Badland: Coca-Stole-a

Founding partner of Tomboy Viral, Joel Veitch, has been badlanded by coke Argentina. The video, produced for his band "seven seconds of love" featuring dancing ninja kittens has been lifted pretty much wholesale, music and all.

Read more on the story here.

  • Joel Veitch of produced a song and video called Ninja in 2005
  • Coca Cola have made an advert which looks and sounds almost exactly the same.
  • Whether this is actually a copyright infringement, I don’t know, as I am not a music lawyer.
  • But I do know that it is absolutely without permission and really scummy.

So I’ve turned this into a short video, filmed in a 5 minute work break in the office stairwell using a webcam borrowed from the bloke upstairs. (Thanks Iain.)

BTW: I’m not just some random nutter who’s picked this up. Joel is a regular member of the B3ta community, which I co-founded, and I don’t like seeing members work getting purloined for commercial purposes without their permission / cash in their pocket.

Update by Dabitch January 3rd 2007 - this has now been on Sky News.

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alex's picture


Plywood's picture

Despite my blitherblathering and devil's advocating on the topic of badlanding, I gotta say that THAT is obviously idea stealing.

Dabitch's picture

Devils advocating? So that's what you were doing. Gee for a while there I thought you meant that any Badlander had the "assumption of plagiarism" and that this "is dangerous, not to mention a bit cheesy and easy" and you were demanding that I talk to the creative teams of each badlander I've posted - all 156 of them - although I already have in quite a few cases and not every badlander has the assumption that people plagiarise on purpose. But you knew that, right? Because you've read all the badlander posts I've made, and understood all my snarks, in-jokes and times when I've stated plainly "it's just a coincidence". Right. Ok, just checking.

Other peoples Badlanders don't get your devils advocating so for a moment there I figured you had something against mine alone, or even just me since you strayed off the subject of the badland pair and onto suggesting I stop posting them. Perhaps it had something to do with that dinosaur doo-doo story last year in the globe and mail that Claymore posted where you knew a lot more about the case than the Globe and Mail, so much one would think that you worked on the campaign. Perhaps not. Heck, sometimes you even make your own they might be plagiarising comments. Am I to conclude that it's ok when everyone else, including you, do it then? As long as I don't? OK. Just so we're clear.

As for this badland pair, yes indeed it does look like the execution of the Coke Spot has borrowed quite a lot from Joel Veitch's by now world-famous style, and music to boot even though that's just a simple ska-beat. Here's where it gets interesting, IMHO YMMV, the execution is actually copyrightable. Photos are too. Illustrations and music are as well. But Ideas aren't. We work in a business where the ideas are the core commodity, this is what we sell, plus the craft and skills of executing it properly. I'm fascinated by the way that ideas do travel, and work on their own agenda appearing in two peoples heads at the same time.
And I'm kinda pissed that what we rely on to be the better creative team, the better agency, the cooler brand is the only thing we can't legally protect. You can not patent or copyright ideas. Advertising is an entire business built on the trading of a commody that anyone can steal! First one who makes it to the award show wins! :) This is interesting.
Some pairings are so easy, where the idea is to shape the juice-package like an orange for example that it's clear two teams could reach that just by thinking for ten minutes. Others are more interesting, where the same visual is conveying two different ideas, or where two TV commercial scripts in two different languages are almost identical. In such media rich times can we really do anything original, because aren't we always giving a nod to someting before it? This is fun to talk about, because coincidences happen, and sometimes they don't. In my humble opinion, your milage may vary.

And I'll leave the irony out, where the b3ta community get upset that their stuff is nicked, while probably 100% of their stuff is actually infringing other peoples work, using copyrighted photos and all that. They're aware of it, I'm sure.

AnonymousCoward's picture

Ho haa. Lot af anger there Dabith. Letting that Christmas spirit out are we eh? ;-)

Anyway... This badlandian is so bad that it's almost not worth spending time on. Original video - crap. Coke ad - crap. Crap, crap, crap. As long as they steal crappy ideas and lousy executions... who cares?

That's just my Christmas spirit talking :-)

Dabitch's picture

Anger? It is not meant to sound angry in the least. When I'm angry, I cuss like drunk sailor with tourettes. The longwinded rambling might have to do with dipping into the xmas-spirits & glögg.

mikemystery's picture

Uhl: so if it's "a crappy idea" no one cares? So you won't mind if i nick all the work in your book then?

But seriously, i take your point Dabitch, but its very hard to prove the origin of an idea, which is why agencies need to start moving towards producing ownable properties. Advertising makes us bugger-all money anyway. Content is where the money at!

But back to coke. The theft here is entirely executional, not idea so the copyright infringement is irrefutable. The music was ALSO written by Joel Veitch. It's been ripped off without even the vaguest attempt to disguise it (even changing one note in four as the old library music seems to do)

Most of the work on is not produced for commercial gain. And the most important reason for copyright is to prevent loss of earnings. It fucks me off, expecially working for a big agency, knowing how little the coke agency would have had to pay to actually use the original. Instead, they just nicked it. Lazy, underhanded hack-creative scum. And we wonder why our industry has such a bad reputation?

AnonymousCoward's picture

Yikes. Guess I'm in over my head here.

Feel free to nick any crap work I've done in the past - but please do not tell anyone where you stole the crappy idea from ;-)

Dabitch's picture

Yep, gotta agree there, the Coke-theft is all execution and it's not even hard to find Joel Veitch who's "sold out" his stuff to agencies before (example: spongemonkeys and VH1), so why they didn't bother to let him do it is beyond me. Though I have seen cases of liking a directors reel so much that agency X does exactly that idea & style, but with another director. ARGH! Why!? Anyway, the way these things usually go, creator loses no matter what s/he does. It's so depressing. It might be some consolation to Joel that he has such a fanbase though.

caffeinegoddess's picture

SkyNews has picked up the story and interviews Joel Veitch.
Watch it here on youtube

Dabitch's picture

heh, we must have brainsynched again, your comment wasn't there when I updated the post!

caffeinegoddess's picture

haha! UK's Channel 4 also had a news story on it online (no video though)...seems to be making the rounds now.

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