FP7 Doha has been stripped of its agency of the year title and seven awards following an investigation by the Dubai Lynx.
The awards withdrawn are two golds, four silvers and a bronze for ‘clients’ Samsung, Higeen Mouthwash and Nissan.
The decision to withdraw so many awards was taken after the investigation revealed that numerous examples of work from the agency did not meet the entry criteria of the Dubai Lynx. Ten shortlisted pieces of work in the print and outdoor section have also been disqualified.
Philip Thomas, CEO of Cannes Lions, organisers of the Lynx, said: “Even before the awards night, we had withdrawn a number of pieces of work from the competition but subsequently our investigation has found other pieces that were presented to the jury that infringed our requirement that all work presented must represent the client who approved it. Our rules are very clear with regards to this, and we have no hesitation in withdrawing these awards. ”
He added: “The Dubai Lynx awards exist to celebrate and raise the creative bar of genuine work of the region. Activities like this show a disregard not only for the awards but more importantly for the juries who work so hard judging the event. Due to the scale of withdrawals we feel it inappropriate to honour FP7 Doha as Agency of the Year and so will be withdrawing the prize. I hope that this swift action makes clear our determination to build an award with true integrity for the region.”
The agency of the year title will not go to second placed FP7 Dubai and will not be awarded to any other agency.
The investigation, which began last week, followed the publication of a damning entry on bloganubis, in which the legitimacy of FP7 Doha’s work for Higeen Mouthwash, Samsung and Nissan was questioned. The awards withdrawn are the ‘ink’, ‘oil’, and ‘mud’ print gold for Samsung; the ‘car’, ‘cook’, and ‘rocket’ TV/cinema gold for Samsung; the print ‘nuns’ and ‘Students’ print silver for Samsung; the ‘flying bird’, ‘man digging’, and ‘running horse’ print silver for Samsung; the ‘cow’, ‘sheep’, and ‘pig’ print silver and outdoor silver for Higeen; and the ‘Jackson 7 TV bronze for Nissan.
Lance de Masi, president of the UAE chapter of the IAA, which holds the Lynx awards in association with Cannes Lions, said: “In taking such swift action the Lynx organisers have demonstrated their understanding that in order to fulfill the purpose of incentivizing and rewarding creative excellence in the region, Lynx must safeguard compliance with the stated conditions of eligibility. To do otherwise would be to undermine credibility.”
The issue had been complicated by a religious row that erupted in Lebanon following the publication of the ‘nuns’ ad in a Lebanese newspaper last week.
Update: Statement from FP7
“The Fortune Promoseven organization is aware of the decision to strip the Agency of the Year title from FP7 Doha at Lynx 2009. We are in support of the spirit in which this announcement from Lynx was made. This is a message to every agency, every creative in the region that there are rules to be obeyed, standards to be followed, and that there are no short cuts to stardom in our industry.
“While we acknowledge the action by Lynx, we are continuing our internal investigations and we are taking strong punitive action against anyone who was in contempt of our reputation and our standards. We are also definitely sure that this issue was personally motivated and was outside the frame work of our internal rules, fundamental principles, and agency beliefs.
“At this time, we should not forget that as an agency brand we have had a large number of world class entries from across our regional footprint that were recognized and awarded by an international jury at Lynx. Looking at the results overall, our organization is by far still the most awarded and recognized agency at Lynx and we are quite proud of that. One cannot take away the credit from that tremendous achievement.”