Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Those savages at local advertising agencies

Not a day passes by without some multinational suffering a horrendous PR nightmare because some "subsidiary in a far off land populated by savage advertising people have released a racist/homophobic/misogynistic/culturally-insensitive ad which does not comply with the values, mission, and vision of the oh-so-civilized and egalitarian mother brand whose headquarters are located in an oh-so-first-world country (but financially operates out of some tax-haven like Luxembourg or whatever)"...
Except this does not work any longer.
A few days ago - it was Dunkin Donuts in Thailand:
Today's blunder comes courtesy of Flora in a campaign in South Africa (normally one of the leaders of the world's advertising scene and this ad comes from Lowe + Partners Johannesburg):
It's a bullet-shaped expression saying "uhh, dad, I'm gay" targeting a heart made of china with the tagline "you need a strong heart today". Naturally, this left Lowe and partners scrambling to endorse the excuse of Sarah Dexter (of the agency in the far far off land populated by savage advertising people) "As the Managing Director of Lowe Johannesburg I would like to unreservedly apologize for this campaign and the unintended offence it has regrettably caused. We have requested the immediate removal of this work from all media."
Now here's a joke! "Removal of this work from all media"? If I was able to locate a relatively high resolution version of this advertising online, post in on my blog within the context of this post and store it in my archives, then likelihood is that thousands of people already stored it, have access to it, and will propagate it one way or the other. And whose fault is it? The "savages" in local advertising agencies of course!
Wake up - there is nothing called local advertising agencies. And no matter what the process is for ads to be vetted before they go out to the public, once they "come out" (ooops, is that a gay pun?) they "come out" - and not just from the closet, but to whole wide world!

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