The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]

When GREY Turns Black …

Yes, I know I’ve written about this a lot before – hell, I wrote something just 2 weeks ago – but I have to vent.


As many of you now know, GREY Singapore claimed to have developed an app that could help stop refugees escaping their troubled homeland via the high seas, from dying.

It won a bronze Cannes Lion.

It was a total and utter fake.

Rightfully, this was picked up by the media and forced GREY to reluctantly [and I mean, reluctantly] hand the award back, but I have a question …

Why are people shocked at the scandalous behavior of Grey and Cannes?

This has been happening for years and nothing ever happens. Nothing.

Of course, exploiting refugees to win a bronze Cannes Lion is utterly sick but, let’s remember, LYING ABOUT ANYTHING IN A BID TO WIN AN AWARD IS SHIT … whether it’s an iodine bindy, a wifi enabled clothes peg or an app that alleges to help stop needless deaths of refugees taking to the high seas to escape their troubled homeland, despite the fact it is all fake and doesn’t work.

And what did GREY say in response to this finding?

They claim they had been clear it was only in its ‘testing phase’.

Which begs the question, why the hell did they think it was OK to enter an award supposedly based on real work.

I’d love to see the submission and see if their write-up highlighted this fact … which then means Cannes should have kicked it out before it even got to the judging phase.

A total fuckfest managed by imposters and charlatans.

But here’s the thing …

I don’t think the creatives at Grey Singapore are purely to blame for this.

They’ll probably get made the scapegoats, but it goes far beyond them.

There’s the local management who demanded their creative department win awards.

And the global management … despite their claim they never do this sort of thing.

And let’s not forget the holding company that pushes their companies for more and more [fake] results.

And then there’s Cannes … who openly and actively celebrate agencies that do this sort of thing in a bid to keep the money rolling in.

The one slight positive – apart from the work that is genuinely worthy of applause and a true celebration of what we do when we all want to do it right – is that the only reason this scam situation happens over and over again is because, outside of our bubble, few seem to give a shit about who we are and what we do.

In fact, it is only because The Guardian newspaper decided to do a story on the Grey Singapore app [I’m assuming because “refugees” are news worthy – so they’re being exploited again] that the murmurs of a few become the scream of a lot because without that story, I’m pretty sure it would be business as usual.

I hope someone hears it. It’s killing our industry and we need to do a u-turn very quick indeed.

GREY FOR GOOD … the supposed philanthropic arm of GREY is, in my opinion, nothing more than a front for this sort of thing.

If they were being honest they would name it GREY FOR OUR OWN GOOD, but as we have discovered from this years award entries [which, let’s not forget, is just one agency of many agencies pulling this scam] GREY and TRUTH are never comfortable bed fellows.

13 Comments so far
Leave a comment

It’s a disgraceful situation Robert and one that will sadly continue next year. What I still don’t understand is why it was down to Grey to return the award rather than Cannes cancelling it. The evidence of this being a fake product and campaign was there and yet they stood by it, further undermining their credibility as a show celebrating commercial creativity.

Comment by George

That’s the bit that really gets me. The complete lack of responsibility by Cannes. If they are saying they literally ‘trust’ whatever an agency puts forward, then apart from them showing how stupid they are, they sort-of undermine the status of their judging criteria.

But that’s not the reason, they just want to keep the money and by being too strict means they are being too limiting on who will pay their huge fees. Probably.

Comment by Rob

Does anyone know how much WPP spend on entering award shows? I’m sure their shareholders would find it interesting. More so when they discover it is for fictious commercial benefit.

Comment by Pete

I wonder how they report it in their annual report. I might try and find out today.

Comment by Rob

theyre all a bunch of fucking wankers. everyone. but the fucking worst are the ones who have the power to scapegoat some poor bastard. theyre all guilty. some more than fucking others.

Comment by andy@cynic

Yes. Funny how when things go well, people try to claim some involvement and some credit but the moment things go bad, it’s all about pinpointing one person. Just one.

Comment by Rob

The decision to exploit a human tragedy for personal gain is repugnant. It is the sort of story that belongs to television dramas, not real life. I will be interested to hear what fallout occurs. I am assuming not nearly enough.

Comment by Lee Hill

From the company that brought you Life Paint last year, too. An already existing product for sale that they put a label on, “sold” at one shop in London and made a case study for. Grand Prix. Very sad.

Comment by The bottom of the barrel

Winning awards for faking a fake idea.
Let’s let that sink in for a moment.

Comment by DH

Their concept of ‘solvertising’ only aims to solve the problem of them getting award visibility it seems…

Comment by TajdarOC

The only sensible thing I ever heard Kevin Roberts say was: “Remember, they’re called Grey for a reason”

Comment by Ian Gee

[…] for one of the scam-masters, maybe … but the likelihood is he wouldn’t because they don’t like doing things that actually require commitment to the […]

Pingback by Could Someone Like This Be More Creative Than Every Creative In Every Creative Agency In The World? | The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]

[…] becomes your schtick, then don’t start crying when people start turning on you. Just look at GREY FOR GOOD if you want more proof of that […]

Pingback by Lets All Laugh At The People Having A Terrible Time … | The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]

Leave a Reply