Scam ads for another agencies client wins awards - what would jesus do?

This ad, showing Jesus snapping a picture of a bunch of nuns with the Samsung SL310W camera, was published in Lebanese newspaper Al Mostakbal last week.

The ad has been called "an attack against Christian symbols", bound to happen as soon as Jesus is involved, but here's the kicker - the ad agency FP7 who created it, doesn't have the Samsung account.
Sunny Hwang, the president of Samsung Electronics Levant, said to Brandrepublic "At no time was Samsung Electronics aware of these advertisements and the company has not approved or commissioned FP7 to create any advertising campaigns. "

At the recent Dubai Lynx awards, FP7 picked up a gold, a few silvers and even the ad agency of the year award but after this little mishap, the agency (and their work) is being investigated by the award organisers and they might get stripped of all their honors.

At what point is it ever a good idea to create, and actually run campaigns for clients that you don't have? The spec turned ghost ad epidemic seems to be getting worse by the minute here - in some cases I understand how it happens. Say, for example, you have an idea approved by the local branch of a worldwide brand which gets nixed the moment the global director gets a whiff of it. Or, you were way too exited when you submitted spec work here that you forgot to tell us it was spec and the worlds adblogs operate under the assumption that it's real (please don't do that).

Seems to me that we're getting more and more cases of this, is it happening more often or does the collective hive mind of the web reveal them more often? Even Cannes is littered with ads that are ghosts these past few years, remember the Luxor hightlights campaign from Leo Burnett, even though it was Lowe's client. JC Penney never approved the dressing down ad which Saatchi NY won a Cannes Bronze Lion with, but at least in that case Saatchi did actually have the client. The balls of creating an ad for a competing agencies client and running with it, wow.

There are places you can show off spec work, for example the London International IDA, and new awards for work that dies on the foam core is popping up like mushrooms every day, even we have a spec work category here so we don't delete submissions, even when the client does a u-turn after you've spent a week on the shoot creating that great campaign.

about the author

Dabitch Creative Director, CEO, hell-raising sweetheart and editor of Adland. Globetrotting Swede who has lived and worked in New York, London, San Francisco, Amsterdam, Copenhagen and Stockholm.

Comments (8)

  • mrcoote321's picture
    mrcoote321 (not verified)

    May 25, 2009

Leave a comment