Terry Savage is aware of the controversy regarding the iSea app that didn't work and was pulled from the iTunes store, but they won't make a decision about the award now. The Bronze Lion in Promo & Activation award is still theirs, for the time being. On Twitter the app has its own hashtag; #ISeaFraud
"We are aware of this, but in the heat of Cannes, we won't make any hasty decisions to rescind any award," Savage said to Campaign. "We will do a proper review as soon as possible, contact Grey for fuller background information and then make a decision after that. It's that simple."
This is not uncommon, the Kia "pedophile" advert in 2011, the Amnesty ad of 2008 and the Lucky Iron Fish of 2015 were all double checked after the incredibly busy and boozy festival was over. It's not a proper Cannes Lions festival without a little award controversy.
Meanwhile Grey's Owen Dougherty, chief communications officer, released this statement on Wednesday:
The I SEA app is real and was designed by Grey for Good in Singapore, our philanthropic communications arm, that has a great reputation working for many worthy causes around the world. We said it was in a testing stage and they have some satellite issues to work out. For some reason, a developer unknown to us has pushed the story that it is fake or a hoax. Grey Group is one of the most creatively awarded global agencies around and we adhere to the highest ethical standards.
It went in the App Store on April 26th and we were, and are fully confident, it would work with the right satellite image delivery. That's where our people ran into some problems.
But the app is real not a fake or a hoax. We win tons of awards fair and square.