Wednesday, June 8, 2011

"The Hard Sell": Taboo In Advertising

The above ads depicting humanity crimes as sport with ties to the 2008 Beijing Olympics were part of a campaign done by advertising agency TBWA France for Amnesty International. The very powerful campaign focusing on human rights (or lack there of) in China, however, was refused by Amnesty for being too negative. Well, TBWA's office didn't want its hard work to go to waste and decided to enter it into the Cannes Lions advertising contest. And then shit hit the fan.

The ad won an award. It got lots of attention online. The Chinese were pissed and called for boycotts. Amnesty denied all ties to the ads, reporting its original rejection. And TBWA Worldwide claimed the France office entered the contest unknowingly to everyone else in the agency and put out an investigation. So basically, everyone backtracked and didn't want anything to do with the campaign. And what a shame. It is a very innovative and creative concept. And the fact it has a real message on top of the creativity makes it brilliant.

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