When Agencies Go To Far - 9/11 Ads

Today marks the 6 year anniversary of 9/11. Everyone remembers where they were on that day and the images that were shown over and over again.

Many bloggers have have written about 9/11 today from a number of different perspectives - from American foreign policy to Seth Godin's analysis of how to change the American communications strategy for the better.

One of the topics that hasn't been covered as much (except on Copyranter) is the issue of companies and agencies using 9/11 imagery in their executions.

This image is from a French an organization called Defi Pour La Terre.

The organization, in English, is called "Challenge for the Earth" and the lower caption of their execution reads: "For Nature, Everyday is 9/11."

According to Copyranter, in 2005 MTV launched a TV campaign that used imagery of the Twin Towers burning down to promote their social awareness agenda. Stills of the TV spot (and some alterations) have been posted below.

The TV spot was said to have only aired once before the US Government had it pulled (not sure if this fact is true but PJC and I cannot remember ever seeing or hearing about this campaign).

Despite the specifics around each of these campaigns, the fact remains that they have leveraged tragic visuals in an attempt to strengthen their own campaigns.

Do these executions help to drive forward issues such as poverty, environment and HIV? Or do they simply shock the viewer into looking at the execution (most likely wondering how / why a brand would want to use images like this to promote their own goals)?

Using images from a tragic event (however iconic) with the hopes to tie them back to your campaign is simply a horrible idea. That, coupled with the copy on the MTV executions, downplays the tragedy of 9/11 based on the number of people who were killed in relation to other social issues. (2,863 vs. 824 million, for example)

Iconic and captivating advertising is something that all agencies strive to do (we think). But using a polarizing and emotional charged event like 9/11 is just plain wrong.

To some, executions like this are provocative. To others, appalling. You may feel differently about these executions and we'd love to get a lively discussion going around your thoughts.

Please feel free to post .

1 comment:

MR said...

What about Darfur vs. 9/11?