UPDATE: A couple of days after this story first ran, Publicis made the campaign in question private on YouTube.
Last week, Publicis Conseil released a campaign for client Garnier that was created to solve a perpetual problem: how does one keep track of one’s stuff while at the beach?
Its solution was elaborate and very specific: a set of free shore-side lockers which sunbathers can use to store their belongings while getting a tan. The hook? Users must create a password to lock the storage units, and they subsequently receive a sample of the client’s (branded) product in the process to better ensure that they do not sit on the beach sans sunscreen.
Listen to a woman with a British accent explain.
Interesting work that happens to have been released right before a certain awards festival.
Now check out “Lockers Protectores,” released more than a year ago by Agencia Raya, a shop based in Santiago Chile. The client is Simond’s, a top Chilean skin care brand.
To objective viewers like ourselves, the only discernible difference between these two projects is the placement of the sunscreen dispensers.
Readers will know that this is hardly the first example of questionable agency behavior during awards show season. Remember last year’s McDonald’s print campaign that only ran in one super-obscure Australian paper the day before the deadline for Cannes entries? And what about the Lucky Iron Fish, which won a Cannes Grand Prix before WPP’s Geometry Global had to clarify that they did not actually design the winning product?
It’s unclear whether the Garnier project will be a Cannes entry for Publicis this year, though the timing works. We reached out to both Publicis PR and Raya to ask whether the former had been influenced by the latter’s work. Publicis said they would get back to us, but we have yet to receive a statement.
Raya seems to think that Publicis Conseil blatantly ripped them off, and we can see why they might come to that conclusion.