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We asked on Monday how did the iSea app, a non functioning app, end up on the Cannes Lions shortlist. Later that night we wondered how the hell it won a Bronze Lion. That same evening the app was pulled from iTunes.
The supposed client even denied involvement in the production of the the app and sent this statement to The Register, pointing out the issue I was concerned about - if MOAS has drones scanning the sea why are they using satellite images? That's wasting time. So is adding humans to the equation when there's image recognition software.
"The Migrant Offshore Aid Network did not develop the app with Grey for Good nor do we feel that there (are) any advantages to having the public scan old sat images for potential disasters that in reality unfold in seconds.
MOAS has performed life and death rescues in real time using two ships, commercial drones and Search and Rescue Crews in the Central Mediterranean since 2014. The majority of our rescues are coordinated in real time from the Rome Rescue Coordination Center in which MOAS often takes the lead. Saving lives is a serious business, with serious consequences for not maintaining the highest standards of professionalism.
All we can say on the developers' behalf is that the App probably sounded interesting in concept form but failed miserably in execution. We were asked to support the launch of the app in concept only. So we were included in a press release"
Grey group Singapore posted a statement on their website already the 19th, clarifying that the app was still in testing mode. "The I SEA App is currently in a testing mode. At this time it is loading and mapping satellite images to its GPS coordinates and users are able to report an anomaly in their plot of sea. The report function is sending out an alert whenever a user flags something in the plot of sea they are watching. During this testing period, the satellite images available are not in real-time. " In other words, it was a proof-of-concept app created in order to get the press attention, and a bronze lion while it was at it.
We've reached out to Cannes Lions for clarification several times since Monday morning, they have not made a statement on this winner yet.