Irony Follows Ad ‘Parody’ Debut

The new campaign from the Detroit Project equating SUVs with terrorism is a sure sign that irony in advertising lives.

Arianna Huffington, the pundit be hind the program, slammed Ogilvy & Mather’s spots linking drugs with terrorism for the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy in a column she wrote after the campaign broke during last year’s Super Bowl.

“To the terrible trio of Iran, Iraq and North Korea, we’ve now got to add millions of kids,” Huffington wrote on Feb. 8, calling the effort “one of the most offensive displays of drug war propaganda ever.”

Of the new Detroit Project campaign, she said, “We are parodying those dreadful ads. [They] are a complete waste of taxpayer money.”

Instead of lampooning the Ogilvy work, however, the two 30-second spots adopt the same strategy by depicting folks who buy SUVs, linking them to people or entities that allegedly support terror. The ads broke yesterday in five cities, and they were directed by Scott Burns—a former Goodby, Silverstein & Partners creative who worked on “Got Milk?” ads.

The irony has not escaped the White House. “Thanks for the compliment,” said ONDCP rep Tom Riley. Said an Ogilvy rep, “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.”

Riley said ONDCP has no plans to sue for copyright violations.