Dissonant Ads Put Agency in Olympic Bind

Pitches for Adidas, Amnesty conflict—and inflame China opinion
By Dustin Lushing,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 14, 2008 10:18 AM CDT

(Newser) – A major advertising firm finds itself in an awkward predicament, the Wall Street Journal reports, after realizing it produced ads to drum up patriotic support for Chinese athletes in the Beijing Olympics as well as graphic spots criticizing China's human-rights record for Amnesty International. New York-based TBWA Worldwide has renounced the controversial Amnesty ads, but Chinese bloggers are pushing a boycott.

TBWA's Beijing office created a pitch for Adidas centered on Chinese pride, with athletes being cheered on by crowds of fans. TBWA's Paris branch, meanwhile, produced a campaign for Amnesty that included an ad with a person tied to a shooting target normally used at the Olympics and a caption that read, "After the Olympic Games, the fight for human rights must go on."