Festival Finds Controversial Entry 'Clearly Eligible'

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CANNES ( -- Claims that Grey Worldwide's Grand Prix winner in the outdoor competition at Cannes yesterday was lifted from a 1990s Gary Larson cartoon featuring the
On the left is the 'The last thing a fly ever sees,' a cartoon by Gary Larson from the 1990s. On the right is a portion of the image from this year's Grand Prix outdoor winner, which also uses a similar tagline. Click to see
larger image.

same tagline and honeycomb visual were rejected by the ad's New Zealand creators today.

'Clearly eligible'
International Advertising Festival CEO Terry Savage said no action would be taken. "[The ad's] eligibility is the only issue from the festival's perspective," he said. "It's clearly eligible. From then on it's a jury issue."

Dan Wieden, jury president for Press & Poster, which covers print and outdoor ads, was not available for comment.

The Auckland office of Grey Global Group's Grey Worldwide, which created the poster campaign for bug-killing KiwiCare, was awarded the Grand Prix after the Press & Poster jury's original winner, Publicis Groupe's Leo Burnett, Lisbon, was disqualified because the ad campaign did not involve paid media.

Previous controversy
The anti-bug campaign sparked some controversy in New Zealand two weeks ago at the Axis Awards after several jury members there linked the ad to the work of artist Gary Larson, creator of comics including "The Far Side."

Saatchi & Saatchi's Hong Kong regional creative director, Craig Davis, who was chairman of the Axis Awards this year, confirmed there was considerable debate among the jury members over the issue and that the ad was marked down as a result.

"I'm very surprised it came through and did as well as it did at Cannes because I thought someone would have spotted the similarity," he said. Mr. Davis, however, was not convinced the idea was plagiarized. "We all know what happens. You read a book and three months later it pops into your head from the subconscious."

'Quite amusing'
One of the ad's creators, Todd McCraken, said the creative team found the criticism "quite amusing." He said the genesis of the idea came from a widely known joke in New Zealand and Australia that goes along these lines: What's the last thing a fly sees when it hits your car windscreen? It's arse.

"The whole idea came from a common joke we all know," he said. "When something happens like that you can defend it but you look like a brat."

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