A bad-taste ad doing the rounds on the web last week showed several planes crashing into a burning World Trade Centre and compared it to the number of lives lost in the 2005 tsunami. It was for the World Wildlife Fund and was made by DDB Brazil.
But the agency denied all knowledge of it.
Now the truth has come out – DDB did make a video version of the ‘Tsunami’ print ad that ran once in a São Paolo paper and submitted both to this year’s Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival and the print ad went to the One Show. However, the video was not approved by agency heads nor the client.
Cannes did not pay the ads much attention, but the One Show awarded the print ad a Merit award.
DDB has made several apologies over the incident, including a message from president Sergio Valente on the company’s website. WWF Brazil has also apologised for any offence caused by the ad.
The agency also withdrew the ad from the One Show, thereby stripping it of its award. One Show jurors believed the ad was submitted correctly: the fee was paid and a tear sheet was included. But it is known that agencies may run an ad once just so it can be entered into industry awards. One Show organisers admit they cannot check the legitimacy of each submission, but the company has since issued a press release about its new stringent conditions, which do not tolerate any falsifications. Any agency that submits an ad for a nonexistent client or made without a client’s approval will be banned from One Show for five years.