The Beldings Scandal

GZ’s Call for Entries Is an Elaborate Hoax
LOS ANGELES–Ground Zero, the creative shop that walked away with the mother lode of trophies at last year’s Belding Awards, is under investigation for having plagiarized the work.
Or so the Ad Club of Los Angeles, and the pranksters at Ground Zero, would like you to think.
A letter from ACLA co-presidents Jerry McGee and Brian Morris detailing the investigation of the mock scandal was sent out earlier this month, kicking off an elaborate call for entries campaign for this year’s show. The letter promised “any wrongdoing by Ground Zero or other entrants” would be exposed.
The tone of the letter was so ominous that some thought it was serious, and called the ad club, McGee, Morris or Ground Zero.
A subsequent mailing disclosed the official findings of the “investigation”–that Ground Zero stole the fuzzy ball character in its Belding-winning ESPN2 “Knowledge” campaign from a classic Ogilvy & Mather ad for Rolls-Royce. Improprieties by other past Belding Bowl recipients are also detailed in the “report.”
The letter, report and some upcoming pieces were all created by Ground Zero principals Court Crandall and Kirk Souder and their staff.
“We didn’t change a word; it was one of those times when the client didn’t meddle,” joked McGee, who is the newly named chairman/CEO of O&M’s Los Angeles office.
This year’s awards show is scheduled for April 13. K