A publicity stunt aimed at creating hype for South African horror movie Night Drive has caused a furore and forced advertising agency Ogilvy to apologise for a pamphlet and website offering money for body parts.
According to iAfrica.com, the campaign included a pamphlet saying “Dr Uba pays the best prices for all your body parts and organs’, and a website showing pictures of a semi-naked woman about to go into surgery.
Police were reported to be trying to track down “Dr Uba’ before it was revealed as an advertising campaign and the Democratic Alliance spokesman for Gauteng Health condemned the stunt as “extremely poor taste’.
The website has now been replaced by a message saying “Some things are worse than dying’ with a link to the Night Drive website and a press statement from Indigenous Film Distribution.
A spokesperson for Ogilvy, Rich Hlatshwayo, said in a statement that creative agency 1984, a subsidiary of Ogilvy, produced the campaign on behalf of Indigenous Film Distribution to promote the movie Night Drive.
“While the motivation behind this campaign was honourable, 1984 acknowledges that this was in bad taste and apologises unreservedly. The intention was never to mislead the public or media,” said Hlatshwayo in the statement last week.
A press statement by Indigenous Film Distribution seems to disagree that the campaign was in bad taste, saying that the aim was awareness.
“With poaching in the headlines on an almost daily basis, the film is very topical,’ says director and scriptwriter Justin Head in the statement.
“This campaign was in aid of raising awareness around the very real issue of animal and human being body part poaching in anticipation of the launch of Night Drive,’ says Helen Kuun, managing director of Indigenous Film Distribution.
According to the statement the film received a significant amount of awareness after what was supposed to be a low level awareness drive, with less than 1,600 flyers handed out at two major Johannesburg intersections.
Night Drive is set on a bushveld game reserve, and poses the question: “What happens when a psychopathic animal poacher turns his attention to human beings?’
The film is due for nationwide release on 4 March 2011.