Well, isn’t that awkward.
ADWEEK reports that Grey For good Singapore’s I SEA App, intended to use “the power of crowdsourcing to monitor the vast sea and make an impossible task possible” has been removed from Apple’s iTunes a few hours before it won a Bronze Lion at Cannes.
To add insult to injury, the “client,” Migrant Offshore Aid Station (MOAT) denies that they had anything to do with it, stating, “All we can say on the developers’ behalf is that the app probably sounded interesting in concept form but failed miserably in execution. We were asked to support the launch of the app in concept only. So we were included in a press release.”
The App was supposed to assign a square of Mediterranean Sea to each of an assumed thousands of observers, who would opt-in to keep an eye on the water via live satellite feed, then report any suspected migrant boats to MOAT for possible rescue.
But, according to ADWEEK, “…various tech outlets downloaded and tried to use the app and found that it was not functional. The primary issue concerned a GPS feature which promised to provide real-time screenshots of areas in the Mediterranean Sea where migrant vessels might be located but did not appear to work.”
Tech blogger @SwiftOnSecurity called the app out as “fake” and stated, via several Tweets:
“Tried it, the app is completely non-functional. It’s a marketing stunt for the developer to get press articles.
The point of the articles isn’t even to get people to use the app, it’s to make readers feel better that other people are doing something.
Someone who DM’d me familiar with international advertising thinks this was an in-progress intern proof-of-concept they pushed as finished.
HOWEVER, it does not explain how the “I Sea” app ever hoped to get high-resolution, near-real-time satellite imagery of entire Mediterranean.
Nor does it explain the entire concept of how laypersons are supposed to identify stranded refugee boats from old blurry satellite imagery.
Note that I intuitively knew this app was fake within 20 seconds of using it. It screams unfinished interface mock-up, doesn’t act right.”
Incredible. Cannes has a bad reputation for awarding lions to “fake” campaigns, but this one is a special kind of fail.
ADWEEK has still not heard back from the Cannes Lions’ PR department.
Cross-published on The Ethical Adman