Joe La Pompe, copycat hunter since 1999, celebrates their twentieth year on the web with an ad campaign, one that hopefully is all original, natch!
My time does fly when we are having fun. Back in 1999 Adland used to have forums, so that chats had a place to be that wasn't an article post or video post. Around that time, an adgrunt posted "have you guys seen this website?" and directed us to JoeLaPompe.net. Since I've been posting what we call "Badlanders" (or dupliclaims) since 1996 (something Resumé noted in 1998) the thread soon derailed into a running joke that even badlanders are copycatted, though neither one of us can claim to be the first to compare copycat ads. We were, however, the first people to do these ad-comparisons on the internet.
Pretty soon I was all over his site commenting, and Joelapompe joined as an adgrunt here. Eventually, I was even his house guest in Cannes as we befriended each other thanks to our shared obsession with lookalikes. In a prior Cannes festival year, I even managed to conduct a live interview with Joe la Pompe as he hid behind a book the entire time.
You see, who is behind the Joe La Pompe mask isn't common knowledge, and for good reason. When creatives' work ends up in a copycat comparison, creatives tend to get upset about it. This then poses an issue for our masked hero JoeLaPompe who may be an ad slayer by night but is an adgrunt by day.
In his spare time, Joe has also managed three books: 1000 visual ideas in 1000 visual ads and "nouveau!?" which I showed off in one of those live Bambuser broadcasts that I used to do. The Bambuser service has since changed course, and that book reading is lost in time, unfortunately.
To celebrate surviving 20 years on the internet, which is no small feat in a world where even heavily VC funded web properties collapse as often as they appear, Joe has come up with this ad campaign which visually sums up what it's all about. It's not to call people in the industry hacks, it's to compare the two lookalikes. "Advertising is full of look-alikes. Some are funny, others no." Some are in fact really funny. Sure, people can get really passionate about copycat ads and yell "you stole that idea" at the top of their lungs, but the thing about ideas is that they don't really belong to you. They are in the ether, somehow, and creatives are tuned in to it. And yes, in some cases they are outright plagiarized, or even traced like that Nazi Meat, or just the result of lazy thinking. Whatever may have happened, looking at the copycats is always interesting, and may even teach you a thing or two about better visual design.
JoeLaPompe wants more celebrity pairings, as he explains in this blog post.
"Win the latest book from Joe La Pompe “Copy Paste: How advertising recycles ideas” by submitting your own lookalike between an admen / adwomen (agency boss, famous copywriter, art director …) and a celebrity."
How fun! I might send in a few good ones. ;)