The Swarm

May 24, 2007

Exclusive: Dr. Martens to Saatchi: You're Fired!

David Prince

***Update: The final word(s) on ‘Heavensgate’***

The Daily Swarm has learned that Airwair Ltd., the creators of Dr. Martens famous footwear, has fired its advertising agency, Saatchi and Saatchi London, in the midst of an ongoing uproar over a poster campaign featuring the images of deceased musicians wearing their shoes in heaven.

David Suddens, CEO of Dr. Martens’ parent company AirWair Ltd., told The Daily Swarm in a phone interview that the posters were never intended to see the light of day. “We said no. It was creative that was put to us, but we didn’t like it. It doesn’t represent the company at all.”

Saatchi later released a statement standing by the ads. Kate Stanners, executive creative director, Saatchi & Saatchi 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.”

The firestorm began on May 14, when The Daily Swarm published the posters that feature punk icons Kurt Cobain, Joe Strummer, Joey Ramone, and Sid Vicious. The rockers images were retouched by noted French commercial artist Christophe Huet who placed them in heaven with steel-toed boots.

Statement from Dr. Martens:

NEWS RELEASE
FOR IMMEDIATE DISTRIBUTION

DR. MARTENS REGRETS THE USE OF UNAUTHORISED IMAGES

Dr Martens is very sorry for any offense that has been caused by the publication of images showing dead rock icons wearing Dr Martens boots.

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.

David Suddens
Chief Executive

Statement from Saatchi and Saatchi London:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday 24 May 2007

SAATCHI & SAATCHI STANDS BY DR. MARTENS ADS

Saatchi & Saatchi today (Thursday) said it was standing by the creative work
for a series of ads created for Dr. Martens which has seen the agency fired
by the client. The client approved the ads to run as a one-off in Fact
Magazine in the UK.

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.”

The images of the late rock icons were sourced from Corbis and cleared to
run in the ads in the UK. The award-winning photographer Dimitri Daniloff
shot the ads.



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