A campaign about the Beijing Olympics produced for Amnesty International France was considered so aggressive by its creators that they decided to call off its release.
Advertising agency TBWA\Paris did however seek permission from their client to present the project at the Cannes Lions advertising festival. And it even received a prize. Since then the images, which show Chinese prisoners tortured with the help of Olympics sports equipment, have been circulated on blogs and forums in China, causing outrage in the country.
Amongst a bombardment of insults and death threats hurled across the web towards France, we found these reasonably moderate opinions on Anti-CNN.com:
Our Observer posted this comment, directed at TBWA\Paris, on a forum for advertising professionals, Adsoftheworld.com. F Shi works for Ogilvy in Beijing.
Let me tell you about social responsibility. Advertising should be based on the truth. You should be able to tell that an advert is a creation and not a news bulletin. But your campaign, while visually perfect, is lacking accurate information about China. Are you sure that people will be able to tell the difference between a visual creation and a factual message? If the answer is no, then you're making a mistake."
Marie Holzman is a French specialist on China and works as a human rights activist with the association "Solidarité Chine"
It makes me think of another case that happened recently. The Samuel Bollendorf exhibition was supposed to have been displayed at the World Forum on Human Rights at the International Convention Centre in Nantes, but some associations opposed it. The organisers compromised: they removed the exhibition, but kept a photo of it on their poster.
If you don't fight against these dictators, they'll eventually arrive on your doorstep. And it's happening faster than I feared."