Flap over Aussie Cannes winner

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Australian advertisers could make it tougher for agencies to submit their work for ad contests, in the wake of a scandal in which Lowe Lintas & Partners Worldwide, Sydney, won a Bronze Lion for a fake ad entered at last month's Cannes International Advertising Festival.

The award-winning ad for Taronga Zoo not only had never run, but had been rejected by zoo officials. The Australian Association of National Advertisers yesterday issued a statement saying that rules, regulations and conventions concerning ownership of ad material urgently needed to be reviewed. General Manager Sara Morton-Stone said the AANA favors a formal advertiser sign-off process for entries in award competitions.

The AANA's statement came a day after Lowe Lintas Creative Director Marc Schattner resigned following an internal investigation into the incident.

"The Taronga Zoo advertisement was clearly ineligible on all possible grounds. The Taronga Zoo was not a client of Lowe Lintas Sydney, the advertisement had never run and obviously the Taronga Zoo had not given its permission for the entry," agency Executive Chairman Lionel Hunt said in a July 3 statement. In addition, he said, "Upon further investigation, we have found that this was not an isolated incident." Lowe Lintas' Bronze Lion-winning TV commercial for Artel Australia's plastic containers also "was found by us to be ineligible for similar reasons," Mr. Hunt said. "In other award shows, we have found that there is at least one other illegitimate Lowe Lintas Sydney award, for a Jif poster at the New York Festivals, and there may well be others, not yet identified."

Copyright July 2000, Crain Communications Inc.

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