Creative Circle sanctions MetropolitanRepublic

Letter from Creative Circle to MetropolitanRepublic

On October the 28, 2013 the Creative Circle received a letter of complaint from the Loerie Awards regarding the recent behaviour of one of our members, Metropolitan Republic, hereafter referred to as MR.

A simultaneous complaint was also laid with our fellow industry body the ACA (Association for Communication and Advertising).

The details of the complaint were as follows :

1/ MR submitted an entry into this year’s Loerie awards, MTN Project Uganda, which was awarded a Grand Prix and a Gold Loerie. On investigation by the Loeries, it was found that the entry did not meet the entry requirements. Specifically, 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. The Ubuntu category also 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. When queried by the Loeries, the agency withdrew the entry. The Loeries imposed additional sanctions, including a judging ban and the requirement to submit media schedules and letters from the brand representative for all entries for the next two-years.

2/ Subsequent to the above, both of you made statements during an interview on SAFM that questioned not only the integrity of the Loeries but the industry as a whole.

The Loeries Board has subsequently met, issued its own sanctions and penalties, and has accepted an apology issued by MR, in which the statements made on SAFM were recanted.

However, the Board of the Loeries felt that, in addition to this, it was necessary to lay a formal complaint with The Creative Circle, hereafter referred to as CC, the details of which are outlined above.

The CC then held an extraordinary ExCo meeting to discuss the letter of complaint, and any additional issues arising out of the MR incident/s.
Resolutions and Actions tabled at the Extraordinary Ordinary meeting of the Creative Circle Exco held on 28th October 2013.

The CC ExCo, based on the above complaint, has met and tabled the following resolutions and actions:

1. The CC notes with concern the actions of MR with regards to the entering of the Project Uganda piece into the Loerie Awards.

2. The CC further notes the subsequent actions of MR which undoubtedly bring the entire industry, but most particularly the creative disciplines of the industry, into disrepute.

3. The CC notes and fully supports the statements and sanctions of both Loeries Board and the ACA in the matter.

4. The CC notes and acknowledges the apologies offered by MR and the recanting of the comments made about the industry by senior members of MR.

5. The CC notes additionally that the Project Uganda piece was entered into its own competition, Ad of the Month, where it won the Digital category in July. At no stage prior, during or after this, did any member of MR bring to the attention to the CC any irregularities with regards to the work. In fact, after a query was made by an ExCo member regarding the originality of the idea, the CC received a letter from a senior creative person at MR defending the integrity and validity of the work. In light of later revelations this is alarming to say the least. Additionally, no member of MR has subsequently contacted the CC to withdraw the work, which clearly won the CC monthly award in serious contravention of the rules of the competition. Currently the MTN Project Uganda piece still qualifies for the CC Annual Awards in March. This is clearly untenable.

6. The CC disqualifies the entry, Project Uganda, from participating in the CC Annual Awards in March. The July CC Monthly Award is also withdrawn. In addition, as a further sanction, no MR work will be held eligible for the CC Annual Awards to be held in March 2014.

7. No MR work may be entered into the Creative Circle Awards for the remainder of 2013.

8. For a period of 24 months : from November 2013 – November 2015 – no member of MR will be permitted to serve on the CC ExCo or judge in the CC monthly awards. To this end no MR Creatives will appear in the 2014/2015 individual creative rankings used to select the CC ExCo and the judges for the CC monthly awards.

9. For a period of 24 months : from January 2014 – January 2016 all MR entries into the CC awards must be accompanied by a letter of confirmation and validity from the relevant client. In addition a media plan indicating first flighting must also be supplied.

10. The CC notes the commitments and comments made in apologies and statements by members of the MR executive, especially those regarding bringing the industry into disrepute. The CC reserves the right, should these undertakings not be observed, to take further action.

Kind regards,