Looks like DDB Brazil achieved what they wanted with this WWF ad, notoriety. Over at Adfreak it has gotten 100 ticked off comments. It's not an old PIA New York ad with a looming airplane shadow on the world trade center created in a more innocent time, it's purposely comparing the human toll of the 2001 WTC attack with the human death toll of the 2004 tsunami. To, sell nature? Wait, what? The line reads: "The tsunami killed 100 times more people than 9/11. The planet is brutally powerful. Respect it. Preserve it." It actually won a merit award at the One Show as well. Adfreak has spoken to WWF and the US WWF says: "never authorized or approved by any WWF person on the planet" and that they are investigating the illegal use of their logo. The WWF even put up an official statement here. Looks like AdFreak just busted yet-another-scam-ad.
Update: DDB Brazil apologized for the ad
Recebemos - “O anúncio Tsunami criado para a WWF Brasil foi criado em dezembro de 2008. A agência se desculpa a todos que foram afetados ou ofendidos com o anúncio. Este anúncio nunca deveria ter sido feito e nao retrata a filosofia desta agência”.
Update: NYDailyNews says creative team was fired (sorta, well, at least no longer working there)
DDB Brasil apologized for the ad they said dates to last December.
"The team in question is no longer with the agency," said spokeswoman Lana Pinheiro. The ad, she said, "should never have been made."
Aun said the WWF, the world's largest conservation group, started getting calls from outraged members yesterday.
Without checking on its legitimacy, bloggers and Twitterers posted the shocking image and sharply condemned the WWF.
Okaaay, the whole 'checking on its legitimacy' is pretty hard when the ad even managed to get a merit mention at the One Show. It's like it has been vouched for by a quality award, the One-Show ain't exactly pewter tankard award from Brewer's Monthly magazine. Does any of these One Show Judges care to comment on this?
To be clear - here's WWF's statement .
“WWF strongly condemns this offensive and tasteless ad and did not authorize its production or publication. It is our understanding that it was a concept offered by an outside advertising agency in Brazil. The concept was summarily rejected by WWF and should never have seen the light of day. It is an unauthorized use of our logo and we are aggressively pursuing action to have it removed from websites where it is being currently featured. We strongly condemn the messages and the images portrayed in this ad. On behalf of WWF, here in the US and around the world, we can promise you this ad does not in any way reflect the thoughts and feelings of the people of our organization.”
"WWF Brasil and DDB Brasil would like to jointly express their regret for the unfortunate incident involving the 'Tsunami' ad for World Wildlife Fund Brasil. The ad does not convey either the philosophy of the client or that of its advertising agency. It was created and approved in late 2008, mistakenly, and was solely the result of lack of experience on the part of a few professionals from both parties involved. In no way was it done in bad faith or with disrespect to American suffering. WWF Brasil and DDB Brasil acknowledge that such an ad never should have been made, approved or published. We reiterate our apologies to all those who may have been offended by it. The two entities have worked together for three years to mobilize people, efforts and resources for the good of the environment. A single error should not obscure past successes, nor prevent future ones."
Adfreak has another update
We've received an e-mailed statement from DDB Brazil in which the agency, while still apologizing for the ad's creation, claims it was approved for publication by the local branch of the WWF. The statement reads: "The 'Tsunami' ad for World Wildlife Fund Brasil was created by a team at DDB Brasil in December 2008, approved and ran. The team in question is no longer with the Agency. DDB Brasil apologizes to anyone who was offended or affected by the ad. It should never have been made and it does not portray the philosophy of the agency."
We're told the ad ran just once, in a local newspaper in Brazil.
This conflicts with the WWF's statement that it "did not authorize production or publication." Officials at the WWF in Washington tell us they are still looking into the chain of events and wouldn't comment further. If the agency's version of events is true, then the ad is not fake or "scam," the WWF would bear greater responsibility for it, and it would have been eligible for this year's One Show, where it somehow managed to win a merit award. (The ad has since been stripped from the One Show site.)
Could it be, why yes it's another update! WWF Tsunami Brazil Tv commercial bonus!