J. Walter Thompson on the Incident at Machu Picchu

Iwant to respond to the Adweek article [Shoptalk, Sept. 18] regarding J. Walter Thompson’s commercial shoot for Cusquena Beer, conducted at Machu Picchu (the fabled lost city of the Incas in Peru). The following letter was sent to all media outlets that wrote about the story:

The Cusquena Beer advertising campaign has paid homage to the local traditions and treasures of Cuzco for over a decade. It has reinforced the origin of the brand and, in so doing, promoted the many attractions of the region. The tone is respectful of the site and its importance to the national heritage of Peru. In fact, the beer has grown to national prestige precisely because the advertising has struck a responsive cultural chord with consumers.

On Friday, Sept. 8, during a shoot at Machu Picchu, a mechanical failure in the crane equipment belonging to the production company involuntarily caused an accident, which damaged a ballpoint-pen-sized fragment of the Intihuatana Stone. We regret this unfortunate event; have pledged along with our client to remedy the damage and support ongoing conservation efforts; and we are fully cooperating with the authorities.

Here are other pertinent facts:

• All the proper permits were obtained for the site and equipment used. Contrary to Associated Press reports, there was no permit violation with respect to the hours of the shoot or the equipment used.

• At no time was there a beer bottle present, shot or used on the sundial. Certainly, the sundial was not “converted into a bar” as was written in some quarters.

• JWT is working with the government, and no violations have been filed against anyone. With a long history of public-service advertising in support of conservation and antidrug use, JWT Peru is a socially responsible and respected member of Peru’s business com munity, along with its client.

• Proposals have been put forth by JWT to deepen its involvement in supporting Peru’s historic monuments.

We understand the depth of feeling people have for the preservation of these historic treasures and appreciate the concerns expressed.

Owen Dougherty

Executive vice president, Director of corporate communications

J. Walter Thompson

New York