I Sea app removed from Ad Stars shortlist

I Sea app Global advertising awards show Ad Stars has quietly removed the ‘I Sea’ app from its shortlist.

The competition organiser informed Mumbrella yesterday that the entry, which was among the finalists in the mobile category, had been “ruled out” of the running.

Mumbrella raised questions about the controversial campaign’s inclusion on the shortlist some weeks ago, and only now has Ad Stars clarified that it will not be in contention and the wrong shortlist had been uploaded to its website.

For the revised Ad Stars shortlist, click here.

The I Sea app, which was claimed to be a clever way to spot stranded refugees in the Mediterranean by agency Grey Singapore, was deleted from Apple’s app store because it didn’t actually work, but went on to win an award at Cannes in June.

Grey has said that it would hand back the Lions it won for the work after what it described as “unrelenting attacks”, although its award is still listed on the Cannes Lions winners website.

The agency has been attempting to remove trace of the campaign since the controversy broke in the weeks after Cannes.

It has taken down the case study video from YouTube and deleted the statement on its website that defended the app by saying it was only in “testing mode”. The link to the statement now leads to a 404 error message.

The creative director of Grey Southeast Asia, Ali Shabaz, is on the executive jury for Ad Stars, and a number of his campaigns remain in contention.

Among them is an idea for a Danish charity to clear landmines from conflict zones and an algorithm that reversed the meaning of posts beneath an article about Pakistan’s blasphemy law.

News of the removal of the I Sea app from the Ad Stars shortlist comes the day after the story of swimmer Yusra Mardini, who saved the lives of 20 refugees from drowning in the Mediterranean, dominated media attention in the early stages of the Olympics in Rio.


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