu in Mexico rose above 100 on Monday. The federal government has emergency powers to fight the public health emergency.

The situation has deteriorated quickly in Mexico. Dieste's Mr. Quevedo, who is originally from Mexico, even posted a picture of himself having lunch in Mexico on Sunday. The photo, on his Facebook page, shows him lunching at a local restaurant and holding the menu.

The AT&T shoot will be rescheduled for a different location. AT&T is a major client at Omnicom-owned Dieste, the largest U.S. Hispanic agency.

Separately, Procter & Gamble canceled a regional Latin American meeting with its agencies in Mexico City scheduled for Tuesday. Participants were notified on Sunday afternoon that they shouldn't go to the airport on Monday to fly to Mexico City because the meeting had just been canceled due to the rapid escalation of the swine-flu crisis.

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