Neo Sports Cannes Lion winning film is a rip-off and a scam ad to boot.

Did I get your attention? Good. Lets get ready to gossip!

The silver Lion winning has turned out to be yet another scam ad in the prestigious Cannes award. The same award show that way back in 2001 was saying that scam ads shall not win and that they'd take extra precautions to prevent that (we all know this didn't happen). The suspect is again Ogilvy, Mumbai - and at the risk of never getting another ad from them nor all of India submitted to the commercial archive again - they were doing this as far back as 2001 when four Cannes winners were reported as scam ads. (Yes this here adblog is tres old people.)

The awesome "Tension" film with it's extra tense banging storytelling is a fake ad - says not one, but three little Indian birdies to me. "Fake" by way of never actually airing, that is. I hear gossip like this all the time, but without meat to link to it sadly gets rather weak, since it's all hearsay.

However, there's another angle to this besides the usual calls of "scam ad!" - I've seen this film before!

Back in 2000 (and 1999), I had the pleasure of attending nearly every damn film at the Rotterdam Film Festival. There were world-famous and unknown directors answering audience questions after their screenings, but I could care less as long as I could score as many movies as I could be awake long enough to watch (I didn't sleep for two days!)

One particular film stuck with me though - a short directed by a Japanese man whose name I promptly forgot - where the entire story is played out in a cramped apartment in an anonymous looking apartment block. Someone leaves the gas on when making dinner, kids are playing with sparking toys, dad is lighting a match, sister is blow drying her hair - all sorts of activities by the family could all set that gas off to explode at any time and the film seems to go on forever as we in the audience get way tense by each passing second, and finally the whole apartment explodes and everyone in the cinema mentally wet themselves. It was fantastic - and the director stepped up to answer questions but the audience was far to gobsmacked to ask any. Me and the other ad-nerds that I attended with made bets that night that story and way of telling it would be used in a commercial in the near future, we've waited a long time, but that commercial is finally here

Damn, I wish I could find that short film online right now - as you can see, it's exactly that story that "Neo Sports - Tension" tells in the same manner. The similarity is rather un-funny. Does anyone else out there recall this film? I normally don't post half-baked Badlanders but I fear that my crummy memorybanks and google-fu has failed me in finding this short film, so I turn to you dear readers in the hopes of finding it or at the very least more about it. Help?

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Anonymous Adgrunt's picture
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Dabitch's picture

One more thing I recall about the Japanese short film: it was screened at the Pathe Schouwburgplein if that helps anyones google-fu.

bittertruth's picture

O&M and McCann Mumbai, India are known in India for doing ghost ads.
Or they run it once just so that it can "qualify" for award shows. (Like"Tension")
If they get caught the top creative directors pass the buck to some poor junior who gets the sack.
India leads the way in scam ads followed by Singapore and Brazil.

alex's picture

If that's true, it stinks. I mean, it's only advertising for God's sake. It's only an award that matters to no-one but the industry.

bittertruth's picture


Not just that they buy columns inches to press to boast about their wins.
India's GDP is the sceond-fastest growing in the world after China but in terms of creativity we are stagnating.

bittertruth's picture

Dabitch and others,

What percent of ads that won at Cannes are fake or scam ads?
80%? 70? 50?

How about setting up an online poll?
The organisers of Cannes are laughing all the way to the bank.

purplesimon's picture

Anyone care to run a headline on ads that aren't scams that have won awards, seems to me that'd be more newsworthy!

Dabitch's picture

I get no traffic on such headlines. ;9 Everyone loves to gossip and accuse ads of beings scams.

Personally I could care less if it was a run-once thing, it's still quite the nice ad. However, if I can find that short film and show y'all, I think you'll agree that it is a rip-off. I hope they hired the same director - that's OK by me, as long as the original creator gets some credit where due (and cash so he can make more great films)

purplesimon's picture

It sounds real familiar in terms of short films, but can't find it in my memory banks either. Must be all that weed I smoked in my youth! :)

I've mailed a few friends on the business, see if they know what and where, etc. I hate it when I don't know the answer to something like this. And how dare Google fail us!

bittertruth's picture

If only you could get the name!
Alas and alack.

sakibafridi's picture

WHO CARES!!!!!! They did it and they won. Congratulations to them. If it ran once, it qualifies. Big deal. It's still creative excellence and it's still good work. Cannes is not about effectiveness, it's about creativity.

To Alex's point, these awards may be just for the industry, but awards are the currency by which creatives get raises, bonuses, promotions and better job offers. That is how creatives move up in the world.

Just like the account people move up by displaying strategy and using as many marketing jargons as possible and making good with the clients (ok, a bit insensitive there, sorry), creatives use awards to further their career.
It's just a tool.

Let it go people, let it go. Celebrate the creativity. Don't hate, congratulate!

Dabitch's picture

>> Celebrate the creativity.
I'm with ya! This post is about the ad being a rip-off more than the hearsay of being a once-runner (that can't be confirmed, like I said, gossip amounts to just hearsay - I just wanted a new angle on a Badlander since I couldn't find the Japanese short film it copies to a T - sorry. But now I learned something new, headlines like that get the clickthroughs even if you dispel the headline in the opening paragraph.)

As for the Japanese short film, I've stumped plenty of online forums trying to figure out what it was called already. Aaaargh! Annoying, as it was awesome and I really wish I could show it to y'all.

alex's picture

Quite happy to celebrate the creativity. My comment was in response to bittertruth's allegation about junior creatives being blamed and sacked if a scam is revealed. I know winning awards is how creatives get on in the world, but if it turns nasty then surely any right-thinking individual can see that no gong is worth crushing another person for. *climbs off soapbox"

Rogma's picture

This ad is not creative nor shpuld such behaviour be encouraged.

This ad did not ran. Do note that Crispin does such viral ads for real and which is paid for by the client. Check out its wins in the One Show and note that all its online work is for big brands and is paid for. Celebrate advertising agencies like that. Not ad agencies that don't do solid paying work for their actual clients.

This ad does not work with the sign-off. It seems to be creative for the sake of being creative for award submission. An ad should do more than just attract people to see it and leave it as that.

After all, when you ask them to see it, the next question is what do you want me to do after seeing it?

Poorly thought out. Draggy storyline. Such badly thoughout scam work should not be encouraged.

And blaming the production company? That's BS.

No production company would have submitted it without checking with the ad agency, unless the production company no longer wants to work with Saatchi.

bittertruth's picture

The Asian mentality ( bar Japan) is to condone rip-offs and hog the credit for someone else's work
Is it any wonder that Singapore and India lead the way in rip offs and scam ads?
Bollywood is littered with rip-offs galore.

TIME Asia story
It's True.
Asians Can't Think
Until it abandons its twisted Confucianism, the region will trail the West

Can Asians think? That's not a racist slur, it's the title of a book by Singapore diplomat Kishore Mahbubani. While he offers no answer, the question he poses is excellent and long overdue.

The facts are not in dispute: 1,000 years ago China under the Song Dynasty was the world's most advanced nation. Even 300 years ago China under the Qing rulers was first among equals. Yet in the past 100 years, the West's superiority over Asia has widened exponentially over any advantage the East ever enjoyed. No civilization with such a commanding lead, not even classical Greece, has declined more dramatically. The issue is not about economic growth or engineering dexterity; Asia's record in these areas is indisputable. It's about originality of the mind and its resulting influence over how mankind shapes the world.
Read the rest at:

Allan1's picture


You might want to set your link(s) with some html code so that we can click on it.

bittertruth's picture

Sorry a dud at HTML the link is there.
Google the headline and you will get the article.

Allan1's picture

no prob about the HTML - I can't show you it here, because it will just look like a link - as in:" [THIS IS NOT A REAL WEBSITE, DO NOT ATTEMPT TO LINK TO IT]. (BTW, ".sex" domains will soon be up for sale, probably for tremendously high prices).

Dabitch's picture

I thought sex domains were already for sale? Oh and that whole .anything thing is going to drive us all mad in the end, mereckons.

We have a .eu domain:

I'm just here to announce that I stumped ask metafilter in trying to find the name of that short film. I haven't stopped trying to find it though. ;)