Shock and Awe


9/11, no doubt an event that has been etched into your mind as the true embodiment of terrorism.

But the way in which people view this disaster obviously changes around the globe.  Ask an American how they feel and I’m sure they’ll talk about it with great sadness and respect for the victims, as well as a healthy dose of misplaced patriotism.  To the Brazilian agency DDB Brasil however, the event obviously doesn’t command as much respect.

DDB was contracted by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) to create an advertisement for the Brazilian market in late 2008, advertising/ addressing the dangers of Tsunamis.  As you can imagine, it was pulled immediately for some very obvious reasons.


The WWF immediately released a statement denying all claims to the ad, and condemning its messages:

“WWF strongly condemns this offensive and tasteless ad and did not authorize its production or publication. It is our understanding that it was a concept offered by an outside advertising agency seeking our business in Brazil. The concept was summarily rejected by WWF and should never have seen the light of day. It is an unauthorized use of our logo and we are aggressively pursuing action to have it removed from websites where it is being currently featured. We strongly condemn the messages and the images portrayed in this ad. On behalf of WWF, here in the US and around the world, we can promise you this ad does not in any way reflect the thoughts and feelings of the people of our organization.”


However, the organisation later admitted to mistakenly approving the ad:

An obscure ad that ran once in a small Sao Paulo newspaper months ago has come back to haunt DDB Brasil and its conservation client, the WWF in Brazil, in the latest example of the internet exposing a local ad to global condemnation.

Sergio Valente, president of DDB Brasil, said the ad was presented to the WWF in Brazil in December 2008 and approved; it then ran once in a small local paper …

Running an ad once is often a tactic to make it awards-show eligible, and “Tsunami” somehow ended up among a bunch of the agency’s submissions to this year’s One Show in New York.

(Advertising Age via Tim Blair)



Advertising Age reported that the WWF and DDB Brasil later went on to releasing a statement on their sites apologising for the ad, and attributing its creation and release to the inexperience of some professionals on both sides, and was not meant to disrespect the suffering of Americans.



There is also a video form of the ad, but it wasn’t claimed to be made by either party (hmmmmmmmmmmmmm).


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