Damage Control

Interpublic Group (IPG), the parent company of global ad agency McCann-Erickson, has issued their own apology for the Hanes ads, saying the work was done without their approval is order to compete in India for a local advertising award. The apology appears on a single-post blog created by IPG titled Apology 4 Fake Hanes Ads.

Fake local print ads were produced by McCann Erickson India – without the knowledge, approval or consent of Hanesbrands Inc. – solely for the purpose of entry into creative competitions. These fake ads were wholly inconsistent with the interest of the Hanes brand, would never have been approved had our internal procedures been followed and, accordingly, should never have been publicly distributed.

We have apologized to Hanesbrands for developing this objectionable work, which uses hateful language. We extend our apologies to those who these fake ads have offended, as well as to Hanesbrands’ customers and business partners.

The ads in question were developed and run locally, without the knowledge of anyone at IPG, or of McCann’s global management. The ads appeared once in a small publication in Mumbai in late 2007 so as to qualify for consideration in award competitions and were recently posted by local Indian employees at McCann onto two web sites that display international advertising campaigns. We have identified the circumstances that led to this violation of our policies and of our trust, and we are taking immediate corrective action.

Sounds like some heads are gonna roll at McCann. By the way, that the ads were created to compete for an award was suggested in an earlier comment by a JMG reader in Brazil. The IPG blog was created by Philippe Krakowsky, IPG’s Executive Vice President, Strategy and Corporate Relations. Krakowsky let us know of the blog in the comments of the Hanes apology post.

Obviously, this story is a dead horse – fake ads, apologies all around. But isn’t it interesting to see how quickly even international corporations rush in to apologize when they fear they may have pissed off the queers? It’s a good thing. (And I still like the ads.)