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Opinion

Standard flays Misty for me

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There's an obvious appeal in linking your brand with the Olympic ethos of excellence and achievement, as the likes of John Hancock, Visa and Greece's own Alpha Bank did at last month's Athens Games. Other sponsorships are harder to work out. Standard Bank of South Africa, for example, is sponsoring a dead whale. Misty is, or was, a southern right whale (Eubalaena australis) that came off second best in a collision with a ship and washed up near Cape Town. As Standard Bank says in a grisly press release: ?Decomposition set in and her rotting 70-ton body became a source of controversy. It was decided to implode the carcass but [residents] persuaded the powers to allow them to remove the rotting flesh to preserve the skeleton.

?Under the watchful eye of a taxidermist, layers of rotting blubber were removed with handheld knives.?

 After three years in Cape Town, Misty's 18-metre long, 260-bone skeleton was moved piece by piece to uShaka Marine World in Durban, where it was reassembled. Standard Bank is sponsoring her stay there.

It's a worthy cause. The population of southern right whales has increased by 7% a year since the species became protected in the 1930s ? impressive growth any bank would be proud of, if not quite matching Standard Bank's 25% currency-adjusted earnings increase last year.

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