The agency's two Gold Lions (for Press & Poster and Cyber), picked up for Johnson & Johnson's lubricant gel KY, are being discredited by the client. McCann-Erickson Worldwide has been Johnson & Johnson's agency for KY for the past three years.
In a statement, Johnson & Johnson said, "[The print ad] was created without the involvement or approval of any of [the company's] employees."
It continues: "The company also informs that this account has been at McCann-Erickson for over three years."
DPZ declined to comment.
This appears to be the first major 'scam ad' of the 2002 International
The previous year, the company that owns the world's premier advertising festival and its judges became obsessed with stamping out scam ads.
A scam ad can include an ad that was never approved by a client or an ad that ran once in order to technically qualify for an advertising contest.
Last year Cannes officials were on the lookout for scam ads because of several embarrassments from the 2000 festival. That year, Lowe Lintas & Partners Worldwide, Sydney, returned a Bronze Lion for a print ad after the Taronga Zoo said it had rejected the winning ad because it portrayed animals in a manner contrary to the zoo's ethos. The agency returned a second Bronze Lion for a TV spot for Atrel Australia's plastic containers.
Scam ads are not new. They are know as "truchos" in Spanish, and Brazilians call them "fantasmas" or ghost ads.
This year, DPZ's Rio de Janeiro office picked up a Gold Lion Press Award in the health and beauty section and a Gold Cyber Lion Award in the rich media banners section. Both were for Johnson & Johnson's KY Jelly product.
DPZ, headquartered in Sao Paulo, courted controversy in Brazil five years ago when it created a commercial for Johnson & Johnson's Jontex condoms featuring a father and son discussing the younger man's sexual relationship with another man.