Saatchi and Saatchi have taken the rap for Dr Martens dead pop stars adverts. The Daily Swarm is reporting that the shoe company has blamed the whole thing on the advertising agency and said it was very sorry:
Dr Martens did not commission the work as it runs counter to our current marketing activities based on FREEDM, which is dedicated to nurturing grass roots creativity and supporting emerging talent.
As a consequence, Dr Martens has terminated its relationship with the responsible agency.
So, Dr Martens "did not commission" the work - which, interestingly, isn't quite the same as saying they didn't approve the work. And, indeed, they did sign off on the campaign for publication, according to the statement from Saatchi:
Kate Stanners, executive creative director, Saatchi & Saatchi said the four print ads which featured the late rock singers Kurt Corbain, Joe Strummer, Sid Vicious and Joey Ramone all in heaven wearing Dr Martens boots, were presented as a homage to the rock legends. All four punk-rock icons were known for wearing Dr. Martens boots.
Stanners said: “We believe the ads are edgy but not offensive. There has been blog commentary both for and against the ads, but it is our belief that they are respectful of both the musicians and the Dr. Martens brand.
“We regret that the controversy has led Dr. Martens to terminate the contract with Saatchi & Saatchi. We are investigating the circumstances and considering the ongoing employment of the individual who was in breach of instructions not to distribute the ads further than the original approved placement in Fact Magazine in the UK.
“While we believe the creative is a beautiful tribute to four legendary musicians, the individual broke both agency and client protocol in this situation by placing the ads on a US advertising website and acting as an unauthorised spokesperson for the company.”
So, it seems, Doc Martens were only unhappy with the idea of illustrious corpses being used to flog their shoes when people started seeing the ads - we're a little at a loss to how the idea was fine providing it only went into a little-read magazine; we're also not entirely sure how, if the ads only appeared in Fact magazine and, without authorisation, on a US advertising website, members of that Joe Strummer forum were talking about a poster that had been up on the streets.
The statement from the advertising people, though, does sound credible - "edgy but not offensive" is exactly the sort of thing you'd expect an advertising person to say when honking on about something the clearly don't really have a grip on. How could using someone's face to flog shoes without permission be anything other than offensive?