Wednesday, September 2, 2009


I'm sure you've seen it by now. The DDB Brazil ad that got the WWF in trouble, even though they rejected it:

Headline: "The tsunami killed 100 times more people than 9/11. The planet is brutally powerful. Respect it. Preserve it."

According to Adfreak, WWF has said the ad was "never authorized or approved by any WWF person on the planet", DDB has apologized (in Portuguese), and the creative team has been terminated.

We all make bad creative judgements once in a while, especially with the need to stand out among media overload, but these missteps are usually corrected in the boardroom (or at last resort) by someone on the client end.

This ad, however, was submitted to the One Show — and even won an "award of merit". (Don't look for it now, though. It's gone.)

So the the work of a creative team in one corner of the world ends up making the whole industry look bad, just because they thought their concept was too good to go into exile in the spec portfolio. Thanks, guys. Just when we were starting to be hated a little less than lawyers.


  1. At times like this I ask myself WWDDD?

    What would Don Draper do?

  2. i think i remember seeing some aids awareness ads that played the same numbers game, i remember feeling a bit shocked, but i don't remember fallout like this one.

    i think there was some overreacting in this case. the whole thing brings to mind a great quote from the infamous scroobius pip: "thou shalt give equal worth to tragedies that occur in non-english speaking countries as to those that occur in english speaking countries."

  3. Lawyers are hated?! Really?!

  4. Well, except for the IP lawyers, "Anonymous"... who could possibly have anything against them?

  5. Crass, perhaps, but it certainly does make a point.

  6. But what exactly is the point? That we care more about people close to home? (Which has nothing to do with WWF's work.) Comparing the attack to human-caused hunger or disease would be a little more direct, but obviously way off strat.

    I think these guys just had a "shocking" concept that they couldn't let go of. They probably thought it up even before they had the client, and bent it as far as they could to try to fit the brief. Then they submitted it to the One Club because they realized nobody there would bother to check for actual placement in another (non-English) country.

    IMHO: Effective image, wrong message. And probably still "too soon"...