Welcome to I'm Not Buying That, the blog where we dissect the woeful mistakes of the advertising industry. I'm your host, CJ Garrett, and I view terrible ads so you don't have to.

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Monday, March 28, 2011

Someone Went There

I've seen enough terrible advertising to know that nothing, NOTHING is sacred when it comes to getting attention - even if it's the worst kind of attention, and may get you beaten up repeatedly. Something about controversy makes marketing departments everywhere lose whatever sense they had and produce crap the like of which wouldn't look out of place in a sewer, under a pile of rotting garbage, crawling with rats and flies.

Now, there are competitions for the best ads in the world. As far as I can see, some of them have an odd selection criteria and reward agencies for being shocking instead of being good. Some not-so-ethical designers can even submit adverts that have never and would never get into print or onto a screen, because although marketing departments may get a bit silly sometimes, the legal team of a company know how to avoid shit getting serious.

This advert is a combination of these two ideas. It was never meant to be seen, but seen it was, and the Internet hive mind did not react well. Great tragedies, like a fart in a crowded room, are something you just don't draw attention to in case you get a metaphorical punch to the face. Using a great tragedy in an advert had better be for some kind of humanitarian cause, because quite frankly, only the most noble end can really justify bringing human suffering into the crass world of advertising.

This ad does not fall into that category.

Yeah. Someone went there.

There is more than one in the set, which I am not going to post or link to here. The ads went up on Ads of the World, and were subsequently pulled after complaints.

Now, here's where it gets interesting. The ads were originally attributed to M&C Saatchi, but they threw a total shitfit - here's the reaction of the regional PR, as you can see from the comments here:
I am writing officially from M&C Saatchi. My name is Kim Walker, I am President and CEO of M&C Saatchi Asia Pacific.
These appalling images are NOT the work of the agency and are NOT sanctioned or approved by either the client or the agency. The credits are incorrect and misleading.
They are the private work of a previous employee and were posted without any knowledge of the agency.
M&C Saatchi is mortified and disgusted by these so-called ads and despite not having any participation in theri creation, apologises for the understandable revulsion from those who see them.
IVAN _ please remove them immediately. They are not the work of the agency and to continue to credit the agency is defamatory.
Ivan is the admin of Ads of the World, and he wisely pulled them before the lawyer pitbulls were released. But... check out the start of this article here:

The images, which depict the World Trade Center, Hiroshima and Bhopal tragedies, appear as ads for skincare client VLCC, along with the strapline "Some scars never go." The art director responsible for creating and uploading the work - Chaman Singh - has since been fired by the agency, while the offending work has also been removed from the website.

Oh deary, deary me. (Italics are mine, by the way.) I thought Ms. Walker was implying that these were not done by M&C Saatchi in any way, shape or form initially, but this article kinda implies that an employee of the agency did do them, uploaded them to Ads of the World, and then got their stupid ass fired when the Internet took notice and started to kick up some heavy brand poison. And then the agency sent out this memo talking about a 'previous employee', in the usual damage control fashion that no longer surprises me in any way. (Why yes, I do believe that they're not actually sincere in apologizing - but then again, I am a nihilistic misanthrope who hates everyone.)

Possibly this is something that the guy did on his own time, and M&C Saatchi do deserve some credit for at least trying to make amends, but you know what? This shit is not new. Ads that accelerate past the boundary of good taste and and plain common sense are not new. This is what ad agencies do for a living. I think it's fucking despicable, but that's what we call precedent, kids.

Controversy. Shock and Awe. The Internet generation are so jaded that they won't take notice of anything else. And nothing is sacred.

It shouldn't be like that.

Alright, I know there's no funnies in this particular rant. I've asked Courage Wolf to respond to any whiners as a result.

Also, here's a book that is somewhat relevant and that definitely makes me feel better about all the shitty 9/11 advertising.

CJ, over and out


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