Dentsu Utama has resigned from the Malaysian 4As.
4As when contacted confirmed the move to A+M. It comes after the agency was accused of plagiarism by 4As for creating works that were seen as too close a copy as to works in Europe for WWF. Moreover, eight of its Kancil awards were also revoked.
A spokesperson from Dentsu Utama also confirmed the move saying that on 29 December Dentsu Utama was accused of plagiarism, a claim it strongly disputes.
"Responding to these accusations, Dentsu Utama began an internal investigation into this allegation, supported by independent legal advice. The conclusion was that such accusations are unfounded," the statement read.
Dentsu Utama also stated that throughout this period, the agency has been openly cooperating with the Association of Accredited Advertising Agents (4As) on this issue.
"Dentsu Utama, without being given the opportunity to defend itself, has now been informed that eight of the Kancil awards related to the WWF Anti-Poaching Cross River Gorilla and the Web Privacy Watch – Professional Man campaigns won in December 2015 will be revoked. A decision which we believe is unsupported. As a result, Dentsu Utama and its representatives will resign from the 4As with immediate effect," the statement read.
Meanwhile, Dentsu Utama will continue its dialogue with the individual artists on this issue and continue to support its opinion that the allegations are unfounded.
Also, earlier in December, Dentsu Aegis sent out a statement on the allegations made against Dentsu Utama’s “Anti-Poaching” WWF ad campaign.
The statement from Omar Shaari, CEO of the agency said:
"It has come to our attention that one of our “Anti-Poaching” WWF (World Wildlife Fund) ad campaign which went on to win awards at the Kancil Awards 2015 has been highlighted for plagiarising the art-work of UK-based designer named Tom Anders. As an agency which is part of a larger global network, Dentsu Utama maintains very strict policies around the use of third party content in our creative materials and treat allegations of intellectual property infringement extremely seriously. We have since contacted Tom Anders to address this issue at hand."
A+M has reached out to Dentsu to comment further on the matter.