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The Amnesty "after the olympic games" China campaignThe Wall street journal reports that TBWA Worldwide has gotten into trouble for the bronze Lion winning Amnesty International campaign "after the olympics". (if anyone here reckons that campaign is similar to the Swedish Red Cross campaign which compares human rights violations to olympic sports it's 'cuz, well they are kind of similar) - or rather attracted the ire of Chinese netheads. Why? Well, while TBWA in China do chest-thumping olympic sports ads for Adidas with a Chinese twist, TBWA Paris do ads for Amnesty International highlighting the countries poor human rights record. Conflicting accounts are pretty much unavoidable when you're in a global network of "258 offices in 75 countries world-wide".
Chinese bloggers, spurred by a report in state-run media of the Amnesty campaign last week, are now calling for a boycott of all TBWA ads, among other measures.
"I suggest that all Chinese employees in TBWA resign from this company," wrote one blogger on Netease.com
Uh, yeah, that'll happen.
TBWA's headquarters in New York said it wasn't aware of the campaign. "Had TBWA management known about this ad, not only would the ad not have been entered into an award show, but it would not have been produced," said Tom Carroll, chief executive of TBWA Worldwide. "This is the action of one individual at our agency working on a pro bono account." He said the agency is investigating the matter and will take appropriate action to "ensure this never happens again."
Say, what? The Amnesty campaign wasn't a one-man job, there were five people credited both here and at the Cannes Lions.
For comparison, here's links to TBWA China's campaign for Adidas.
Related regarding the Adidas campaign: Behind the Spots: A Q&A with Pysop directors Hyon and Spier