Spec work going around the web as real ads - is there any way to stop that? Should we even try?

Remember that Toyota Prius campaign that Well, at least he drives a prius, right? in "spoof or homage" because it looked like a fake ad campaign to us. I said then "Who spent all this energy on doing a fake campaign I wonder"... But wonder no more - David Krulik did them and proudly displays them on his portfolio site. Krulik actually works at Ogilvy New York, where they don’t have the Prius account.

Johan Jansson at Stimulansbloggen emailed David Krulik to ask him about these ads, he got this reply.

Hi Johan,
The ads are 100% fake.
Toyota did not, nor in my estimation, would ever order these kinds of ads.
I created them for fun. And being an Art Director in advertising, they were meant only as self promotion. How this thing blew up as big as it has continues to baffles me. Hope this helps. And good luck with your blog!

Now, lets see how did it "blow up the way it did" shall we? With sites like Stillad, amazingfiltered and coloribus showing it off as a real campaign, it is little wonder that people thought it might be. Pixelpasta even shows off the National Aquarium evolution exhibit found here "evolution" in David's portfolio as something created at Advertsing agency: Bed and Breakfast - even though David's resume lists only McCann and Ogilvy as his previous and current employer. Again, the source for this is probably adsoftheworld. (more people showing off that ad coloribus and their twin advertolog)

Seems they all found it at adsoftheworld which is a fine site if you want to oogle advertising all day, the thing is, I can't tell which things uploaded there are spec work and which ones are not, and it seems, neither can anyone else. Everything posted at adsoftheworld is automatically assumed to have run, even though there's forum areas for 'testing' ad ideas and showing off portfolio work. Over there it's credited to:

Advertising Agency: Bed & Breakfast, USA
Art Director / Copywriter: David Krulik
Photographer: Luke Stettner
Photographer's Assistants: Jason Oneal, Po Ewing
Wardrobe: Haley Lieberman

And that mystery agency "bed and breakfast" is credited everywhere else as well. If you google "Advertising Agency: Bed & Breakfast " you'll find more of David's portfolio work like this Crest stuff which shows up brandv.blogspot.com and again at ads of the world. I guess the mystery ad agency "bed and breakfast" is David's own brain. :) I'll refrain from speculating as to whether he submitted the work to adsoftheworld with those credits or not.

I wish there was a way to tell concept/portfolio/spec work from real work on the other large ad-oogling websites as well. There is here, we have an entire topic dedicated to spec work, but that doesn't mean we haven't had submissions marked as real when they are not, most recently that Burger King campaign from bleublancrouge, which by the way you can still see at impeksyon. Is there anything one can do about this? Should advertising websites work harder in finding the agencies behind the work (we checked blueblancrouge's website by the way and had no reason to believe that the campaign they sent wasn't running as they do outrageous stuff). Or does it not matter, until some ad campaign tarnishes the brand image of a bigwig client who gets pissed off? Do they even get pissed off - remember the volkswagen suicide bomber ad that VW promised to sue the ad creators for but then they settled on some kind of apology instead? Should creatives consider marking work as "spec" just to protect themselves in case of an actual lawsuit? "Ghost ads" are fun - so much fun in fact there was an ambitious magazine launched with them only, like a Lürzers but for spec work - and we all want to see them, but just like when scam ads win in Cannes, some people get a little peeved when concept ads are 'competing' against real ads for our ad-drooling attention.

*exhale* Well, that was a bit of a rant wasn't it? What do you think?

Adland: