Badlandamaged in da brain

Is there a support group for adgrunts like myself, or do I have to start one? The addiction started well over ten years ago when I began posting Badlanders like Preem vs Good Guys Auto, welcome to Marlboro ads, Bang Bang you're copied, three drinks do the same thing - it got so bad I felt like I had double vision when looking at Nazi meat? posters.

More recently, I can't watch telly without feeling that I've seen it all before- or listen to the radio. In this thread at Bold, they applaud a radio campaign where author Björn Ranelid reads from the Clas Ohlson (hardware store) catalogue in his signature way.

All I could think was that Blixa Bargeld of Einstürzende Neubauten fame reading from the Hornbachs catalogue was a much better match! Blixa #1, Blixa #2, Blixa #3, Blixa #4.

Now SIBA (home electronics etc) are running a campaign where two SIBA workers discuss how to make SIBA more attractive to customers, apart from having the lowest prices, that is.
They dream up silly ideas like cheerleaders dancing around screaming "lowest prices" and filling the shop with balls "you know.. for kids.." before coming to their senses. Tagline then states "when you're not number one, you try harder".

Gee, where have I heard that before? For over forty years? I've seen the 'ad classics' ripped off before, Mama Mia that's a spicy meatball had herrings in the Swedish version, or simply nodded to as in this homage to Volkswagen - but nicking the entire strategy, translating the tagline and then calling it your own? So sad.

And now jagksa reminded us all of an ancient ad that used that transparency trick so in vogue in 2006 in the comments to the Amnesty campaign.
I can't even keep up these days! Is there really nothing new under the sun?
I hope next years award-rounds prove me wrong. It's getting depressing.

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Anonymous Adgrunt's picture
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Plywood's picture

You cannot possibly expect every writer and art director to know all the ads ever created in the world.

Creative teams should know the winners from the biggest of worldwide shows. Beyond that, no. I have no idea what brilliant work won in Australia or Belgium or wherever. If I create an ad whose idea has already run, sure, that situation sucks. But what the fuck am I supposed to do? Study every award show from every country since the beginning of advertising? That's ridiculous.

Because ad A is exactly like ad B, is it a sign of plagiarism? Unless you're willing to talk to the creative teams or do some detective work, you'll never know the truth.

Don't get me wrong - I think calling out similar ads is fine. It's really interesting. But to imply that there's something nasty or shady afoot or that creatives are somehow lazy and should have known about ad A before they created ad B is completely unreasonable.

And it's hardly a case of nothing new under the sun. Arriving at the same ad is entirely possible if the strategy is the same and the team never saw ad A. I don't understand why these coincidences seem so outrageous to some people.

Just my 2 cents.

Dabitch's picture

I agree that the same product, with a similar strategy and brief can spawn the same idea very easily. Way back in school the whole class responded to a D&AD brief to do a christmas card and I was one of the four (out of thirty) that presented the yellow pencil-shavings as a xmas tree as one of my solutions. Trust me, I know it happens.

Another weird thing happens where if you (or collegues) come up with a solution using say, thought bubbles on photos or similar layouty-type trend and the suddenly you'll see these thought bubble-things everywhere. Did you not notice them before or is it a strange synchronicty? A collegue of mine has this uncanny habit of choosing colors and fonts for all his projects and six months to a year later they're everywhere. Is it a trend bubbling deep inside of him alone or are we all picking up on the same cues from the outside?
Then there are things like the above mentioned meatball alka seltzer ad which is uncannily similar to the sillen från tjörn samarin advert. Is that a coincidence? In that case I'll say no, I really don't think so. And the Amnesty ad poster campaign seems to be riding on a transparancy meme that took flickr by storm last year the transparant screen. The latest MTV video award winner seems to have been inspired by all those people who build nests on their sleeping party pals, another meme posted all over the net. (There's a name for it but it escapes me right now).

I don't know how the idea gods work their magick, but it's part inspiration, that's fer dang sure. ;)

deeped's picture

Why don´t you do that? I mean - somehow you seem eager to find out "the truth" but there is always someone else to do it?

deeped's picture

outrageous? Not at all. But what I personally find disturbing is that when asking agencies about it (yes, we do) the majority get really aggrevated and talks about their unique idea. You seem to think that ad agencies never lie or something. Or you got stuck in the Philosophy for Dummies, Chapter: Coincidential Idea In The Slammer.

For me as strategist and creative planner it's nothing new under the sun and to be inspired or even steal some ideas is what everyone do. But if someone asks I would say that is the case. Would you?

deeped's picture

Pretty fascinating that Plywood don't answer.