Maybe it's Because I'm not an American...
I wrote a big blog post all about the WWF/DDB Brasil advert, and then it disappeared. Really. I was saving it and everything. Of course, I won’t blame my tools. Entirely. I’m not sure if this correct/makes sense, but I was saving it from a download from my mail, so it was being saved somewhere online (or something). I couldn’t find it, so turned off my computer, only to realise where I could find it, but of course it wasn’t there anymore. I don’t know, it’s really not important. Anyway, the good thing that came out of it was that it meant I had to wait (waaay too annoyed to jump back in and write it again), to write it again, and that means that more has been published online about it, which gives me more to talk about.
So. If you’re wondering what I’m on about. Here is the print ad, and the video ad;
Firstly, there was enormous confusion about who had made it for who, why, who approved it, who didn’t approve it, we didn’t make it, oh yes you did, I didn’t approve it, oh yes you did, oh yes – so we did, and so did we, it’s behind you, no, I’ve gone off track. You get the picture. Eventually WWF and DDB accepted that they were ‘behind’ it, so to speak (I’m leaving out all the hoopla about the awards, as it’s not that relevant to this entry, suffice to say the print ad ran once in a little paper in Brasil, which was enough for it to be entered into the Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival. Needless to say, there has been enormous controversy over this…Google if you want to know more). Where was I, right, so they accepted responsibility, apologised, and all that.
My original blog was based upon how downright stupid WWF and DDB had been. T r a n s p a r a n c y. It’s...well it's clear that this is the key to success online. Do we really need more Sony, or Visit Denmark blogs and campaigns? Do they really think that people aren’t going to find out the truth behind these things? Oh man, I’m not going to go on about this, as I think we all know about it. Wake up.
My second gripe, and the more delicate one, is that of whether or not it’s ’wrong’. This is going to be the main topic of this entry, as I feel that everyone is with me on the first (I hope). You see, what I want to know is; was it really so bad?
I want to write a little *runs for cover* here, but I hate that sort of thing. Oh whoops.
OK, hear me out. I know it’s a delicate subject. It was a terrible event, and one which I (despite the fact that the only connection I have to it is the fact that I once stood at the top of the towers) will never, ever forget. God only knows how it is for those who lost someone, or were present when it happened. But then there was United 93. A Hollywood movie about it? That was OK. There was the conspiracy film, Loose Change, which basically said it was all on purpose, and that was OK (when I say 'OK', I know there was upset involved, but they're still out there). Other adverts like this;
They’re OK too. What? An advert with a dead solider on it in what appears to be Afghanistan, where families all over the world have lost loved ones – that’s OK?
I think the 9/11 advert is good.
There, I said it. It’s provoking. It’s engaging. It’s new. It breaks through the billion tones of shite we have to see every day. It uses events people remember, and can relate to. Fluffy pandas just don’t cut it anymore. Dan Douglass got it right when he said, “I'm sure the banning of it and the outrage that ensued its airing caused a secret surge of pride at DDB. After all, that's what advertising does - disrupt. And banning presents them with the ultimate bragging rights. Everyone's talking about it. Including me right now.” And me too.
It’s true, banning or controversy really puts you in the spotlight – I’m not saying that’s always good (did you ever find the father to August, Karen?), but just that he was right.
However, I don’t think he was quite so right when he said, “Putting aside the factual inconsistencies, what offends me is the total absence of logic about this ad. The attack on the Twin Towers was preventable. The tsunami was not.Nor will any future tsunamis be. What efforts of conservation would have stopped the Earth's crust fracturing anyway? Seismic shifts are as old as the Earth. Respect doesn't stop them. Regardless of how much ecological care we take from here on, we're due a big quake on the San Andreas fault any day now. And nothing we can do will prevent it. This ad is just bad.”
‘Factual inconsistencies’? Like what? It didn’t happen? Or that loads of planes didn’t really fly in to Manhattan? Or that they tsunami didn’t happen? I’m lost on that – besides; it’s an advert. When did facts really matter? Then there’s the ‘absence of logic’. Again – it’s an advert. I don’t think logic is ever high on the list. It’s not meant to say that we can stop tsunamis, earthquakes, volcanoes and other natural disasters, just that we should respect our planet, and maybe (Christ...how do I put this....) get a little perspective. In the terms of dead, I mean. 280,000 people? I just can’t even being to imagine what 280,000 people gathered together in a group would look like. The tsunami was terrifying. Watching it go from a few dead, to hundreds, to thousands, to hundreds of thousands over a few days – our Christmas holidays. Totally helpless – which is what we are, and always will be in the hands of Mother Nature. Which is why, to me, WWF and DDB got it right. Of course they never meant to offend, but we should respect our planet. I think we all too easily forget what an incredibly unstable lump of rock, earth and lava that we live on, and sometimes a little reminder won't go amiss. You might say 'what's the point when', as Doug said, 'we can't do anything about it?' But that kind of is the point. For me, the point is to gain perspective, and realise how so many thousands of people are killed, just as randomly and unjustifiably, by events that are completely out of our control. Let's respect the planet, and not dump waste left, right and centre, because God only knows what's going to happen in the future. We know how vicious the planet can be, and do we really want to provoke her? I don't.
With this, and the Visit Denmark controversy still ringing in our ears, Hasbro gave us a few ads, which, once again, I think are great!
Hmmm. Couldn't find any good pictures, so look here.
Surprise, surprise they turned out to be fakes, in that Hasbro never approved of them, so they couldn’t be entered in to any competition (which is another story). Why they wouldn’t want them to be, is beyond me. No, they’re not cosy little adverts, but run in the right places, they would have an effect. I like ‘em.
Just to round off, remember the Benetton adverts? Man, were they ever controversial! But boy, did we love them.
Anyway. That's all I wanted to say. I thought I'd give a little shout out to WWF and DDB and say that I liked it. The intern, or whoever the hell it was who gave the go-ahead, wasn't the only one.