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Singapore agencies cry foul against Ogilvy's "scam" Cannes winners!
Good news for Upper Worli, we don't seem to be the only nation caught with our pants down on scam ads, the latest to be honoured with this distinction is Singapore. And this scandal involves as many as four Cannes Lions!
Local agencies are pissed off at Ogilvy & Mather, Singapore bringing home such significant awards for its God and Guinness campaigns § with the legitimacy of both being brought into question. The "God" print ads produced for evangelical church group Love Singapore took two Gold Lions for public awareness work.
Using modern messages from "God" in white lettering upon a plain black background, the ads are entirely derivative of an original US campaign that won Silver in the 1999 New York Festival. The ads were later published as a book. Ogilvy's claim that the Cannes jury was fully aware of this fact is dismissed as "utter rubbish" by DDB Singapore's President and Executive Creative Director Tim Evill, "because it would not have won a Gold in that case. And they certainly did not (declare) that when it won in the Asian Advertising awards". The Gold and Silver won for Guinness "What's on your mind?" print ads, have been similarly attacked regarding the ads' true client. Although originally conceived for Guinness, it has emerged since the awards were announced that the ads were neither approved nor paid for by Guinness's distributor in Singapore, United Stout Marketing.
Local pub chain Gaelic Inns now claims it was the true client, according to Managing Director Ian Crowhurst. "In real terms, we became the client once Guinness didn't take it any further," he says. "We paid for it and everything."
But even here there is confusion because the chain of bars did not pay for all the ads that appeared, including shots of white foam atop black drink that, on closer inspection, prove to be suggestive body shots. "To say it was an oversight to enter the ad with Guinness as the client (as Ogilvy claims) is ridiculous," says Mr Evill. "If those ads had been entered under Gaelic Inns, they would have been more obviously picked up as scam."
Angry, at least four agencies are rumoured to be boycotting this year's local Creative Circle Awards (CCA's) because Ogilvy Executive Creative Director Andy Greenaway, who was also on the press and poster jury at Cannes, will be chairing the judging committee.
Greenaway, however, has this to say: "It's a shame that other agencies seem determined to undermine our achievement. We've brought home three Golds and a Silver from Cannes and all we've had are attempts to discredit us. There was some confusion over the Guinness ads, as the work was conceived under a different job number, but we've changed that now."
Bob Isherwood, Chairman of this year's judging, and Worldwide Creative Director for Saatchi & Saatchi, says:"We are doing everything we can to stamp out scam ads and if that means rescinding awards, then we'll do that."
He says the Guinness ads were being investigated and that if evidence was produced that the God ad is a scam, that would be looked at too.
Take a bow India, we seem to be inspiring the world.