The Dubai Lynx has removed all of FP7 Doha’s winning work for Samsung from its website following a request by the Korean electronics company.
The move has been made in response to the religious fall-out in Lebanon caused by an FP7 Doha ad featuring Jesus taking a photograph of a group of nuns with the new Samsung SL310W.
The ad has been depicted as an attack “against Christian symbols” by certain factions in Lebanon and is causing significant damage to Samsung’s image in the Levant.
FP7 Doha’s Samsung work is currently under investigation by the Dubai Lynx, as is its work for clients Higeen Mouthwash and Nissan. FP7 is also undertaking its own internal ‘fact-finding mission’.
Steve Lane, festival director of the Dubai Lynx, said the presence of the ads on the Lynx website had been fanning the flames of the controversy in Lebanon.
A decision on whether FP7 Doha will be stripped of its awards is expected early next week. If the decisions go against the agency, it could be stripped of its Agency of the Year title. Other FP7 Doha ads have also been removed from the website.
Update: In a statement released by Samsung in Lebanon, the company has categorically distanced itself from the ad.
“The company did not commission, develop or approve the publishing of the religiously insensitive advertisements,” said the statement. “This advertising campaign was produced and submitted by marketing agency, FP7 Doha, without the knowledge or consent of Samsung Electronics.”
Sunny Hwang, president of Samsung Electronics Levant, added: “At no time was Samsung Electronics aware of these advertisements and the company has not approved or commissioned FP7 to create any advertising campaigns. Samsung has the utmost respect for all cultures and religions and would never produce or approve the use of such culturally insensitive advertisements.”
Phillip Thomas, CEO of Cannes Lions, the organisers of the Dubai Lynx, said: “We accept all entries to the Dubai Lynx Awards in good faith and trust the agencies competing to be honest and accurate with their submissions and details of client sign off. It appears in this case that FP7 Doha has knowingly tried to mislead ourselves and our jury regarding work they claimed to have created on behalf of Samsung Electronics, which in reality the client had never seen or approved.
“We have openly stated that any submissions to the awards found to be in breach of our entry criteria will be withdrawn and that will be the case here. We will be vigilant in checking all winning entries meet the criteria in all ways, and if they are found wanting then we will act.”