Mastercard steals from Swingers = Priceless.

When the movie Swingers was released in 1996 the script and the story brought out the best from the actors in it and propelled them all to big time Hollywood fame. One hilarious scene in Swingers was when Jon Favreau's character "Mike" leaves increasingly pathetic messages on "Nikki's" answering machine, as the machine keeps cutting him off. (scene here). Mastercard has just released a commercial where the scene is nearly identical, right down to the character's names, Mike and Nikki. Tut tut McCann-Erickson, did you really think the world wouldn't notice? Is this an intentional homage (considering the names) or just a lazy rip-off? You decide.
Super adgrunts view the ad in the commercial archive

The Mastercard monologue:

Nikki's machine: Hi this is Nikki, leave a message *BEEP*

MIKE: Hey, Nikki... This is Mike.. uh, from tonight. I just wanted to call and tell you my number, It's 555-01 *BEEP*

(Mike calls back)

MIKE: Five Five Five Oh One Four Two! Sorry your machine cut me off, I don't know about tha *BEEP*

(Mike decides to call back again)

MIKE: Nikki, it's Mike again, I know you said that I shouldn't really call until tomorrow.. But eh.. Wow, it's like two thirty, so it is tomorrow now....

Voiceover takes over and touts Mastercard as the plastic you should have.

Scene from Swingers
NIKKI (recorded):Hi. This is Nikki. Leave a message. (beep)

MIKE: Hi, Nikki. This is Mike. I met you tonight at the Dresden. I, uh, just called to say I, uh, I'm really glad we met and you should give me a call. So call me tomorrow, or , like, in two days, whatever. My number is 213-555-4679... (beep)

Mike hangs up.

He dials again.

NIKKI (recorded):Hi. This is Nikki. Leave a message. (beep)

MIKE: Hi, Nikki. This is Mike, again. I just called because it sounded like your machine might've cut me off before I gave you my number, and also to say sorry for calling so late, but you were still there when I left the Dresden, so I knew I'd get your machine. Anyway, my number is... (beep)

Mike calls back right away.

NIKKI (recorded):Hi. This is Nikki. Leave a message. (beep)

MIKE: 213-555-4679. That's all. I just wanted to leave my number. I don't want you to think I'm weird, or desperate or something... (he regrets saying it immediately) ... I mean, you know, we should just hang out. That's it. No expectations. Just, you know, hang out. Bye. (beep)

He hangs up.

He dials.

NIKKI (recorded):Hi. This is Nikki. Leave a message. (beep)

MIKE: I just got out of a six-year relationship. Okay? That should help to explain why I'm acting so weird. It's not you. It's me. I just wanted to say that. Sorry. (pause) This is Mike. (beep)

He dials again. There's no turning back.

NIKKI (recorded):Hi. This is Nikki. Leave a message. (beep)

MIKE: Hi, Nikki. This is Mike again. Could you just call me when you get in? I'll be up for awhile, and I'd just rather talk to you in person instead of trying to squeeze it all... (beep)

He dials yet again.

NIKKI (recorded):Hi. This is Nikki. Leave a message. (beep)

MIKE: Hi, Nikki. Mike. I don't think this is working out. I think you're great, but maybe we should just take some time off from each other. It's not you, really. It's me. It's only been six months...

NIKKI: (Live, in person. she picks up the line) Mike?

MIKE: Nikki! Great! Did you just walk in, or were you listening all along?

NIKKI: (calmly) Don't call me ever again.

MIKE: Wow, I guess you were home... (click)

AnonymousCoward's picture
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Dabitch's picture

I'll take you up on that bet - I'm sure they did. What I don't know is if this is an intentional homage, where perhaps The Swingers writers were notified and asked..... Or if we'll soon see this Mastercard commercial in court?

It can't be a "parody", so there's no defence there. I don't get it..... How could this be without some agreement between Swingers writers and Mastercard (ad agency)? ANy IP lawyers hanging around?

AnonymousCoward's picture

Acctually, Lowe Brindfors in Sweden won an award for a series of spots with the same idea. Think they were for the beer Spendrups. Check out Filmrummet at for the films.

Neo's picture

With my limited language skills i managed to guess that "sok" meant "search and looked for "Spendrups", they have none. Perhaps you could describe the dialog of the ads you are speaking of instead, since we don't know them here?

Dabitch's picture

Gorilla masks got an email from Mastercard (Out of the blue!?) which sortof explains all this; This message is regarding your comments about the latest Priceless commercial and its similarities to the motion picture

AnonymousCoward's picture

everytime I see that commercial I get seriously annoyed. who wants to bet that MC paid big bucks to an advertsiing agency that stole that work?

AnonymousCoward's picture

The agency 'ripped it off' legally. They paid the movie studio a hefty fee to use the idea. The creative team actually wanted Jon Favreau (who wrote swingers) to direct this TV commercial but he was not available because he was busy shooting the Jumanji sequel. If the ad agency had been trying to steal the scene and pass it off as their own idea -- they would have changed the names of the characters and not used "Mike" and "Nikki". It was meant as a tribute to a hilarious scene in a favorite film. Lighten up, folks.

Neo's picture

That's exactly what it says in the email Dabitch posted above your comment - but still.... I'm not sure I think it's a good thing that Mastercard paid the movie studio a "hefty fee" for such a lame tribute , almost ten years after the film - when desperate creatives everywhere could spit out a better script in ten seconds flat.

So, chalk me up as jelous. I wanna work at McCann where I get paid to do "homages".

AnonymousCoward's picture

i know a lot of people who got a kick out of that ad. In fact, it reminded one dude of how much he loved this film back in the day and he went out and bought the DVD of it because he hadn't seen it since then. I'm sure Jon Favreau and Mirimax don't mind a commercial that boosts their profits or brings attention to an old film in their catalogue. That's all good for them. So if they're not whining about it -- why are you guys?

James_Trickery's picture

Who the hell is whining? I see questions asked. Please quote the exact whine that bothers you.

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