This is one of those posts where I must apologize in advance for the topic I’m about to raise. On some level I’m astonished that human beings have made it this far without destroying ourselves.
If you haven’t seen this around the internet over the last few days, count yourself lucky. Being in the advertising field I’ve heard plenty about the controversy generated by the tasteless and downright nasty 9/11 ad for the World Wildlife Fund (WWE) created by a Brazilian ad agency, DDB Brazil, and run (once) in a local newspaper.
If the visual isn’t unsettling enough, the copy delivers the final punch: “The tsunami killed 100 times more people than 9/11. The planet is brutally powerful. Respect it. Preserve it.”
That such an ad was concepted and presented… drafted and a visual created… then run in a newspaper without someone raising a red flag is downright chilling. As a veteran of the advertising world, let me tell you no one (despite what the WWE was saying) does anything without sign-offs from BOTH client and agency.
In this, there is enough blame fro everyone.
Not surprisingly, the outrage has been so intense that the WWE was obligated to issue an apologetic statement about the ad on September 2nd. The hapless Brazilian ad agency had issued their own apology, and as an extra measure of sincerity, fired the creatives involved with the ad. Until this bit of creative prowess WWE Brazil and the agency had worked in harmony for three years with quite a number of ads to their credit.
But those ad execs (creatives, too) are always pushing for better… harder… edgier.
If all this isn’t bad enough, there’s more. This heinous bit of advertising sludge was then entered by parties unknown into an annual advertising contest. A contest! Sponsored by a group out of Manhattan no less. It seems that officials from The One Show, the group that affixed a merit award for public service to the piece, saw fit to pull it from their website last Wednesday.
It’s just so sad to see that as the 8th anniversary of that awful, dreadful day draws near, there are so-called professionals (in my field) who will stoop so low as to trade thier souls for a winning campaign. Maybe those creatives weren’t Amercians… nor the client/agency brass… but certainly those who thought this piece of trash was worthy of an award should be ashamed of themselves.