Ogilvy APAC admits to false submission claims, hands back Cannes Lion trophies

Following closely behind Grey Singapore’s steps, Ogilvy Vietnam is now giving back two of its Cannes Lion trophies.

The campaign titled "Saving Africa's last wild rhinos by poisoning them" aimed to reduce Vietnamese consumers’ demand for rhino horns by injecting it with a poison fatal to humans, but harmless to the creatures. The submission video put up by Ogilvy & Mather, said that following the “divisive” campaign running in Vietnam, less than 2% of rhinos were poached and rhino horn consumption reduced by a whopping 77%.

The spot won the agency a Silver and a Bronze Lion.


According to a spokesperson at Ogilvy, following a management review of this specific campaign entry, the agency decided to hand the trophies back.

In a press statement, it said some elements of the campaign material, created to support the NGO's efforts to reduce Vietnamese consumer demand for rhino horns, did not run in-market as stated in the submission video to the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity.

“Ogilvy & Mather sends our sincerest apologies to both our client and the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity. We are deeply regretful of any embarrassment this error in judgement has caused. While our agency has a long history of pro-bono work for various causes including rhino horn protection, we do not condone any work done in opposition of the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity regulations and guidelines,” said the agency.

The agency added that its Vietnam office has pledged to continue to work on a pro-bono basis helping any and all NGO's who share in that belief.

"Towards that goal, the agency will be hosting a roundtable on the topic, to which it will invite interested NGO’s and other stakeholders to discuss the ongoing problem of rhino horn consumption in Vietnam,” said the agency.

(Read also: Open letter to Grey Singapore: Why I will not hire you)