Elephants and Mobile Phones.

Did these ads copy each other - or did the idea-god simply mess with two creative teams heads at the same time? Who knows.

Ben vs Hi

I'd like to use these as a perfect example of a coincidence, since I'm 99% sure that they are a complete coincidence. Made at roughly the same time at two different agencies in Amsterdam, it's funny how creatives think alike. " Mobile phone= small..What's quirky? I Know, Big = Elephant! Brief Solved!"


It's difficult to explain Ben ads for the non-dutch speakers. Ben is a name, but ben also means 'am' , as in 'I am'. "I am Ben" is in dutch: "Ik ben Ben." Ben is also the name of a GSM provider. Ben©. Got it?


Anyway, this is Henk & Ben©. Or so the line reads at the end. It's a ten second spot, where Henk is out walking his pet elephant -like you do- and he gets a phone-call on his Ben© phone. No words are spoken, just the line 'Henk&Ben©' flashes up at the end. All ads in this campaign have quirky people and their Ben© phones in everyday situations. (like out walking their pet elephant).....

Shot the 14th of May 1999 (Yes I know this for a fact!) the scripts were probably written in April or so, since even creative hot-shops like KesselsKramer (Amsterdam) follows some kind of routine. Creatives were Johan Kramer (Copy) and Erik Kessels (art). These ads were shot by Petterson&Åkerlund in Sweden. Next Victim ;


Hi is another GSM-provider, (ads created by PMSY&R, Amsterdam) and they've been around for a while, streamlining their ads to be simple cartoons which only requires an idea, a Henry, a Henry-operator and a clever sound-guy. In other words, this could easily be done in a day.


Look! There's another elephant! But here the voiceover says that you can bring Hi with you on your vacation, which may explain why the elephant is there. Tag-line is; Hi, keeps it simple.

Like I said, I'm pretty sure it was a complete coincidence. This is just a reminder that ideas , same or similar, do happen to pop into a lot of peoples heads at the same time, and not everything is a on purpose plagiarism. Funny that two creative teams made the connection cellphone+elephant though, but personally, I understand why it's in the Hi ad, but why is there a pet elephant in the Ben© ad? What do you think it is, a coincidence, or an alien conspiracy?

Those of you that have copies of the KesselsKramer book may notice that these screenshots look identical to theirs. Guess why.No, I didn't nick it - this was up before that book was even thought of, K? I did however empty all my floppies over at their office and donated a bunch thinking they might want them (me having a more modern machine that doesn't take no steenkin' floppies). Didn't realize they'd use the data on them. Oh well.

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