Mobile war intensifies
HOW MUCH DAMAGE has Grant Jacobsen done with his disparaging campaign for Cell C poking fun at his former employer – Draftfcb – and former client Vodacom? South African courts are notoriously tight-fisted with defamation claims, but in instigating court action against Jacobsen, Vodacom has signalled it takes this case very seriously.
On the face of it, it’s no more serious than numerous other cases that normally end up with a slap on the wrist for the offending agency from the Advertising Standards Authority. But Draftfcb/ Vodacom is expected to argue there are a couple of points of vital difference.
For one, Jacobsen worked on the Vodacom account before going to DDB – where he’s working on the Cell C account – and could have taken with him invaluable information about Vodacom’s strategy and thinking. For another, Cell C’s onscreen persona – comedian Trevor Noah – sniffs that the Vodacom rebranding was nothing more than “a lick of paint”, whereas Vodacom could argue it was merely the first stage of a lengthy process. While knowing that, Cell C nevertheless may have portrayed the Vodacom campaign as superficial and unprofessional.
Why is DDB involved anyway? Ogilvy won the R200m Cell C account after ending up with DDB on a shortlist of two. And while Ogilvy is the lead agency, DDB works on individual projects.
Is this the first time in advertising history a creative person parodied his own work? Jacobsen, now executive creative director at DDB, is being