THE WITHDRAWAL of Ogilvy Johannesburg's Silver Clio award for a History Channel advertisement last week opened the door for Grey Group to take over top spot at the first big global awards event of the year. Losing the silver - its second - cost Ogilvy 350 creative points on our AdReview scale and relegated it to second.
But Grey probably deserves the leadership anyway, as its tally was headed by a Gold. Net#work BBDO won the other South African Gold Clio.
Compared with last year, South Africa earned fewer awards: but they included an extra gold and they were shared among 15 agencies, instead of 12.
Ogilvy's withdrawn Clio came after it was revealed an ad for DStv's History Channel was run without client approval, thus creating suspicions of a scam. (Ads are considered scams when they're created purely to win awards and are often produced without clients approving and paying for their flighting.)
Ogilvy Johannesburg immediately pulled the ad out of the competition and MD Julian Ogilvy is adamant it was an innocent mistake. "We're absolutely against scam ads and would never knowingly enter one into a competition," he says.
Ogilvy acknowledge the full and proper approval process wasn't followed. "Owing to the sensitivities regarding this matter we've taken all commercially reasonable steps to ensure the material is removed from publication. The campaign has also been withdrawn from Clios 2009."
MultiChoice marketing and sales director Graham Pfuhl, obviously eager to put the matter to rest, says: "I believe Ogilvy has always had MultiChoice's interests at heart and certainly still does."