In the heady atmosphere of euphoria and carnival following Brazil’s triumph in the World Cup Final on Sunday, few Brasileiros will weep for Sao Paulo ad agency DPZ which has been unceremoniously stripped of the two Gold Lions it won last week in Cannes for its work on behalf of Johnson & Johnson lubricant gel brand KY.

The move followed swiftly after J&J issued a press release in Brazil last Tuesday saying it was unaware of the winning ads which were created “without the involvement or approval of any of [J&J’s] staff”. According to the statement, the company’s current agency is McCann-Erickson Worldwide – while DPZ has not worked for the KY brand in Brazil for three years.

The International Advertising Festival, which confers the Lions awards, said in a carefully couched statement: “After a thorough check conducted by O Estado de Sao Paulo [newspaper], the official Brazilian representative of the festival, it was concluded that DPZ’s top management was caught by surprise on this issue. It seems that a junior creative of the Rio de Janeiro office took a regretful initiative when entering inappropriately these ads.”

But US industry magazine AdAge Global wasn’t swayed by the case for the defense: “The Press & Poster Gold Lion was awarded to DPZ on June 18, and the Cyber Gold on June 22,” it pointed out. “It apparently didn't occur to DPZ executives between those dates and the festival investigation on June 26 that the agency had received two Gold Lions for work it hadn't meant to enter.”

Data sourced from:; additional content by WARC staff