1984, a subsidiary of Ogilvy South Africa, thought a good way to promote an upcoming horrors flick was to invent Doctor Uba who deals in body parts, and give out flyers where he offers money for limbs. Mahala was one of the first blogs to pick up on it, and hoped it was an elaborate hoax "dressed up as an art project to raise awareness". They were closer to the truth than the cops who tried to find the "Doctor" who was offering cash for organs. Of course, the police had to take that flyer seriously, but soon discovered they had fallen for a horror cash-for-organs advertising stunt.
Spokesman for Ogilvy and 1984, Rich Hlatshwayo, said in a statement that creative agency, 1984, a subsidiary of Ogilvy, produced the campaign on behalf of Indigenous Film Distribution to promote the movie “Night Drive”.
“While the motivation behind this campaign was honourable, 1984 acknowledges that this was in bad taste and apologises unreservedly. The intention was never to mislead the public or media,” he said.
MD for Ogilvy in Johannesburg, Julian Ribeiro, said the company 1984 consists of “three young talents who joined Ogilvy last year as 1984”.
“They had an existing relationship with Indigenous Film Distribution and the project for 'Night Drive' was ongoing.”
Ribeiro said Ogilvy was “very upset” about the campaign and disciplinary action would be taken “internally”.
“1984 did seek legal counsel before the campaign was launched and were told to make sure that the details on the pamphlet and the website were fictitious... that the phone number would not work and that no harm would be brought to anyone.”
This stunt has even made it into Snopes. A campaign idea not soon forgotten then.