Ed Driscoll

WWF Walks Back Its Denial On 9/11 Ad


It’s deja vu all over again: much like the History Channel playing fast and loose with whether or not its Clio-award wining anti-American ad campaign actually ran in South Africa, the WWF walks back its denial on their 9/11-themed ad. “Pretty tired of this stupid dance”, Ace of Spades writes.  “An ad agency does not release confidential work-product of its client without someone somewhere signing off on it.”

More from Ace:

Oh, they originally claimed the ad was utterly unauthorized. Just some crazy kids in the copy room smokin’ the wacky tabackie and gettin’ all kinds of mischievous shenanigans.

Now comes a bit more of that sweet, sweet nuance.

Sergio Valente, president of DDB Brasil, said the ad was presented to the WWF in Brazil in December 2008 and approved; it then ran once in a small local paper.” When I saw it, I said stop running that ad,” Mr. Valente said.

Running an ad once is often a tactic to make it awards-show eligible, and “Tsunami” somehow ended up among a bunch of the agency’s submissions to this year’s One Show in New York…

After the WWF appeared to initially deny approving the ad, DDB Brasil and the WWF hammered out a statement posted in Portuguese on both groups’ Brazilian websites Wednesday afternoon apologizing for the ad and attributing it to “the inexperience of some professionals on both sides, and not bad faith or disrespect toward American suffering.”

Run an edgy (oooh!) ad once, get the buzz and the rewards, then claim that no one affiliated with your organization had anything at all to do with it.

Pretty tired of this stupid dance. An ad agency does not release confidential work-product of its client without someone somewhere signing off on it.

Ace also links to a viral YouTube video the WWF released built around the same digital artwork as their print ad (pictured above), featuring a fleet of airliners about to pound the WTC:

[youtube X1mFoTQNivc]

(H/T: The Rhetorican.)

Update: Allahpundit notes further weaseling in the above Ad Age link regarding the 9/11-themed video:

A DDB Brasil spokesperson in Sao Paulo said a video version of the ad being circulated on the internet was not done or authorized by the agency or the client. She said DDB execs first saw the video, which features slightly different copy, on the internet and don’t know who created it.

Allah responds:

Really? So some wily amateur video producer out there happened to stumble across a print ad that only ran once in South America and was so taken with it that he churned out a slick animated version on his own dime? Humor me for a moment and assume that this is, in fact, the handiwork of DDB. If so, exactly how many “inexperienced professionals” contributed to — and approved — the spot?

To bring this post full circle, to build on Ace’s reply at the start of this post, I’m pretty tired of this stupid dance from businesses and their ad agencies that think a nihilistic campaign such as this is a hip way to “push the limits” and then weasel out as quickly as possible when their bluff is called. In terms of buying the “talent” to produce such ads and then the space to run them, it’s the million dollar equivalent of another of the individual leftist’s favorite get out of jail free card, the botched joke.

Update: 9/3/09: If you click on the above video, you’ll see that it’s been pulled from YouTube — fortunately, we managed to rescue it from the memory hole before it vanished completely. Click here or below to watch it in its entirety.

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