UPDATED: WWF Did Not Authorize Ad Showing Jets About to Hit World Trade Center Towers

Last Updated Sep 1, 2009 12:03 PM EDT

DDB Brazil created a spec ad to pitch the World Wildlife Fund that showed dozens of jets aiming at the twin towers of the World Trade Center to illustrate how the tsunami that devastated East Asia shortly afterward killed "100 times" more people than the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks (image below).*

The WWF immediately condemned the ad (see correction below), saying:

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.
When the ad appeared on Ads of the World, it generated a predictable controversy, based on its lack of taste and illogical premise: It is not as if the WWF has the power to stop a tsunami. And it doesn't do anything to combat Islamic extremism, either. The copy on the ad says:
The tsunami killed 100 times more people than 9/11. The planet is brutally powerful. Respect it. Preserve it. www.wwf.org
The ad spawned a mini-debate among agency creatives on Ads of the World. Sample comment:
Disco Munky: Geez. The true sign of truly lazy uninspired creative is when they produce stuff like this. The message is important and the facts are solid, but a 9/11 comparison?? Really? That's not tasteless, it's talentless.. Seriously.
AgencySpy didn't like it either:
... the World Wildlife Fund (tagline: "for a living planet") is pitting two tragedies against each another to further their goal.
So there it is: DDB Brazil wins the prize for worst spec pitch ever!

* Correction: This item has been updated to reflect the fact that WWF neither commissioned nor approved of the ad.