Grey Group has returned the controversial Bronze Lion that it won at Cannes for its I-SEA app.
According to a press statement from the agency, the reason for the return was due to “unfair, unrelenting attacks by unnamed bloggers” and also to ensure “there is not even the hint of impropriety or question” of its integrity.
The statement added:
"During Cannes we said the app was real and its creator, Grey for Good in Singapore, is a highly respected philanthropic unit that has helped numerous non-profit organisations. Moreover, Grey is one of the most creatively awarded agencies in the world with the highest ethical standards. We won over 90 Cannes Lions this year alone so there is no need for scam projects."
The move comes after widespread criticism of the agency for retaining the award, as well as an open letter to Grey Singapore and its global group by a social media marketer. In the article Ali Bullock says he will not entertain any pitches from the agency until the awards has been returned. Since then, Bullock has also put out a Tweet which read:
— ali bullock (@alibullock) July 6, 2016
The I-SEA mobile app which it developed was for the Migrant Offshore Aid Station (MOAS), is designed to locate sea route migrants through the use of satellite images of the sea, prompting and analyse the need for rescue missions if trouble is spotted.
The app created much buzz during its launch on multiple news sites, but was called out online by technology bloggers for being a fake.
The I-SEA app was also pulled from iTunes on the day it won a Lions award at Cannes. MOAS has also distanced itself from any association, according to Adweek. The video describing the app's function has also been pulled from Grey's YouTube page.