The World Wildlife Fund condemned Wednesday an advertisement claiming to be from the environmental group circulated on the Internet. The ad shows an "offensive" scene where dozens of airplanes are converging on downtown New York.
The ad, sporting a tagline that reads "the 2004 Tsunami killed 100 times more people than 9/11," purports to be from the Brazilian branch of the World Wildlife Fund, however the organization said Wednesday that it was "categorically not solicited nor endorsed" by the organization.
The final line in the ad is "The planet is brutally powerful. Respect it. Preserve it" and is accompanied by WWF's recognizable panda logo.
"It is not a WWF ad," said Josh Laughren, a spokesman for the Canadian branch of the WWF. "We don't like it and we find it offensive. We find it as disturbing as anyone else."
Laughren said the ad was produced by an agency pitch to the organization.
"It was an unpleasant surprise. I guess they thought it was clever but it's not. We just hope that people will accept that it's not ours very quickly," he said. "It's so far out of line with how we operate."
The organization became concerned over the fake ad after bloggers circulated the photo and blamed the WWF for exploiting the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center in Manhattan.
The WWF is investigating the unauthorized use of its logo, said Laughren.
The ad was reportedly made by a team at the advertising agency DDB Brasil. The company issued a statement to the New York Daily News saying that the team no longer worked for DDB and apologized to "anyone who was offended or affected by the ad."
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