Wednesday, 16 July 2008

TBWA's Amnesty China Adverts

Omnicom ad agency TBWA has got itself in a bit of hot water pre-Olympics. The agency has been working on two briefs according to the Wall Street Journal. One, for Adidas (see below), shows Chinese sports icons held up by legions of adoring fans. The other, for Amnesty International (see above), shows Chinese athletes being tortured under the strapline "After the Olympic Games, the fight for human rights must go on"

Chinese netizens are all over this story, proposing a boycott of all TBWA ads. The agency has tried to distance itself from the Amnesty ad, claiming that it was the work of a lone creative working on a pro bono account.

TBWA won't be the first foreign company to feel the wrath of the Chinese internet population, an increasingly potent and active community. Earlier this year, Carrefour was boycotted by many Chinese and as the WSJ points out, luxury retailer LVMH dumped Sharon Stone from it's Chinese mainland marketing campaign after she commented that the Sichuan earthquake which killed around 87,000 people and left 5 million homeless might have been karma for China's role in Tibet.

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