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Bob Isherwood Cannes Lions Advertising

PR stunt sees Bob Isherwood 'kidnapped' at Cannes Lions by the Advertising Liberation Army


By John McCarthy, Opinion Editor

June 20, 2016 | 3 min read

Bob Isherwood, former worldwide creative director of Saatchi & Saatchi, has staged a fake kidnapping (of himself) to promote a Hasan and Partners’ seminar ‘Can trolling be a force for good in advertising?’ due to take place today (20 June) at The Forum.


Bob Isherwood and his kidnappers

The stunt may be controversial given the climate of heightened security around Cannes Lions this year, which has seen the likes of Omnicom creative agency AMV BBDO pull its creatives out of the festival amid safety fears.

A press release/'ransom note' reads in full: “We are the Advertising Liberation Army. And we hope this action will take us towards truthful and transparent advertising. Yesterday we kidnapped one of the godfathers of your capitalist creativity, Bob Isherwood, from this Festival. If you do not perform our task by tomorrow, 21 June, Bob Isherwood will not be released by the penthouse suite he is in.

“We love advertising and marketing but we can no longer watch silently when the world is being destroyed by outright lies, corruption and immorality.

“To demonstrate this, we tried to find out whether the production of Cannes Lions statues stands the light of day. We found sources that claim the statues are produced in terrible working conditions in shady sweatshops. We tried to confirm the information with the festival organisers but did not get an answer.

“You, the creative industry, must demand an answer to this question! How are the Cannes Lions statues produced? What are the conditions and rights of the workers? Go to the organisation and get a response.

“We are not alone, millions of people want to move to a more ethical consumption. Answer these questions publicly, develop your activities and release Bob. You have until dawn tomorrow to answer our questions To increase the pressure, we produced our own statues, ethically. Until you answer our questions we will give out thirty of these ethically produced statues per day.”

Bob Isherwood Cannes Lions Advertising

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