Groovecutters accuse French Connection/BMB of ripping off video

Oh no, not again! It seems that the band Groovecutters, is accusing French Connection and its advertising agency Beattie McGuinness Bungay of 'ripping off' their music video for their Kung-fu lesbian TV/Cinema ad that starting airing in the UK on Sunday and made headlines because of the number of complaints it had received.

Kev Keane, one of Groovecutters, said: "It's such a rip-off. I am not even sure if FCUK know how much of a copy it is. Would they have approved it if they knew it was not specially created for them to spearhead their £2m campaign.

"It just makes me laugh that something that was created for our track has been changed into something that symbolizes French Connection's latest corporate message."

From the Groovecutter's website:

You may have seen the new French Connection advert on TV or in the cinema and thought you were experiencing a case of deja-vu. Indeed you are.....its a rip off of our 'We Close Our Eyes' video! The video was made by the same guys, stars the same girls, doing the same moves, in the same location. Our label, Virgin, we not aware of the 'bootleg' video and have got the legal department on the case. It would have been nice for them to use the music too....instead they went with some very odd classical/opera piece.....Cutting edge, controversial, provocative - FCUK you are soooo SS05, Groovecutters were there a year ago!

Below we have screenshots of both films side by side. The ones on the left are from the Groovecutters video. The images on the right are from the French Connection ad.

You can see the French Connection spot here and Groovecutter's video here.

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Anonymous Adgrunt's picture
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AnonymousCoward's picture

Thoroughly depressing indictment of original ideas. It just smacks of sheer arrogance at the fact that they'll obviously get away with it from the assumption of being higher up the media food chain. This gives agency creative about as much value as an estate agent - middle managing creativity. What's more is watching MTV for inspiration belies the fact that at the end of every music clip created is a clear copyright statement from the record label, I don't know if in this instance it was cleared with the label but I suspect not which begs the question why would a client pay millions only to leave themselves liable to a lawsuit. If that's the case then BMB should be hit where it hurts, in the pocket. wote:"The spot was shot by Liberty Films director Duncan Jones, formerly of Traffic, who joined BMB in a roving creative role in October 2005."

Roving creative role,what like McGyver? I'm all for the honourable thing of at least enlisting the talent of the director that shot it but that negates the fact that this concept is owned by somebody else.Were it influenced by, or an homage to the original it may be different but as a pound for pound copy it's very shaky ground,aside from the fact that some of the ham-fisted direction is forgivable for a low budget music video but stands out a mile for such a high profile campaign.

The other slightly depressing factor is that the band that claim " They got there first " did so to promote a song that continuously looped an old Go West track and a Bontempi organ!
Chris Morris mustbe behind this, if not, his moveinto advertising must be imminent.

AnonymousCoward's picture

Ah, I see Beattie is now claiming credit. He should change his name to 'The Thief of BadAds'

James Trickery's picture

Beattie - the king of getting credit.

caffeinegoddess's picture

The Sunday Mirror spoke to the girls in the spot, brunette Talia Santo and blonde Carly Harrop.

Carly, 26, told the Sunday Mirror: "We were shown the storyboard for the ad but no-one told us about the kiss until the last minute. We were like, yeah, erm, OK. But when we did it, it was fine. In fact, we did several takes.
"I think the film crew enjoyed it as much as we did." Talia, also 26, added: "I'd do it again - no problem. I actually thought it was great. I'd kiss her all the time, if she wants me to, she's got great lips."

Typical Mirror news. heh.

The ad was filmed over two days in December in London and was directed by David Bowie's son, Duncan Jones.

The concept was dreamed up by ad king Trevor Beattie - the man behind the FCUK campaign and the infamous "Hello Boys!" Wonderbra ads.

Beattie said he was inspired by Yves Saint Laurent's famous quote: "Fashion fades but style is eternal."

Carly was chosen to represent style, while Talia stands for fashion - the fight illustrates the struggle between the two.

However, feminist Linda Bellos is a bit more blunt: "They should just grow up. This is every man's fantasy with knobs on."

The ad also features a specially written operatic song, in Italian, whose lyrics praise Arsenal and predict that England will win this summer's World Cup.

Dreamed up by Beattie? Come on now. ;)

AnonymousCoward's picture


Dabitch's picture

" that continuously looped an old Go West track and a Bontempi organ!"
*bwahahahahaa!* This is true.

caffeinegoddess's picture

It went in through the eyes and out the ears. ;) I corrected myself in my comment moments after posting...since I realized it *did* in fact include that information. Just slow on the uptake that day. :)
And even if it had been cleared, it's still a lame excuse for a commercial.

MaryWills's picture

I agree with the band, if you're going to do a total rip off of their video, the least you could do is use their music. Plus the French Connection spot sound effects are a bit much.

James Trickery's picture

In regards to "I don't know if in this instance it was cleared with the label". Well, the band doesn't seem to think so: ".....its a rip off of our 'We Close Our Eyes' video! The video was made by the same guys, stars the same girls, doing the same moves, in the same location. Our label, Virgin, we not aware of the 'bootleg' video"

Sorry siddiqui, I'm not picking on you it just seemed as if if nobody - including the author herself here - even bothered to read the article.

Dabitch's picture

Holy crap! That's a shot-by-shot steal. What a week for badlanders!

AnonymousCoward's picture

Sorry but there is no way to justify their blatant theftof an idea, To even suggest that the campaign was designed to invoke critiscm (by copying someone elses ideas) thereby gaining extra column inches is a generous thought although I can understand your thinking. Its a cheap and unsophisticated trick - create "CONTROVERSY". in this case two lipstick lezbos kissing and the public will complain leading to a ban leading to editorial. ummm... mind you Beattie has tried the same controversial trick before ala FCUK

caffeinegoddess's picture

You mean you think it could have been done with the intent of spreading via word of mouth/press? Not a bad theory.

AnonymousCoward's picture

Oh my god. Trevor Beattie should be able to generate press for something else. Hde is pretty good at that. This is so similar, that it has got to be on purpose. I cant/wont believe that somebody would do this without thinkig of the consequences. Part of some inventive marketing ploy to generate press for fcuk? Thats my guess.

AnonymousCoward's picture

ohhhh noooo, it's so lazy, unoriginal, tired.....why does the client appoint an agency if all he has to do is watch MTV and lift other people's ideas? Presumably paying BMB a hefty fee along the way. By appointing the same director its a rather lame gesture to deflect critiscm that was ineveitably coming their way; 'hey man we're not trying to rip anybody off, look, see, we are using the same director, he doesnt mind, he's being paid'.....cynically avoiding a writ....maybe the band would have a case for "passing off" ....FCUK BOLLOX

Dabitch's picture

I'm guessing this director has a kinky bend to him. And the jammy bastard gets paid to film it - TWICE! Haha! He's laughing all the way to the bank, dontchathink?

caffeinegoddess's picture

oh wait...we do know it was the same people...duh. forgot about that snippet from the band's site. ;)

caffeinegoddess's picture

I think it's funny the ladies are even wearing similar outfits. Maybe this is supposed to be a homage? I dunno though. No word if we have the same director or anything either...yet at least.