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Offensive WWF “9/11” Print Spot is a Rejected Spec Ad

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Twitter is currently ablaze with outrage over an extremely tasteless World Wildlife Fund ad that overtly exploits the World Trade Center attacks of 9/11/2001. Mediaite has learned, exclusively, that the ad was not commissioned by WWF, but rather, was a pitch that they rejected.

From WWF’s forthcoming statement: (via email)

“WWF strongly condemns this offensive and tasteless ad and did not authorize its production or publication. It is our understanding that it was a concept offered by an outside advertising agency seeking our business in Brazil. The concept was summarily rejected by WWF and should never have seen the light of day. It is an unauthorized use of our logo and we are aggressively pursuing action to have it removed from websites where it is being currently featured. We strongly condemn=2 0the messages and the images portrayed in this ad. On behalf of WWF, here in the US and around the world, we can promise you this ad does not in any way reflect the thoughts and feelings of the people of our organization.”

It is amazing that anyone thought this was a good idea, and equally amazing that someone would report this story without considering that it could be a spec ad. This isn’t the first time this has happened. Acticons’ Caleb Howe uncovered a series of very high profile, extremely tasteless spec ads that featured the History Channel logo, and were even erroneously given CLIO Awards. The news that WWF isn’t behind this ad leaves PETA as the undisputed champion of tasteless ads by animal-related organizations. Here’s the full text of WWF’s forthcoming statement:

WWF STRONGLY CONDEMNS UNAUTHORIZED AD CAMPAIGN WASHINGTON, DC, September 2, 2009 – World Wildlife Fund today issued the following statement in response to an ad posted on several Internet sites that has been i naccurately linked to our organization and contains messages and images related to the events of 9-11. “WWF strongly condemns this offensive and tasteless ad and did not authorize its production or publication. It is our understanding that it was a concept offered by an outside advertising agency seeking our business in Brazil. The concept was summarily rejected by WWF and should never have seen the light of day. It is an unauthorized use of our logo and we are aggressively pursuing action to have it removed from websites where it is being currently featured. We strongly condemn the messages and the images portrayed in this ad. On behalf of WWF, here in the US and around the world, we can promise you this ad does not in any way reflect the thoughts and feelings of the people of our organization.”

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