So I first saw this ad for the World Wildlife Fund a couple of days ago and thought, what the majority of people thought, that it was tasteless and will no doubt upset a lot of people. However when I first saw it I had no idea it would create the attention that it has.
With information being so accessible on the Internet, it’s no surprise that it took a couple of days before the traditional media caught wind of it. But despite the World Wildlife Fund’s best efforts to separate themselves from the ad, it has brought them significant negative publicity, being discussed on major media networks such as CBC and NBC.
Just in case you haven’t seen it yet, here is the ad:
“The Tsunami Killed 100 Times More People Than 9/11.”
What’s unfortunate for the WWF, is that they didn’t do anything wrong. Their brand has literally become hijacked (sorry for the bad and inappropriate pun) by Brazilian ad agency DDB. They pitched the business, no doubt lost, yet their mock-up is all over the media and all across the Internet. The ad was never produced or approved by the WWF, who have condemned it publicly stating that it is an unauthorized use of their logo.
However despite it’s politically incorrect nature, this fiasco brings another issue to the forefront. Advertisers and agencies go through what can be a very lengthy and expensive approval process to ensure that any official advertising communicates their brand in a very specific and appropriate fashion. Companies have very detailed brand books and standards that must be followed to avoid the possibility of anything like this ever happening. Yet a simple leak of an unauthorized concept can destroy years and years of brand building in a matter of days.
But I guess there is no such thing as bad publicity, right?
As for DDB, all I can say is, did they honestly expect to win with this concept?