When Advertising Bites

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Filed under: Hype, Spin

‘Nightmarish’ Ad Created for WWF Shows Planes Converging on NYC
September 2, 2009

New York — It’s enough to make New Yorkers who lived through the Sept. 11th terror attacks sick.


A print ad (above) purportedly for the World Wildlife Fund in Brazil featuring dozens of airplanes converging on lower Manhattan with the line “The 2004 Tsunami killed 100 times more people than 9/11.” The final line in the ad is “The planet is brutally powerful. Respect it. Preserve it.”

The piece was a “spec” ad from the Brazilian branch of ad agency DDB Worldwide, according to Adweek.com. It has been was strongly condemned by the U.S. World Wildlife Fund.

The World Wildlife Fund has issued this statement:

“WWF strongly condemns this offensive and tasteless ad and did not authorize its production or publication. It is our understanding that it was a concept offered by an outside advertising agency in Brazil. The concept was summarily rejected by WWF and should never have seen the light of day. It is an unauthorized use of our logo and we are aggressively pursuing action to have it removed from websites where it is being currently featured. We strongly condemn the messages and the images portrayed in this ad. On behalf of WWF, here in the US and around the world, we can promise you this ad does not in any way reflect the thoughts and feelings of the people of our organization.”

DDB Worldwide issued this statement:

“The “˜Tsunami”™ ad for World Wildlife Fund Brazil was created by a team at DDB Brazil in December 2008. The team in question is no longer with the agency. DDB Brazil apologizes to anyone who was offended or affected by the ad. It should never have been made and it does not portray the philosophy of the agency.”

AdWeek called the ad “tasteless and nightmarish.”

photo: Adweek.com