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WWF lays a Smackdown on DDB Brasil

ElbowDropThey say that any publicity—no matter how bad—is good publicity. Sometimes it is so bad that it gives you a swift kick and a black eye for all the world to see. Social media allows these firecrackers and quickly turns them into full-blown bonfires.

A few months ago a print ad done by DDB Brasil on behalf of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) that has created gratuitous uproar around the world. The ad in question shows downtown NY with the twin towers about to be struck by airplanes, but the message is that Mother Natures’ tsunami in ’05 was 100 times worse.

Attention grabbing? Sure. Tasteless and insensitive? Most likely. But that is not the real problem. The REAL problem is that—according to WWF—the creative was never approved by them. Mr.Valente, president of DDB Brasil claims the creative was presented, approved, and ran Dec.08 in a local publication. Now it is a game of we said, they said in order to save their own reputations.

To add more mud to the mix, a complimenting commercial has surfaced. Originally denied by DDB that it was created by them, now rescinded, it has even been submitted to the OneShow and Cannes. Again, the creative was apparently not approved by the client.

The PR sides of both companies are working feverishly to fix the problem. Will the backlash towards DDB have any effect? Or will it quickly disappear in the short attention spanned news world? How did this come to this point? What happens now? Is your agency organized and responsible enough to let something like this happen? If not, give us a call.

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