WWF condemns unauthorized 9/11 'scam ad'

Picture 483.pngWorld Wildlife Fund today issued the following statement in response to a 'scam ad' created by DDB Brazil which was posted on several Internet sites including Adsoftheworld that has been inaccurately linked to the organization and contains messages and images related to the events of 9-11.

"WWF strongly condemns this offensive and tasteless ad and did not authorize its production or publication. It is our understanding that it was a concept offered by an outside advertising agency seeking our business in Brazil. The concept was summarily rejected by WWF and should never have seen the light of day. It is an unauthorized use of our logo and we are aggressively pursuing action to have it removed from websites where it is being currently featured. We strongly condemn the messages and the images portrayed in this ad. On behalf of WWF, here in the US and around the world, we can promise you this ad does not in any way reflect the thoughts and feelings of the people of our organization."

WWF in the US also used Twitter to condemn the ad.

However, the ad is not new. It was approved by WWF Brazil according to DDB Brazil - and ran once in a small local paper. It later won a Merit Award at The One Show in May this year without attracting any controversy.

UPDATE: The controversy picked up by AdAge
UPDATE: See the video version of the ad, which DDB Brazil denies any knowledge of.


Anonymous said:

The advertising industry shows it's awesomeness once again. When are we going to stop acting like total tools?

Anonymous said:

A scam charity ad? From Brazil? Nooooooo. I don't believe it.

Next thing they'll be saying all that ambient stuff done in Auckland isn't kosher.

Anonymous said:

And when I walk around that exhibition hall in Cannes where all the finalists are showcased, I'm led to believe that Amnesty International is a bigger client than Proctor & Gamble.

Anonymous said:

wwf scam ad wins award. This is news how?

Dave L said:

I didn't know that looking after wildlife could help stop an earthquake which in turn causes a tsunami.

Scam aside, what were those monkeys at the One Show thinking? This ad doesn't make sense and yet they've given it a merit. They've awarded a logo.

Anonymous said:

Seems to me they probably did approve the ad in Brazil otherwise WWF surely would be using language like 'pursuing legal action'. No?
It will be interesting to see who gets the bullet. Do you think we'll have another CD point the finger at the creative and claim they didn't know anything about it? Even though they've spent countless head hours crafting. Which may I add is done superbly.

Anonymous said:

Ok, it's a scam.
And it wasn't even sanctioned by the client.

But, is it clever? Does it strike a truth? Does it work as a piece of communication?

Maybe upon seeing the ad the need for eveyrday Australians to react is lessened - considering our known response to the Boxing Day Tsunami.

But for a greater audience is there a worthy message here?

It's interesting to note that this ad was created in Brazil but bound for the big international shows. Where if it had run only in Brazil it certainly would not have been subject to the gauntlet of global diplomatic sensitivities.

Anonymous said:

It's pretty simple really.

While the industry continues to place currency (in terms of awards and jobs) in insanely-crafted ads for insanely-small budget clients, people will continue to create fake ads like this. You see these ads all over the wall at Cannes, and you can hardly blame the people who make them.

The advertising industry is made up of some very intelligent people. But as a collective, we're disappointingly stupid.

Anonymous said:

Oh yeah, the ad itself may look nice, but it's totally fucking stupid.

Save the planet, because the planet is powerful? What sort of fucking idiot logic is that? Whoever judged this worthy of a one show finalist should hang their heads in shame.

If anything, demonstrating the power of the planet would only make us feel that it's too big, too powerful for us to harm.

That's a really stupid ad.

scram scam said:

Don't print them and maybe they will go away.

Anonymous said:

Interesting to see it won an award at One Show of all places.

The Cynic said:

The Ad doesn't even make sense!! WWF is a conservation fund!!! but somebody saw a controversial image with a famous logo on it and went "oooooo, Merit".

It makes DDB Brazil like one big self serving joke. Not something i think the rest of the DDB network would want. Heads will roll and should.

Creatives should be sacked not just for a scam but for a scam that doesn't make sense!!. Including the Creative Director who is probably now thinking of ways of divorcing himself from all responsibility.

Anonymous said:

9:27 'you see these ads all over the wall at Cannes, and you can hardly blame the people who make them'. Are you for real?

Of course you can blame them. We all have a choice. We can choose to do obnoxious, insensitive, tasteless work, or not . DDB brazil chose the latter because it's more concerned how cool they look regardless of how poorly it reflects on themselves, DDB or the industry.

Anonymous said:

It's all been said before but 9.27 nails it.

Look around you at the people in the corner offices who have made careers winnning
metal for print 'campaigns' for wwf, amnesty, gun control, land mines blah blah.

If you keep rewarding people for doing it, it will continue.

Fortunately the best work at Cannes this year wasn't for these ads and it is becoming more the case. Good luck finding a gig these days with a book of these 'campaigns'. Unless its in singapore or Dubai.

Anonymous said:

Why don't you people get it?

It's a simple idea. Pretty obvious if you step back and think about it.

It's trying to convey that more people die from effects of global warming than they do from terrorism. That global warming is more dangerous than terrorism. That perhaps more money should be spent on fixing global warming instead of blasting civilians with unmanned drones.

Why can't you people see the connection? Are you just stupid? Ignorant? Or just jealous this got a One Show?

Seriously... Can you not see what I mean? Or are you just trying to poke holes in it because you think others will agree with you?

For people that large corporations trust to solve their communication problems a lot of you seem to be cripplingly naive.

I'm not saying it's a good ad, or if it's message is true. But 99% of ads are just lame anyway. What makes this draw such drivel?

So what, another scam ad with 911 in it? Big whoop.

Anonymous said:

disgusting & pointless

Anonymous said:

These guys have a history of doing this because they're absolutely award obsessed.
It's the same obsession that dominates these blogs.

Anonymous said:

One Show's credibility is less than one

Anonymous said:

What a bunch of dumb c*nts.

Anonymous said:

This is highly offensive and whilst the collective 'we' have been terrorising nature since the beginning of time, this kind of work has no relevance and should never have seen the light of day.

john said:

Of course, DDB Sydney would never do a scam ad would they?

Anonymous said:

At least link the idea to global warming or something else that results from human activity. It looks pretty cool. But how dumb to you need to be to enter bullshit work in award shows? Like you won't get busted!

Anonymous said:

"It's trying to convey that more people die from effects of global warming than they do from terrorism. That global warming is more dangerous than terrorism. That perhaps more money should be spent on fixing global warming instead of blasting civilians with unmanned drones."

It took me 9 seconds to read , does the average poster/print reader spend that much time figuring it out?

Anonymous said:

11:04 -
you're a fucking tosspot and a bloody idiot.

Anonymous said:

How is this any different from the "boutique" work that comes out of Asia?

The Cynic said:

You monkeys cannot be serious. The Tsunami was NOT caused by global fucking warming, it was a random underwater geological event brought about by the shifting of tectonic plates, which has been going on since the dawn of time.

Anonymous said:

Like most people, I read these comments and chuckle at the bile that spills forth. But I do wonder what the marketing industry as a whole makes of us when they to read the same comments.

The adweek website has a similar comments feature, but the comments must be heavily filtered, because it's generally constructive criticism or an interesting discussion

I like the anonymity of the Campaign brief blog because in theory, it should allow a greater variety of discussion points, posted from people who feel free to make controversial points. But all too often, it just descends into a flame war. And I think we're missing a trick.

I'd like to know what people think about the idea of banning award shows altogether, or failing that, introducing harsher penalties such as banning agencies for 5 years for entering scam advertising into award shows.

Both of these discussion points came from the agency spy comment section, which while still full of spleen venting and profanity, does manage to extend the discussion about scam ads into areas a little more interesting than the default "I'm-angry-and-have-a-computer" stuff we often get on our blog.

Anonymous said:

I like to call ads like this one, 'gay ads'.

Anonymous said:

11.04 you moron.
The tsunami was caused by a fucking earthquake, not global warming.

Hang on, are you for real or just being sarcastic?

Anonymous said:

Visually very arresting... But I don't get it.

Anonymous said:


Rollerblading and bicycling kill more people than either of these issues.

So what's the spin.

To save the environment, people are forced to ride bikes to work, therefore creating more deaths due to biking.

One Show is a SCAM festival, always has been.

Anonymous said:

this is One Show full o'Scam.

Anonymous said:

11.04, you are simply a fool.

Anonymous said:

"The Tsunami killed 100 times more people than 9/11"?

Dates don't kill people. Terrorists kill people.

oh, and Tsunamis.

Anonymous said:

This is the kind of ad you do when you're a student at an advertising college. You think it's really clever, then after a few years working at a proper ad agency you look back at your your student portfolio and go god wasnt that a naive idea! Kind of like the "our brownie won't eat your pet dog" billboard. They're both in the same category.

Anonymous said:

The creatives who did this Ad are terrorists themselves.

They have torn a side of an organization that seeks to help people, and you can hear they're(WWF) hurt in the back-peddling comments made about the Ad.

Anonymous said:

See the tv ad. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7YPNhpxX5qs
DDB Brazil is now claiming the ad was aurhorised and ran locally.

Methinks WWF USA/Global wasn't impressed when it found out, but WWF Brazil loved the leveraging this ad did off the bias against gringos that sits deep in the psyche of every South American.

Anonymous said:

I don't find this ad offensive at all. People obviously need to get some thicker skin - something you would assume is gained from being involved in advertising.

As far as the message goes, I thought it was incredibly easy to get what was being said - which, to my understanding was that while we all cry and walk on eggshells around the topic of 9/11, we have little regard for the natural disasters that claim countless lives.

How WWF relates to natural disasters is beyond me though.

Anonymous said:

Nice one DDB.

Many big names have built their careers/large homes doing exactly the same thing.

Most them end up on the juries and the big wheel keeps on turning.

It's pathetic.

There should be a black list for blatant scammers.

Get rid of them. Let the real creatives have the salary and power.
The industry would be a lot better for it.


Anonymous said:

Ok so a tsunami caused by an earthquake killed more people than that inside job Zeitgeist keep talking about so I should donate to panda's.

Can I try what they're having?

Anonymous said:

Spottswoode: From what Intelligence has gathered, it would be 9/11 times 100.
Gary: 9/11 times 100? Jesus, that's--
Spottswoode: Yes, 91,100.

Anonymous said:

From what I can gather, it was approved, then magically it wasn't, then it was all the juniors fault.

Plus the TV spot - in one instance they claim someone did it and posted it on the internet without their knowledge... but the slide screen says 'DDB'... and it's had buckets spent on it.

Man up DDB, ¿es usted Brasil o Brassieres?

Anonymous said:

11:04 and 8:53 You simply can't compare natural disasters with terrorism, they are completely different.

This ad might be offensive to some and not to others but it just simply doesn't work.

It's like saying to an African "Yeah sure Aids kills a few of people here and there but if we don't start looking after the environment Mother Nature will kill more."

Surely all facets of death and destruction are worthy of our attention and money as equally as each other.

Anonymous said:

love the ad.

i get it right away... dont know why some of you guys dont.

the way i interpreted it is that, if you dont love and take care of the earth, itll harm you back. like a karma thing.

puts things in perspective too.


Anonymous said:


Anonymous said:

You're a bunch of conservative wankers.

I like the ad. And the message.

Anonymous said:

ivan | Wed, 2009-09-02 20:32
I'm afraid it's not a fake. Client just changed its mind, but it's been already out there.

The Cynic said:

Maybe it got a merit at The One Show
because it was only shown once.

Mike said:

If someone used the bali bombing you'd feel the same i assume 11:53?

Someone please post a link to 'Here's a dead dog where's my award?'.

The Cynic said:

(WWF is a conservation fund. The Tsunami was not mankind's doing)

11:53 you and others that support this ad are idiots , you are either
A. Ignorant and mesmerized by shiny things.
B. Desperate for attention
C. Both.

Anonymous said:

been done by ddb auckland 2 years ago for anti-smoking client. burning cigarettes were fused with nyc skyline. exaxt same thought; 'smoking kills more people than 911'.

Anonymous said:

the point is that the harshness that nature can dole out dwarfs what even the most nefarious man-made schemes can do. And as such, we should respect nature instead of defecating all over it like we have been. That while the forces we are dealing with are uncontrollable, they are still worthy of the same attention and resources that we've wasted on a much smaller problem affecting fewer people.

Anonymous said:

The commercial was never aired.The ad does not exist. One single reason: both are in english. Fake all over it. Alas, fake allover DM9DDB, Africa, Loducca and MPM. They are all agencies from the same group, the same owner. The infamous Nizan Guanaes. He is to blame.

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