Jung von Matt in the dock over Holocaust campaign Cannes Media winner

Winning a big gong at Cannes is only the half it, it would seem.

WPP and Omnicom (via DDB) have been lobbing bricks at each other over vote rigging and now Hamburg agency Jung von Matt finds itself in the dock over claims, first surfacing in the Adland/TV blog, that it padded its Media gold winner and Integrated bronze winner ‘Stones Telling Stories’ about the creation of an online Holocaust memorial.

It’s a tangled tale, here’s a report from Adrants.

Adland wonders whether or not Jung von Matt padded their “Stones Telling Stories” case study which outlined Holocaust awareness work that ultimately won a Media Gold Lion and an Integrated Bronze Lion. Oh to have been a judge back in the day when Barbara Lippert said all you had to do was sit around and watch a bunch of TV commercials and decide which ones you liked as opposed to watching the hundreds of case study video judges have to slog through today.

According to Adland and her translation of a story in German Meedia.de, several inconsistencies in the claims made by Jung von Matt have been cited. Inconsistencies are said to include representations of work not yet complete, descriptions of Google Maps function that do not exist and information said to exist online that doesn’t.

As creativity continues to move beyond the realm of the tv commercial, the radio commercial, the outdoor board or the magazine ad, judges will increasingly rely on these case study videos to judge work. And without in-depth research, they can only judge based on what they see in the video.

We’re not really sure what the solution is, short of turning the Cannes Lions judging process into CIA-like investigation. We can only hope that agencies will be as honest and as forthright as they can when representing their work.

Everyone wants to win a Cannes Lion. But no one wants to have one taken away after the fact, an action that seems to increasingly happen on a yearly basis now.

Honesty is always the best policy. It might not always win you awards. But you’ll sleep better at night and when you do win, it will have been 100 percent worth it.

As we keep saying (OK, banging on about) creative awards that depend on homework submissions are a recipe for disaster. It’s interesting that media is the issue here. The WPP/Omnicom feud was sparked by complaints from Sir Martin Sorrell about a Media gold for Google won by OMD’s Manning Gottlieb in the UK.

It seems a touch tasteless to be poring over the entrails of an awards entry for a campaign that does a pretty good job of highlighting an infinitely more important issue, young Germans’ ignorance of the Holocaust.

But rules are rules (assuming they actually exist in a form that leaves no room for doubt, of course).

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About Stephen Foster

Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.

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