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Well, since we haven't posted anything about WWF / DDB Brazil ad controversy since Friday when the bomb dropped that One Show would ban scam ads for 5 years, it's high time for another update in the scandal that never ends. The commercial for WWF is here (and you may embed it to your blog). The One Show move - which they call "the most stringent and thorough 'fake ads' policy in our industry." has upped the ante quite a bit. Other awards are likely to follow suit, if they can, One Show is one of the rare non-profit award shows out there. Great move to save their name as One Show was carrying much of the blame for this, as David Baldwin said: "Somehow the blame is shifted to the shows. Do you blame the Olympics for steroid use?" The ad followed one show rules and was submitted with a tear sheet, proving that it ran at least once. DDB Global CEO Chuck Brymer has made a comment which sounds like he's apologizing on behalf of the entire network in AdAge today;
"I find the advertisement offensive and insensitive and I humbly apologize on behalf of myself and the employees of DDB Worldwide."
Not content with that, AdAge requested further comments and a PR person gave another brief line: "We are taking corrective actions to ensure that future pro bono work from our offices undergo a more rigorous review." Eric has a few points at What’s Not Being Said About The DDB Brasil & WWF 9/11 Ad Controversy - and that is, non-US folk do not read this ad in the same way at all.
Second, the ads may accurately reflect some international perceptions about Americans’ self importance and egocentrism. Some reactions to the ads from outside the U.S. have been less vehement. Canadian advertising blog Great Ads states: “I will admit the idea is actually very good, but considering the nature of both events this might not go over to well here in North America.” British blog Brand Strategy: “The message of the ad, by DDB Brasil, is fair enough, although using 9/11 to make a point is a little tasteless and likely to cause offence in the US.” Other, less reserved responses echoed the sentiments of this You Tuber from India: “There is just more than America with his [sic] 9/11 problem.”
Having said all that, looks like pretty much everyone agrees that the combo 911/Tsunami fails to connect to WWF in a meaningful way. The ad is trying to blame the earthquake on global warming, it seems, but the World Wildlife Fund isn't a global warming prevention group. Leave it to the "dinosaurs" to state the obvious with gusto: A Focus on Awards, Not the Consumer, Caused 9/11-WWF Firestorm says Marke Wnek in an opinion piece in AdAge. "The best ads have a single, strong focus. When all is right with the world, that focus is the consumer." Quoted For Truth. So what does "man on the street" in Brazil think of the ad? My favorite Brazilian blog Brainstorm#9 has this to say:
It is a known tactic of using a tragedy to say that another tragedy deserves more attention. It's been done dozens of times in advertising, but of course, mess with the September 11 is inadmissible for the rich cousins of the north. Brainstorm#9 don't seem too pleased with Keith Olbermann of MSNBC who hoped that the CEO of DDB would " starve to death on the streets". Keep in mind he's just a talking head mud-slinger and not a 'real' objective reporter as we know them, despite the MSNBC branding. Then again, the WWF ad is only advertising. ;)
Previously: The One Show has a new rule: will ban scam ad creators for five years. The DDB / WWF 911 / Tsunami commercial kerfluffle recap post. DDB Brazil did make a commercial for WWF 911 / Tsunami - it was submitted to Cannes Lions 2009. DDB Brazil 911/Tsunami ad gets one hundred angry comments at Adfreak