Flyers handed out in Johannesburg advertising a "buyer" of rhino and human body parts and organs, offering up to R5 000 for eyes to advertise a new South African horror movie, Night Drive, was described as a "tasteless prank.
It caused multiple twitters and even comments from the Health Department.
The flyers were handed out at two major intersections in Johannesburg last week. "With poaching in the headlines on an almost daily basis, the film is very topical," says director and scriptwriter Justin Head.
"This campaign was to raise awareness around the very real issue of animal and human being body part poaching in anticipation of the launch of the film," added Helen Kuun, MD of Indigenous Film Distribution, the local distributor.
Less than 1 600 flyers to motorists have produced more publicity than many of its competitor's large budget campaigns.
On Friday, creative agency 1984 issued a statement that it "is aware of the media coverage surrounding a campaign produced on behalf of Indigenous Film Distribution for promotion of the film 'Night Drive'. While the motivation behind this campaign was honourable, 1984 acknowledges that this was in bad taste and apologises unreservedly. The intention was never to mislead the public or media."
Nan Jackson twittered as follows: "In ALL my years in the advertising industry this has got to be the most irresponsible, stupid, idiotic and grossly disgusting piece of communication I have ever seen. Never mind the body parts, what about the Rhino parts?.. Great stuff when Rhino poaching is one of the very, very serious conservation issues on the table currently."Â�
Others commented that it was a "tasteless prank"Â�.
"Â¢ This public outcry proves how seriously South Africans are taking conservation. And the agency, who apologised for its lack of taste, must be laughing up its sleeve at the reaction - and publicity - its ad evoked. Shame on you! - Editor
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