Agencies face five year awards ban for scam ads

A fraudulent awards entry from the Brazilian office of advertising agency DDB has triggered a crackdown on scam ads by one of the world’s biggest awards festivals.

The US-based One Show announced the zero tolerance rule change after the “Tsunami” DDB ad – purporting to be for WWF and featuring a squadron of airliners bearing down on New York during the 911 attack – was outed as a scam ad.

The One Show issued a statement saying:

In the light of the recent events surrounding the “Tsunami Ad” created by DDB Brazil for WWF, the One Club announces today that we will implement what we believe to be the most stringent and thorough “fake ads” policy in our industry.

The One Club defines “fake ads” as: ads created for nonexistent clients or made and run without a client’s approval, or ads created expressly for award shows that are run once to meet the requirements of a tear sheet.

For 2010 and onwards, the One Show will be adopting the following new rules and penalties.

1. An agency or regional office of an agency network that enters an ad made for nonexistent clients, or made and run without a client’s approval, will be banned from entering the One Show for 5 years.

2. The entire team credited on the “fake” entries will be banned from entering the One Show for 5 years.

3. An agency or regional office of an agency network that enters an ad that has run once, on late night TV, or has only run because the agency produced a single ad and paid to run it themselves*, will be banned from entering The One Show for 3 years.

* The One Club reserves the right to review ‘late-night, ran-once’ and launch versions, at The One Club’s discretion. If it is determined that the ad was created expressly for award show entry, the penalty will hold.

The One Club exists to champion excellence in advertising and design in all its forms. We will stringently enforce these rules and penalties to ensure that The One Show remains the pinnacle of advertising and design created for marketers and brands.

The One Show encourages other international award shows to follow suit with similar policies. In addition, we are in the process of developing an initiative in the agency, client, and creative communities, in which individuals and agencies will be called upon to monitor and eliminate “fake” ads at their source. A detailed guidelines will appear in the 2010 One Show Call for Entry.”

The issue of scam ads has also arisen in Australia. One of the most high profile incidents also involved DDB. Last year the Sydney office of DDB admitted that a series of ads it created had not been commissioned by clients. It ran print ads across a single column in a local paper, and a TVC only once in an early morning slot on a TV station in Adelaide. At the time, DDB said the staff member responsible had been reprimanded.

In the UK, the trade magazine Campaign banned a creative duo from its awards for three years, and permanently barred them from sitting on its jury after they won its print awards with a scam ad.


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