Truth, Flies and Advertising.

Adland: 
Badland: 

There was some ups and downs in this years Cannes Lions awards, our annual international drama and gossip, how I wish I had been a fly on the wall in the Jury room.

Grey Auckland created a campaign that looks quite a lot like an old Gary Larson joke. It also happened to win Grand Prix Outdoor.

If you haven't read Larson you are a poseur creative - there's a reason his books can be found in nearly every agencies library. His quirky humor triggers creativity. Yep, thats the reason. It's been proven in focus groups.

Craig Davis, chairman of the Axis Awards, was not convinced the idea was plagiarized. "We all know what happens. You read a book and three months later it pops into your head from the subconscious." he also told adage that he was surprised it had come through so far without anyone spotting the similarity.

The ads creators were amused. Todd McCraken one half of the team said the idea stems from an old joke which goes as follows: "What's the last thing a fly sees when it hits your car windscreen? It's arse. "

anyway, lets have a look shall we? scroll to see the ads and Larson.


The last thing a bug ever sees. No Bugs insect spray.


The last thing a mosquito ever sees. No Bugs insect spray.


The last thing a fly ever sees. Gary Larson.

May he who never tried to stick a regurgitated Larson idea in the pitch pile cast the first stone.

Update! Bonus! There's also the Bug Bomb with "The last thing a spider ever sees." which got Gold for Print in the 2003 Times Asia-Pacific Advertising Awards. It was done by Grey Worldwide, New Zealand.

Comments (10)

  • AnonymousCoward's picture
    AnonymousCoward (not verified)

    It's a blatant rip-off. And don't give me that bullshit with 'shit just happens'. I don't buy it. It's clear they were "inspired" by the Gary Larson cartoon.

    Who says different they're either naive or never worked in advertising.

    Full stop. Shame on the jury, shame on the client, shame on the Creative Director.

    Jun 24, 2003
  • Dabitch's picture
    Dabitch

    I agree with you 100%

    That ad is just... well, an old joke really. I'm sure someone has done that visual - apart from Gary Larson - before.

    Jun 25, 2003
  • wpeepee's picture
    wpeepee

    Sorry most ideas are inspired from the world of books, films, society, etc.
    For example, the brilliant Guardian commercial written by John Webster was inspired by the Kurosawa film, "Rashomnm", and he says so in an interview with Archive way back in 1993 ( if memory serves me right).
    What next, all my ads with headlines have been ripped off from the Webster's dictionary?

    Jun 27, 2003
  • wpeepee's picture
    wpeepee

    O&M, (Mumbai, India) got its "inspiration" for its Cannes award-winning "Cancer cures smoking" ad from an old anti-smoking poster.
    Simply do a search on Google with "cancer cures smoking" in inverted commas.
    In fact, a poster done by a student in the Crystal Awards 2000 had the same line.

    (all links are long dead and have been removed by site owner 2014)

    Jun 27, 2003
  • Dabitch's picture
    Dabitch

    If memory serves me right - the Original film was actually credited when that ad was at the awards and in the tradepress too.

    Jun 27, 2003
  • wpeepee's picture
    wpeepee

    So if the creative team had credited Gary Larson, would everything be okay?

    Jun 27, 2003
  • Dabitch's picture
    Dabitch

    I'm the one saying "May he who never tried to stick a regurgitated Larson idea in the pitch pile cast the first stone." - I'm not commenting at all on the Cannes winner.
    You are the one bringing up old ads, to which I added the bit of knowledge I had about said ad, that they actually credited their inspiration. In other words, my comment was a comment to add info to your comment. Please leave it at that.

    Jun 27, 2003
  • Andreas-Udd's picture
    Andreas-Udd

    change someone to everyone and I'll agree with you anon.

    Jun 27, 2003

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about the author

Dabitch Creative Director, CEO, hell-raising sweetheart and editor of Adland. Globetrotting Swede who has lived and worked in New York, London, San Francisco, Amsterdam, Copenhagen and Stockholm after growing up in Kiruna, Raleigh and Jiddah.