It's not a good idea to use Sept. 11 as an advertising theme, said Hamilton Nolan in Gawker. "It's really not." To understand why, consider the ad, titled "Tsunami," created by a Brazilian ad firm, DDB Brasil, depicting dozens of airliners flying toward lower Manhattan, while the World Trade Center twin towers are still standing. The ad was done on spec for the World Wildlife Fund, which understandably was not amused.
That's an understatement, said Ed Morrissey in Hot Air. The WWF condemned the ad, calling it "offensive and tasteless," and said it may sue DDB Brasil for releasing the ad—complete with a WWF logo displayed prominently at the top—without the wildlife conservation organization's permission. "Whoever thought of trivializing and commercializing the murders of 3,000 people for an ad campaign about conservation needs to search deep within themselves to determine whether their soul exists."
"Exploiting one tragedy to try to prevent another is just stupid and self-defeating," said David Gianatasio in AdFreak, "and will always backfire." The message in the ad was: "The tsunami killed 100 times more people than 9/11. The planet is brutally powerful. Respect it. Preserve it." But "respect is the main thing lacking" in this "tasteless, nightmarish print ad."
WWF rejected the ad, said Jen Carlson in Gothamist, but DDB Brasil apparently entered it in the One Show competition, and won an award for public service. "Okay, so who wants to make a mock-up of 1,000 Nazi soldiers being catapulted into Thailand?"