The Loeries, South Africa’s biggest advertising and marketing awards showpiece, has stripped MetropolitanRepublic of all its 2013 awards after it found that the campaign it won a Grand Prix for did not meet the judging criteria.
The entry, which was for MTN’s “Project Uganda“, was awarded a Grand Prix award for Media Innovation, a Gold for the Ubuntu award for sustainable marketing, and a Gold for Tactical use of Newspaper Advertising.
According to a press release issued by the Loeries, the entry was withdrawn this week by MetropolitanRepublic.
The company insists that the entry was the work of over-enthusiastic juniors and that it was submitted without its knowledge.
The Loeries have confirmed to Memeburn that the criteria which the entry contravened were those stating that entries must be “commercially published, launched or aired to a substantial audience for the first time between 1 June 2012 and 31 May 2013″ and “the Ubuntu category requires that entries reflect an active and ongoing campaign in this period, and that entries demonstrate a positive social or environmental impact”.
While some might suggest that the Loeries judges should have taken greater care in ensuring that the campaigns met their criteria, the release does note that “each entrant warrants that their information provided is true and correct”.
Speaking to Memeburn, Loeries CEO Andrew Human added that he was absolutely confident the judges had followed correct procedures and that “after review of the information provided it was found that the claims made in terms of media flighting and exposure were invalid”.
“It is not the role of the judging panel to investigate the legitimacy of entries but to judge the quality of the entry before them. It is the expectation of the judging panel that what they are viewing has met the entry requirements”.
Human did however say that the Loeries board would review all its procedures and “make changes where necessary”.
In the statement, the award show board says it is especially concerned with the fact that the campaign did not meet the criteria for the Ubuntu award:
The Loeries board is deeply concerned with the fact that MTN’s Project Uganda entry did not meet the eligibility criteria, despite all the terms and conditions of the Loeries that are in place. The board found it especially regrettable that the campaign was awarded a Gold Loerie in the Ubuntu category, which recognises brands that make good neighbours, that improve lives through their products, and contribute positively to the community.
As a result of the transgression, MetropolitanRepublic’s other awards (which include two more golds, a silver and social media and media innovation bronzes) have also been stripped.
Additionally, no representative from MetropolitanRepublic will be allowed to judge at the Loeries for the next two years and all entries submitted by MetropolitanRepublic for the next two years must be accompanied by a media schedule, a letter from the brand representative, and the contact details of the brand representative.
This is the first time any award has been withdrawn since 2005. “In order to minimise the possibility of such an event occurring in future, all procedures, terms and conditions will be reviewed,” the award board says.
Image: Hans Stieglitz.