MetropolitanRepublic withdraws Loerie Awards and gets disqualified

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It has recently come to the attention of the Loeries that the “Project Uganda” entry for MTN, created by MetropolitanRepublic, does not meet the Loeries entry criteria.

The entry, which was awarded a Grand Prix award for Media Innovation, a Gold for the Ubuntu award for sustainable marketing, and a Gold for Tactical use of Newspaper Advertising has been withdrawn this week by MetropolitanRepublic.

The Loeries entry rules require that all entries must be commercially published, launched or aired to a substantial audience for the first time between 1 June 2012 and 31 May 2013. In addition to this, the Ubuntu category requires that entries reflect an active and on-going campaign in this period, and that entries demonstrate a positive social or environmental impact. In addition to this, each entrant warrants that their information provided is true and correct.

The Loeries board is deeply concerned with the fact that MTN’s Project Uganda entry did not meet the eligibility criteria, despite all the terms and conditions of the Loeries that are in place. The board found it especially regrettable that the campaign was awarded a Gold Loerie in the Ubuntu category, which recognises brands that make good neighbours, that improve lives through their products, and contribute positively to the community.

Since the Loeries was reconstituted as a not-for-profit association in 2005, not once before now has an award been withdrawn. The overriding principle of the Loeries is an expectation that agencies ensure that true and correct information is provided for their entries, and this will continue to be the principle with which entries will be managed. However, in order to minimise the possibility of such an event occurring in future, all procedures, terms and conditions will be reviewed. In addition, while MetropolitanRepublic chose to withdraw this entry from the awards after the Loeries questioned the entry, the board of the Loeries has decided that the following additional sanctions are to be applied:

  1. All MetropolitanRepublic’s awards this year will be disqualified. This includes all of the following:
    1. Project Uganda, MTN, Media innovation, Grand Prix
    2. The Everywhere Library, MTN, Ubuntu, Gold
    3. Project Uganda, MTN, Tactical use of Newspaper, Gold
    4. The campaign that never flighted, The Fish & Chip Co, PR Communication Campaign, Gold
    5. Connector Bot, MTN, Alternative Media, Silver
    6. The campaign that never flighted, The Fish & Chip Co, Media Innovation, Bronze
    7. The campaign that never flighted, The Fish & Chip Co, Social Media, Bronze
  2. No representative from MetropolitanRepublic will be allowed to judge at the Loeries for the next two years.
  3. Any entries submitted by MetropolitanRepublic for the next two years must be accompanied by a media schedule, a letter from the brand representative, and the contact details of the brand representative.

Media Statement from MetropolitanRepublic:

MetropolitanRepublic is to announce that following due consideration to the awards recently won at the 2013 Loerie Awards, it would be withdrawing each of the Awards won on the night for brand MTN.

The matter has been under discussion with management since the awards were won as it has been established that due process around entering the awards had not been followed nor cleared with the executive team within MetropolitanRepublic nor our client.

The fact of the matter is that whilst the overarching conceptual idea and creative executions had been presented and approved by our client, the concept is still in development.  Once due diligence is completed to allow for the campaign to roll out, we will work closely with our client to ensure the intended impact of this initiative. As an agency that believes in the integrity and privilege of client relationships and the work they allow us to do, we are sincerely apologetic for our lack of process around how the entries were allowed to go ahead in the absence of formal approval.  Needless to say we have instituted a very rigorous process around entries from this moment on which ensures total eligibility and written approvals from the CEO and Chief Creative Officer.

 

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5 Comments

  • Reply October 19, 2013

    adam

    wow. Go loeries!

  • Reply October 19, 2013

    bryan

    How did the judges not see this. The Loeries should take some of the blame also

  • Reply October 19, 2013

    T-man

    Does the Loeries reassign the awards then ?

  • Reply October 20, 2013

    Joseph

    That media statement is clearly an attempt by the MR creative leaders to sidestep responsibility. Anyone who has ever been in an agency knows: the creative directors know EXACTLY which pieces their agency is entering into Loeries. Stop passing the buck.
    This is not the fault of the Loeries, it’s just the desperation of an agency wanting to win.

  • Reply October 20, 2013

    Michael

    This campaign was likely entered into the Cannes Advertising Festival. If it was, the comments on SAFM this morning from the agency heads are unjustified, and so is part of the above statement. The CCO also discussed the efficacy of the campaign on 702 after winning the awards. Again, this conflicts with the discussion on today’s broadcast. This is a very unfortunate situation that goes beyond the problem of ‘scam’. And faking a story about a campaign for, say, a car brand – although not ideal – is not the same as faking a story about a campaign of this magnitude for a social cause of this magnitude. Why should the Loeries have to second-guess all the entries? They trust that the information furnished by an agency is correct and true. And rightfully so.

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