Showtime Management and international partner Selladoor Worldwide have postponed the South African tour of the We Will Rock You musical to 2022. South Africa is currently in its third wave of Covid-19 infections and, as such, the government has implemented precautions that only allows for a total audience of 100 people.
From East London to some of South Africa's most storied agencies. After winning on global stages and achieving what she set out to on the inside of the corporate advertising machinery, Leigh-Anne Salonika is living her purpose, and in doing so working with brands to unlock theirsByEvan-Lee Courie
Last week it came to light that Ogilvy Johannesburg had submitted ads created for AETN's South African broadcast partner, MultiChoice, to numerous trade publications and blogs, as well as having entered it into numerous international ad awards - in spite of it never receiving approval from client.
In the meantime, it has been awarded a Silver Clio and was a finalist at The One Show, and one of the ads reportedly just ran in the latest issue of Migrate - the official Loerie Awards magazine. Marketing blog MarkLives.com had also blogged about it, as the campaign in question had been submitted by Ogilvy, along with information, which MarkLives published in good faith
Cease and desist
Then, last week, MarkLives.com received a cease and desist letter from AETN, parent company of The History Channel, demanding it remove advertising material for the channel from this site. It seems MarkLives was not the only site targeted by AETN's lawyers; Adsoftheworld.com removed the material from its site on the same day MarkLives received the threat of legal action.
When contacted for comment, Graham Pfuhl, marketing and sales director at MultiChoice, stated that the campaign in question had in fact been rejected outright by MultiChoice, and confirmed “no History Channel ads can be published without the prior authorisation of AETN.”
It is quite obvious that not only MarkLives.com but the local industry is owed an explanation.
The following set of questions were sent to Ogilvy:
Do you have a statement on the suspension (pending investigation) of the campaign in question by the Clio Awards?
Why did Ogilvy submit a campaign rejected by client to numerous international awards?
What is Ogilvy's view on scam ads and is this in fact what was submitted to said awards?
Will Ogilvy be issuing a formal apology to MultiChoice, AETN or the media organisations and award organisers which received legal threats as a result of this campaign running without client approval?
Will Ogilvy withdraw the campaign from all awards it might have been entered for, as well as return awards the campaign have already won?
Julian Ribeiro, MD at Ogilvy Johannesburg, responded with the following: “It is clear that there has been a misunderstanding regarding the circumstances surrounding the flighting of the ad, and its subsequent entry into creative awards shows. Ogilvy Johannesburg did pass the work by the local client. However, Ogilvy acknowledges that we did not go through the full and proper approval process. Ogilvy Johannesburg is taking all commercially reasonable steps to ensure that the material is removed from publication. Ogilvy, AETN and MultiChoice have been co-operating to clear up the misunderstanding, and the matter has been resolved.”
Having sidestepped most of the questions, the statement does little but muddies the water even further.
What does Ogilvy mean when saying that it passed work by local client without going through the full and proper approval process? If it were rejected by client, certainly it doesn't matter how formal or informal the process was - it should not have been submitted for awards.
Will Ogilvy be returning the Clio and any other awards that might have been received, given the information that has now come to light?
“Ogilvy Johannesburg is taking all commercially reasonable steps to ensure that the material is removed from publication - this includes its withdrawal from creative awards shows,” was the response from Ogilvy.
So it is giving back the Clio. Yes? No? Your guess is as good as mine...
Queried the matter
MarkLives also queried the matter with MultiChoice, which previously categorically stated that the campaign had been rejected outright. Pfuhl sent the following statement: “This incident has caused extreme embarrassment to both MultiChoice and Ogilvy as this campaign did not go through our rigid authorisation channels, which always insist on written sign-off. I believe that some staff at Ogilvy were not informed of this and the ads were distributed and entered for awards. Naturally, as we did not have AETN authorisation, efforts are being made to withdraw the campaign from all public showing, including award entries. Since this incident arose we have worked with both AETN and Ogilvy to reduce any damage done.”
Does this mean the campaign wasn't rejected, leading Ogilvy to submit the campaign to trade and to enter it into awards, but without actually having received final sign-off from top management?
Amid the lack of clarity, one point that can be made with reasonable certainty is that the campaign never saw the day of light outside limited trade exposure. Ogilvy could not launch the campaign without final sign-off, as certainly even ‘some' Ogilvy staffers realised. In fact, it remains uncertain that they even sought such permission.
With the discussion around the ads having been hijacked by ultra-conservative American commentators out to prove that the ads are anti-American, AETN, MultiChoice and Ogilvy have all been opened to abuse by a radical fringe.
With nobody acknowledging responsibility, our industry has suffered a major setback in terms of good governance and transparency and future South African entries to international awards will face tougher scrutiny from organisers.
Despite managing the brand reputations of some of the largest companies in the world, Ogilvy has failed to put in place any strategy to safeguard its own. It doesn't seem to realise that business as usual is no longer acceptable. Accountability is the new name of the game - I guess not only bankers and brokers missed that memo.
The CLIO Awards provided the following statement after removing the History Channel campaign by Ogilvy Johannesburg from its website last week pending further investigation:
“Ogilvy Johannesburg has withdrawn the entry from the 2009 CLIO competition.”
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Ogilvy's ain't the only one!-
A certain Lego ad that won a Cannes Grand Prix a few years back for a South African agency was a total scam - I've heard Lego isn't/wasn't even their client. Should they too not give back that award? I also heard the agency paid for the ad - isn't that also a scam? Not 100% sure, just want to check. Maybe someone out there can enlighten me.
This story points at a bigger problem in our industry.-
At what point is scam actually considered scam. Is work real if client has approved it, even if the agency paid for production and media costs? Or is work only real when client approves and pays for everything?
If the latter is true (And I think it's supposed to be), then I would bet that at least 50% of the work that won at Loeries last year would need to be 'pulled.' At least 50% of those awards would need to be sent back. Which then makes you think, "is the problem with Ogilvy Jo'burg, or the entire South African advertising industry?"
80% of award advertising is scam. Just look at what wins globally for South African agencies, have you heard or seen any of it. The loeries is as bad. But perhaps the question should be asked, why do creatives resort to this. The easy answer is they want the attention, the hard answer is that to have a creative profile in this country this is what happens because very few of the clients marketing departments are capable of buying great work.Internationally we were once up there, well except for the occasional spark that is no longer the case.
India, Brazil... all the 3rd world countries. Who can blame South African creatives they are competing against countries with multi-million dollar budgets. It seems like some South African's are taking a lot of pleasure out of Ogilvy getting caught out. How pathetic.
imagine if the Loerie judges were as hard on 'scam' as they are on stuff that's 'been done before'-
What would win if the judges were as hard on 'scam' as they are on stuff that's 'been done before?'
Maybe we should just stop taking ourselves so seriously and stop caring so much about whether stuff is 'scam', or whether it's 'been done.' It's only advertising, and we're in this business to have fun, aren't we?
wow... posibly the worst move ever from Ogilvy - no client approval no release, simple. How hard can it really be?
Having said its disappointing that the campaign was not approved - I thought it was a brilliant creative execution which hit the nail on the head - exactly what I would expect from the History Channel. In fact in my mind this reflects poorly on the History Channel for not approving the campaign.
Just my two cents....
I think agencies ought to be able to run ads "only once" or assist in the production of the campaign financially if they so choose - it's a free world and if an ad agency wants to spend its own money on their own ads, so what? My only proviso would be that the client does need to give permission, and the ad does need to appear - even if it's only once. There are no rules in any award show anywhere in the world which state that an ad must appear a certain number of times - once is enough. Those are the rules. I think there is a lot of schadenfreude here with Ogilvy - because every agency runs ads or posters for clients large and small that could be considered scam. My point of view is this: should only big budget global brands be allowed to run ads? Or does the little guy get a look in?
What happened here is that the overseas client probably didn't sign off on it, only the local one. We all know how sticky the head office overseas can be! Frankly, can you really blame Ogilvy for wanting to do some interesting work for the History Channel? If I had that account I'd also be salivating.
However, the ads in question are based on very disputable facts, and a brand like the History Channel should never allow any room for doubt as to the authenticity of its statements - and THAT is the only problem here as I see it. Clearly the Americans were offended by some of the statements - and this is what happens when you base your campaign on spurious, questionable facts - ones that can be manipulated to suit your argument, rather than rock solid data.
Why don't you all spend less time criticising everyone else and go make some ads. Maybe you could even win a shiny prize and then you wouldn't have to use this platform and the ill-fate of others to make you feel special. Huh?
Not getting permission is just retarded. Loads of award-winning ads have been pro-active work sold to a client and paid by the agency. It's a scam when the client didn't give permission. I'm a creative and I've done proactive stuff because it's the chance to work on cool stuff and there is nothing worse than seeing a concept you have (gathering dust in your drawer) entered by another agency who happened to come up with the same idea.
Permission from client = genuine award.
Not permission = unfortunate scam.
Sometimes clients can be the dumbest things on earth and not grasp the awesomeness of a concept. Sometimes the idea isn't sold well enough. Sometimes it isn't that great.
Every time you need permission. Otherwise it's basically student work.
This is bad. I wouldn't want to ruffle feathers with a client like MultiChoice - just imagine how much they spend each month. All the creative work for the billboards, DStv ads in all mags, etc. I've lost all respect for Ogilvy. If you want good work, hire FoxP2. Just imagine what they'd be able to do with a client like The History Channel. Shame on you, Ogilvy. You're ruining SA's reputation just as badly as your client, the ANC!
Tstotsi never officially ran either. No fake copies were ever made or sold to members of the public. A couple of scam photos were taken of someone holding the scam disc on the side of the road. all figures supplied as proof were fabricated to make it look as if the campaign actually did anything. It won lots of awards all over the world, the judges were clearly fooled. So the only awards ever won by Damon for were for something that never actually happened. Awards made of dishonesty and lies. Surely those who actually came up with the idea should get some credit? But then why would any of them want to be known as a thief, a Tstotsi?
Your commenting has reached the bounds of freakish jealously and rantish lunacy - From an intellectual conversation deteriorating to the realm of yellow dogs fighting for scraps and nipping each others ankles. Grow up, why the hell should this become the battle ground for sunken ego's and failed advances? Loeries has only highlighted and bred this bitter poisonous environment with "Stoke you ego". Bloody Monstrous - In the words of David Ogilvy - "If it doesn't sell, it isn't creative."
Guys the point is this. It's fine that they did a scam ad. We're all guilty of that. What isn't fine is that the client never approved it. That is the issue. If DSTV said fine, enter it, but we're not paying for that, then who cares. Good on Ogilvy, but the fact the client said no is wrong of them. Stop being hypocrites, every agency is guilty of scam.
I think certain creative "greats" should give thanks to the likes of Shots, Archive etc. who have helped build their careers through the award-winning work they've ripped off. You all know who you are.
Rest in peace.
Give back all the metal and come clean. You'd maybe get some respect from the clients you should be serving by rather taking the time to understand their brands and finding the most effective way of selling them. Isn't that what this industry should be about. Why do you think the Apex Awards are growing? Because they are about effective measurable advertising that produces results. Not who has the cleverest headline or cool visual. The plot has been lost somewhere. Do proper work and stop feeding your own pathetic egos. It is not sustainable business.
It's not about ego's. While it does feel warm and fuzzy to be a winner, it's actually about bargaining power and remuneration. Good porti, bigger salary. Don't blame the creatives, blame the guys who turned recognizing "Award Winning Work" into a very lucrative business. They set the bar and the creatives jump. It's a shame that creatives have to resort to scam to get great work done. Scam would not exist if clients and creatives were on the same page strategically and creatively. I feel the later is a word that clients secretly despise. As they have probably had it shoved down their throats by creatives justifying their way-off-strategy-jerk-off of a campaign. I'm sure clients all appreciate great creative but when asked to adopt clean, single minded layouts they get nervous. Until we can all agree that good creative work, works, there will be scam.
Let's sort this out like real men. All ego's meet on the train tracks behind the Woodstock train-station at 11h00 tomorrow morning. Each agency send your 3 most scamming, award-winning weasels. The last man standing receives a mirror to stare at himself and consider how insubstantial he really is in the big scheme of things, as well as a small shrew. Only home-made weapons allowed. Terms and Conditions Apply.
My name is Earl and I specialize in scams, business cards and glamour shots for up-coming models. I'll be in the Vida on Kloof this evening at 16h30 if anyone is interested. I'll be in a blue polar-neck. I have ginger hair and striking green eyes.
Although this incident has caused embarrassment to all the players involved,I find it strange that Mr Manson has left out an important part of the e mail I wrote him recently.
It went as follows" We have had a long and successful relationship with both AETN and Ogilvy.I believe that Ogilvy has always had Multichoices interests at heart and certainly still does"
Marketing and Sales Director
Was the work passed through the correct channels for approval?-
If this is the case, then there should be no fuss and the ad is legit and can be entered into any awards' ceremony. Or, what channels were left out in the approval process. Was the campaign bombed outright?
Your point is completely valid, and I hope that there are clients out there who will be reading this.
While we can't class all clients in this category, I reckon 90% fall within this group of bleating sheep. It's tough to find a client who has the balls to put something new out there. Not something that was approved by some rediculous research group, or something that worked for Egypt, Turkey or a place called Yemin.
The bottim line is that client need to grow a set. Fast.
If you have been in the business a while, you'll know how it works. And that's the fault of all parties. From award-obsession, to under-qualified and risk-averse clients, to a flawed, hyper-competitive business model. (I've been there as agency MD.)
That said, permission should have been obtained - but frankly the ads were smart, excellent (and actually make a very good, hard-hitting point), and Fran Luckin is a brilliant creative whose integrity I'd consider above reproach.
If this thread is to be believed, being a creative is one of the toughest jobs around. But can just anyone be a media journalist? Is Mr Manson capable of anything more than agency-bashing and sensationalist headlines?
Further to your comment on Bizcommunity.com, the quote in question was not included in the story as I never questioned Ogilvy's intent towards you as a client. I have however now published both your statements in full on MarkLives.com for the sake of full disclosure (http://www.marklives.com/wordpress/?p=634).
Editor - Mark Magazine & MarkLives.com
Clients are well aware of scam work done purely for awards. It makes good sense for us. We tell the agency that we have no money, knowing very well that their proactive budget will cover the production. The advert then runs somewhere like the Witbank Herald. If the advert wins awards, we enjoy all the free publicity that comes from it. Maybe more clients out there should embrace the willingness of agencies to do ads for free.
The truth is out there, and in here, and maybe over there, too.-
You open a can of worms, you should have to deal with the consequences. There is more than one issue involved, which begs further discussion. It's very easy to label something "scam" rather than a "mistake" or "miscommunication" especially for the sake of a good headline. There are also many "truths" involved in advertising, as anyone with any experience in the business knows. Politics, nepotism, long held grudges and backroom deals all have an influence on the business.
To speak of one "truth" is naive at best. But good luck, Bob Woodward. Hope you find your Deep Throat.
…but we don’t see too many campaigns entered there because:
a.) it requires a REAL campaign for a REAL client on a REAL brief with conclusive proof of RESULTS in the marketplace, and
b.) entering involves writing a comprehensive and coherent case study – a bridge too far for most agency rock stars.
The industry is sick not because of debate and discussion but because we have sold ourselves down the river by falling for the biggest scam of them all - the awards scam. Mags wanted advertisers, sure way to pull it in is to create lists, like lists of the top 'creative' agencies. Its all bullshit anyway. You are right, lets do some real work, and tell award shows to f*** off. Maybe then we will have some time to build real relationships with our clients ...
deep sea diver for the truth, Hermie baby has made the waters murky himself with selective reporting, presumptive, unfounded opinions, and appointing himself the guardian of South Africa's international advertising reputation. Perhaps while you're down there, you can find what's left of his credibility. I hear it's a little north of the Titanic.
BUT............ does it sell the advertised product?-
Coming in very late on this sometimes acerbic thread, I would like to ask the question.
Look at ads that win awards (yes even the scam ones, seeing as they are the majority these days) and ask yourself the question (probably the one the client also asks) ..... will the consumer rush out and buy the product or use the service advertised or is it just making the people in the advertising industry sit up and say....WOW what a brilliant ad.(and that is only because we know what went into the creation and not because are all consumers)
I trust you're not in advertising, because if you were, you would know that many ads are designed to simply intrigue, inform, create a perception, depict a lifestyle, build a brand character people want to associate themselves with, plant a seed, tease, dangle a carrot, etc...
I worked at Ogilvy for some time and can assure you that this was no "misunderstanding". Approval processes are rigid. With Ogilvy desperate to show off creative ability they very often make the biggest mistake of all - not keeping their clients happy. It has been a problem with the company for some time now and the results is now I think obvious to all. Ogilvy has one goal - to look good in the industry - this was another pathetic attempt. Forget about the industry Ogilvy - make money for your clients - that is why you are in business. If you do this then maybe one day you will be on top again.