Advertising and Marketing

Western ad industry as bad as Western media?


A series of outdoor ads are circulating on China's Internet forums and may have the potential to cause a new round of anti-Western prejudice and conspiracy theories. Is the "Western advertising industry" is going to follow the "Western media" to become the next target of protest and boycott? (See this post (Chinese) on for example, it's titled '
Amnesty International commissions multinational company to concoct advertisements about China mistreating prisoners'.

The ads are allegedly designed by TBWA's Paris offices for Amnesty International. The slogan in the ads is “After the Olympic Games, the fight for human rights must go on.”

It is said that this series won a bronze medal in this year's Cannes Advertising Festival, but your correspondent could not confirm this from the Internet.

Interestingly, TBWA is also the ad agency behind another series of Olympic-themed ads of a different type for Adidas. You can see them on Virtual China. They are unlikely to hurt the feelings of the Chinese people.

Update (by Jeremy Goldkorn):

Also by TBWA; more information at Virtual China

Some commenters are questioning the source of these advertisements. A site called Ads of the World has a web page about the series of ads: Amnesty - Swimming. The page identifies the client as Amnesty International, and states:

Advertising Agency: TBWA\Paris, France

And the plot gets thicker: An anonymous commenter to this Danwei post (see comments below) announces:

Amnesty International would like to make clear that it was not involved in the dissemination of a series of images that have been circulating on the web in relation to the Beijing Olympics. Amnesty International's global website address is

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There are currently 22 Comments for Western ad industry as bad as Western media?.

Comments on Western ad industry as bad as Western media?

Check the URL again...

Corrected, thanks.

Thanks for including that overused, insipid, unoriginal and totally false phrase at the end...

Amnesty International would like to make clear that it was not involved in the dissemination of a series of images that have been circulating on the web in relation to the Beijing Olympics. Amnesty International's global website address is


Being facetious does not cut it with you?

I would have thought an award wining ad agency could at least get its clients website correct in their ads.

a vast improvement over their earlier effort; though, as Dan noted, it *is* odd that the org's address is incorrectly listed as "AMNESTY.COM."

The ads with were done by MUW Saatchi & Saatchi, Slovakia. Maybe it is easier to get a reaction if it is reported as being from a French company. The ad with looks out of place with the other ads.

I guess "waterboarding" can make a better piece of ad and China bashing can make a newer Olympic sport.

Jeremy: I KNOW it was done with facetiousness in mind and therefore commented on that with facetiousness in appreciation for YOUR facetiousness. Clear???

My feelings are hurt, Jeremy...


Gosh, I am reduced to this



Wow, the Western ad industry prominantly used Asian males in its work? That is news.

TBWA Worldwide interviewed by Xinmin Evening News:

Should not someone try to find out what this is? These ads are completely out of line. Interesting too that Amnesty International has not made a bigger noise about this, like filing lawsuits or something.
China bashing is clearly a new sport for the West.

"China bashing is clearly a new sport for the West."---WENZI

Well, when someone states the truth it is usually called "honesty". Call it what you will: bashing perhaps? As the saying goes, "if the shoe fits..."
The truth hurts don't it? Yes, of course but it will only make life better for all. Ignoring it will only make matters worse.

after working in a ad agency, i find almost all ad awards are bullshit,not more confirm on this.


The truth? How come I have not seen any Abu Greib or Guantanamo-themed ads??

pffefer - amnesty did a series of ads that included GW Bush along with Hu Jintao and other regressive characters. also won awards somewhere.

Great ads!

Since when is "advertising" and "media" considered separate ?

right, truth. china truly is using monks as sparring partners and prisoners for olympic target practice. :/

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