Samsung ‘Jesus’ ads removed from Lynx website

March 28, 2009

jesus1The 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.”


Dubai Lynx launches investigation into FP7 Doha’s winning work

March 25, 2009

samsungThe organisers of the Dubai Lynx have launched an official investigation into a string of winning work by FP7 Doha.

The investigation follows the publication of a damning entry on bloganubis, in which the legitimacy of FP7 Doha’s work for clients Higeen Mouthwash, Samsung and Nissan was questioned.

Steve Lane, festival director of the Dubai Lynx, confirmed that complaints had been received from numerous agencies as a result of the blog, as well as from clients.

“There are two or three prongs to the investigation,” said Lane. “With Samsung – specifically the camera campaign – the washing machine and the printers. We’re trying to get to the bottom of whether the camera stuff actually ran and was actually approved.” He added: “I am in contact with Samsung and we are having an ongoing discussion with them, trying to get to the bottom of who exactly said yes to this stuff.”

Lane said official complaints had been received about the agency’s Higeeen mouthwash work. He also confirmed that a campaign for Nissan had been withdrawn from the Lynx shortlist prior to the awards ceremony following complaints from Nissan that the ads were nothing to do with them. Shortlisted work for Matchbox had also been removed.

FP7 Doha was named advertising agency of the year at the Dubai Lynx awards ceremony on 17 March, but is now in danger of being stripped of its title if the investigation goes against them.

The original bloganubis posting was the work of an agency insider going by the alias of ‘John Doh’. He had originally sent his letter to a number of different media, including Campaign.

According to Lane, the Samsung work is being looked into the most seriously.

“If we withdraw any of the stuff that’s actually been awarded, we will recalculate agency of the year,” said Lane. “They [FP7 Doha] may be so far ahead they’ll retain it, but we will see.”