I Sea app shortlisted for Ad Stars

I Sea appAd Stars logoThe controversial ‘I Sea’ app that won at Cannes in June despite being proven to be a fake and deleted from Apple’s app store has been shortlisted at Ad Stars, a global ad awards show to be held in Busan, Korea next month.

The app, which was billed as a device to save refugees, was among 1,680 entries to be shortlisted from 18,063 entries by 215 judges. It is a finalist in the mobile category.

The I Sea app on Ad Stars shortlist

The I Sea app on Ad Stars’ shortlist

On the executive judging panel at Ad Stars this year is Ali Shabaz, the Southeast Asia creative director of Grey, the agency behind the ‘I Sea’ app.

Also on Ad Stars’ shortlist for Grey Singapore is ‘Free my voice’ for Daily Times, an algorithm that reversed the meaning of posts beneath an article about Pakistan’s blasphemy law to stress the value of press freedom, ‘Extra life’ for Asia Soft, an in-game activation that encourages gamers to give blood, and ‘Never walk alone’ for DanChurchAid, an idea for a Danish charity to clear landmines from conflict zones.

The agency looks likely to win well at this competition, with five other entries in the final round, including ‘Cyber angel’ for security firm Quann Asia Pacific Pte Ltd, ‘Gift buddy’ for Zalora, ‘Hair on ice’ for P&G and ‘Lullaby’ for Fox Network.

Also on the shortlist from Singapore is DDB’s ‘Power to be’ film for Starhub, ‘A different Paris’ by TBWA for Airbnb, ‘Dove haircode’ by Iris and ‘2008 China earthquake’ for Twitter by Ogilvy.

About a fortnight after Cannes, Grey claimed that it would hand back the Bronze Lion it won at Cannes in the Promo & Activation category for the I Sea app after what the agency described as “unwarranted, unfair, unrelenting attacks by unnamed bloggers”.

The agency’s response, which came after a client wrote a strongly worded post on LinkedIn saying he would not ever hire Grey again until they returned the award, was said to be defensive and “petulant” by some industry observers.

Grey Singapore's case study video for I Sea app

The I Sea app is still listed among the winners on the Cannes Lions winners website. However, the case study video for the app has recently been removed from Youtube.

For the full list of Ad Stars finalists, click here.


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