Is It Too Soon To Use The Burning Twin Towers In Ads?

94 years ago, liar H.K. McCann launched his NYC ad agency with the slogan "Truth Well Told." That was a big fat lie. Advertising copywriter Copyranter brings you instances of advertising lies and the lying liars who sell them.

Many agencies gladly put overused iconic images such as the Statue of Liberty in ads. It's profitable: dumb clients understand the concepts and usually buy them. It's easy: no long hours spent coming up with something original. However, manipulating pictures of those two mortally-wounded monoliths is still way off limits. But not in France! Earlier this year, the Paris office of my good buds BBDO exploited them—but for a good cause. Trees! Take a look.

Is It Too Soon To Use The Burning Twin Towers In Ads?


The ad is for the ecological organization Défi Pour La Terre (Challenge for the Earth), in association with the Nicolas Hulot Foundation. This is the sort of European style super-clean layout that makes jealous American art directors touch themselves. Even the logo's wonderfully tiny!

Is the ad insensitive? How bout if they'd added a couple of falling leaves? (Ah! That's what it needs!) More to the point, is the ad effective? Does it make you want to get off your ass and do something? Maybe lobby your Congressperson in the name of Kyoto?

Back in 2005, MTV was evidently squashed by Uncle Sam in their attempt to use the burning towers to draw attention to AIDS, hunger, and homelessness. Those are digitally-rendered stills from a commercial that apparently ran only once before being pulled.

Is It Too Soon To Use The Burning Twin Towers In Ads?

But you can bet at least a few copywriters and art directors have presented ideas to their creative directors using the image. Maybe even some of boards have survived to make it to a client presentation. After all, photos of the burning Hindenburg have been used in ads. So when will the towers no longer be verboten? 2011? Never?

Previously: Al Gore Needs Some Ads
[Image via]