Burma - ad campaign cage fight between Neil French & Mccann re boycotting Burma friendly businesses

niel french
Over at agency.asia our favorite cigarsmoking silverbacked ad man is again in hot water ; brand burma debate air asia vs Neil French vs Mccann. Burma, as you all know (and recall the campaigns for) is a military dictatorship where the democratically elected Aung San Suu Kyi has been placed under house arrest and has recently gotten arrested when a loopy American invaded her home as obviously this is her fault. Agency.asia has created a shame list of business that deal with Burma to kick off a debate.

Next they decided to make an ad camapign. The question is So, should the world do business with Burma? and a creative team was asked to make a campaign supporting it.scroll down to see their campaign

As someone who spent his childhood in what was then the Communist Bloc, I was keen to work on a campaign taking this stance. Every totalitarian government actually wants the isolation. A boycott is actually rather welcome for them, while for the ordinary people it would seem to come as a final confirmation of what their government has been telling them all this time - that the outside world doesn't care about them, and all they have is their leaders. The basis of totalitarianism is the presumption that "somewhere out there, there is an enemy who hates us." By boycotting a country and hiding your true face, you are giving them the image of the enemy the junta needs so desperately for their ideological warfare. By ignoring the country and acting cold, you are allowing the Burmese government to speak for you to their own people, portraying you any way they want. The result is not only that you are not helping the ordinary people, but you are directly supporting the Generals' cause.

Christo Tchobanov - Art Director

Then they called on the big guns, French who knows both Asia and controversy quite well. Neil French rebutted to the campaign: "....Next time I have a bunch of students to teach, the campaign they'll be asked to produce will be a political one. But to make it easier, I'll choose a cause that has had its day; one whose denouement is common knowledge.." and made a few examples.

'Khmer Rouge; the future of Cambodia". The efforts of the new government to tackle the problem of overpopulation have not met with universal approval. But visitors to this beautiful land will appreciate the lack of hustle and bustle in the city, the quietness of the countryside, and the reasonably-priced child prostitution.

Ouch.


Neil French speaks at ihaveanidea in Canada
Niel French apologises - kinda
(sidetrack regarding dabitch's offspring created as the ultimate creative act)
Neil French leaving WPP
Neil French footage from that night in Toronto - advice: Throw away your best!
Hart Larsson wants Neil French (2005)
The Neil French Ad Awards (2006)
Niel French gets lifetime award at Clios (2003)